Dear Mr Ashley,
I am writing in response to the Parks Masterplan Consultation Paper. Like all Territorians, I care deeply about Territory Parks, which are integral to the protection of the Territory’s unique nature and lifestyle and are iconic on a national and global scale.
In recent years, I am concerned that we have seen a shift by the NT Government away from conserving the wildlife and biodiversity in our parks, towards income generation and privatisation. Properly resourcing protected areas for conservation purposes is a key function of government, and should not be sacrificed or outsourced.
Our natural places are under threat. We know that over the next thirty years of this Masterplan, these beautiful places will face accelerating threats from climate change, especially increased heat and damaging fires. Our mammal populations are facing a drastic decline and extinction crisis. Our tropical savannas and arid landscapes have been classified recently as collapsing. Significant weeds like highly flammable gamba grass and buffel grass will, if unchecked, continue to spread through our parks and reserves, drastically altering our native woodlands and desert habitats. Our parks are protected areas and play a pivotal role in biodiversity conservation, yet this is not prioritised in the consultation paper.
The Territory Parks estate is critical to:
The priority of the consultation paper appears to be to activate business and economic opportunities particularly in relation to Tourism. While tourism is very important, it is our Parks’ biodiversity and natural values that make tourism viable.
The primary motive for managing our finest natural areas should not be income generation or “productivity”, as is suggested in the Consultation Paper. It should be conservation.
In addition, the Parks Masterplan must: