Two Byron Bay reserves have been named among the world’s top 20 national parks.
Cape Byron State Conservation Area and the Arakwal National Park along with another NSW park, the Montague Island Nature Reserve, were selected under a new Green List of the world’s best-managed protected areas, organised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
NSW opposition environment spokesman Luke Foley said no other national parks in Australia ‘made the cut for this prestigious list selected by our international peers’.
‘This is a stunning endorsement of the conservation achievements of the NSW National Parks system,’ Mr Foley said.
‘I want to congratulate the park managers and staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Service for this remarkable achievement – not just one NSW national park but three being included in the Top 20 Green List,’ he said.
‘This recognition vindicates Labor’s commitment to national parks in government.
‘The Arakwal National Park and Cape Byron State Conversation Area were both brought into the NSW National Parks Estate by the Carr Labor government.
‘The Arakwal National Park was established through the Arakwal Indigenous Land Use Agreement. This agreement, signed by the Iemma Labor government and the traditional owners, Bundjalung people or “Arakwal”, was a landmark agreement and the first of its kind in Australia.
‘The Cape Byron State Conservation Area was gazetted in 1997 and contains Cape Byron headland and the iconic Byron Bay lighthouse.
‘A conservation management plan for the Cape Byron State Conservation Area was completed in 2008, to protect the historic Byron Bay lighthouse’s significant cultural and heritage value.
‘Recognising the importance of the waters of Cape Byron to the wildlife in the State Conservation Area itself, the Carr Labor government declared the Byron Bay Marine Park. This ensures that the marine environment surrounding Cape Byron is maintained by habitat protection and sanctuary zones.
‘Montague Island Nature Reserve was established as a wildlife sanctuary under the control of the National Trust 1953 and was later transferred to the National Parks Estate.
‘In the late 1990s, Montague Island was identified by the Carr Labor government as a threatened species sanctuary and a major program began to eradicate federal animals and kikuyu grass, both of which were harming the Little Penguins. That work is now effectively complete and the island is indeed a sanctuary for threatened species,’ he said.
Mr Foley said a future Labor government was committed to major further additions to the NSW National Parks Estate.