National parks must have conservation focus

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Important conservation values are being ignored as Queensland’s major parties engage in a war of words over tourism.

The National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ) and the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC) have called on the recently re-elected government and opposition to moderate their ecotourism rhetoric.

Graeme Bartrim, President of the NPAQ said that the he was greatly concerned by statements from both parties which appeared to emphasise tourism development at any cost (Sunshine Coast Daily, 19th January 2018).

“There is a legislative basis for the establishment and management of national parks,” Mr Bartrim said.

“National parks must remain preserved in their natural condition free from human exploitation.”

“Ecotourism is the flavour of the month – but it needs more careful consideration to weigh the costs and benefits. Queensland’s biodiversity and park fragmentation mean we should not blindly follow other states ventures into ecotourism.”

Narelle McCarthy from the Sunshine Coast Environment Council said, “in Queensland we only have 5% of our land area protected in national parks. These areas are vital cornerstones of conservation.”

“A headlong rush towards so-called ecotourism developments could have a negative impact on the coast’s unique natural environment.”

“Further compromising our protected conservation spaces to ‘ecotourism’ would degrade our region’s valued natural assets which many people already enjoy and appreciate.”  Ms McCarthy said.