Posted on 28. Jun, 2013 in News

The Napthine Government has passed legislation that will see Victoria’s world renowned National Parks carved up and sold to the highest bidder, Shadow Minister for the Environment Lisa Neville said today.

Ms Neville said the National Parks Amendment (Leasing Powers And Other Matters) Bill 2013 extends current 50 year leases into national parks to 99 year leases enabling the carve up of parks with possible threats to the Otways, 12 Apostles, and Wilsons Prom national parks.

“This Bill overturns generations of successful management of our world renowned national parks,” Ms Neville said.

“Less than one per cent of national parks across the world have any form of private development and this Napthine Government plan is out of step with national and international standards.

“The Napthine Government has bowed to the pressure of their developer mates at the expense of the environment and small regional town businesses and it is essentially hanging a “for sale” sign out the front of Victoria’s national parks.

“This move by the Napthine Government will undermine tourism in our regional towns that are near national parks, impacting small business operators.

“These developments will be for exclusive use – allowing only a small number of Victorians to appreciate them – those who can afford it – and locking out Victorian families.”

Ms Neville said the Government, through this Bill, failed to consider the impact such developments would have on small tourist businesses that have successfully operated in towns bordering the national parks.

“There is minimal community consultation and only basic environmental oversight in relation to any future development of our pristine parks,” Ms Neville said.

“The Napthine Government has ensured, through this legislation, that developers have an easy application process and that the decision making solely rests with the Minister for the Environment Ryan Smith.”

Ms Neville said this was a return to the Kennett Government era, when the Liberal Government approved a 150 bed hotel at Wilson’s Prom.

“Private development will do nothing to assist struggling towns near our parks – many communities are already concerned that they will drag people away from their towns or away from existing tourist accommodation either in towns or on private land,” Ms Neville said.

“There is no business case in relation to public benefit that could be derived from private development in parks by the Napthine Government.”

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