Fees for motor-vehicle entry and camping fees in national parks on the northern rivers and around the state are set to increase next month.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) says it’s the first time camping fees have changed in more than seven years and the increases were necessary to keep up with inflation.
From 6 October, the hourly vehicle parking fee will jump from $3 to $4 at Cape Byron (Cosy Corner, Captain Cook Lookout and The Pass) and at Broken Head Reserve.
The day vehicle entry fee at the Cape Byron lighthouse precinct, Tyagarah Nature Reserve, Mebbin, Border Ranges, Bundjalung and Gibraltar Range national parks will increase from $7 to $8.
Camping fees for these parks during peak season will increase from $10 to $11 for an adult and from $5 to $6 for a child.
NPWS acting deputy chief executive Mark Peacock says the increases are ’generally less than the inflation rate since the last increases’ and since the last rises, the CPI had increased by 18 per cent.
‘Motor vehicle entry fees have not increased since 2004 but the CPI has increased by 29 per cent over that period,’ Mr Peacock said.
He said the need to increase camping fees ‘reflects costs associated with maintaining campgrounds for visitor use and ensures parks remain fair in the market place with other tourism and accommodation providers.
‘These are modest but important increases, and vehicle entry fees apply to only 45 of the state’s more than 850 national parks and more than 800 have free entry,’ Mr Peacock said..
‘Camping fees will increase by between 50 cents and $3.50 per day, depending on the level of facilities.
‘Fees are essential to assist in meeting costs associated with maintaining visitor facilities as well as important conservation objectives such as pest and weed control programs.
‘All park entry and camping fees are put back into national parks to provide facilities such as picnic tables, walking tracks, barbecues, toilets and even showers and sewage upgrades in some camp grounds.
‘The revenue also helps to fund other park management programs such as conservation work, pest weed and fire management.
‘Annual pass prices will remain the same for the time being. Regular visitors to parks can buy an annual pass and make considerable savings. Annual passes are great value as they allow unlimited entry for 12 or a 24 month period.
‘There are a number of park use fee exemptions and concessions for pensioners and other special needs groups, with information available on the NSW National Parks website. (http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees/fee-increase-faqs)
‘NSW national parks offer a wide range of day use and overnight stay options from picnic areas and bike tracks to bush camping or campgrounds, providing lots of option for visitors to use.
‘Many locations offering a lesser level of visitor infrastructure are free and will continue to be free at this stage.
‘OEH (Office of Environment and Heritage) must ensure the cost of services and fees are aligned with inflation and the costs of providing these visitor facilities,’ Mr Peacock said.