26.8 C
Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Rangers endangered

Latest News


Dr Matt Landos, East Ballina There is the real news and then there is the fake news. The radio news announced...

Other News

Lismore urges REX to reconsider service cancellation

The regional airline Regional Express (REX) announced yesterday that five services, including its Lismore service, would cease once government support through the RANS program is discontinued at the end of March.

‘The Great Reset’

Gary Opit, Wooyung I appreciated the letter by Lucas Wright (17 February) on the Great Reset conspiracy fantasy. With our...

Motion to save Lennox pavilion fails

Ballina Cr Eoin Johnston's attempt to save the seventy year old weather shed at Lennox Head went down at council's meeting yesterday, attracting only one other councillor's support.

Northern Rivers policeman accused of youth assault acquitted

Magistrate Michael Dakin has ordered a common assault charge against a former Byron-based policeman be dropped after an altercation involving a naked youth in Byron Bay three years ago.

Constitutional referendum/poll for LG elections for Byron Shire?

Is the wards fight back again? Byron Shire Council staff have advised, in the upcoming agenda, that ‘Council may conduct a Constitutional referendum or poll in conjunction with the Local Government Election, to be held in September 2021’.

Saltwater mob style

Story & photo Melissa Butters If you’ve ever tasted the wild fish rillettes from The Bay SmokeHouse you know what’s...

What do swift parrots, koalas and NPWS rangers have in common? They may all be extinct in NSW if the Baird government has anything to do with it.

Over the weekend a worrying piece of news was buried among the furore of two grand finals and a heatwave that sent millions to the beach: NSW environment agencies are to be hit with $20 million worth of cuts this year— on top of $60 million already slashed from environment since the change of government three years ago[1].

Yet just six months ago, in an election pitch, Mike Baird promised to ‘protect, enhance and expand our national park estate’ and to reduce entry prices[2].

But by cutting budgets he has forced the NPWS to increase visitor and camping fees to cover core business costs[3].

Although we have seen some worthy additions to the national parks estate, it’s hard to equate savage budget cuts with enhanced protection.

This is seen most acutely in the erosion of ranger numbers across the state. Rangers are the highly skilled visible face of NSW’s national parks.

Almost as iconic as the eucalypts and koalas they protect they, alongside field officers, do the heavy lifting in terms of on-ground works, campsite maintenance, weed control and visitor interaction.

Perhaps most crucially, given predictions of a strong El Niño and an early start to the fire season in Victoria, an erosion in ranger numbers compromises NPWS’s ability to fight fires and conduct hazard reduction burns.

We know there are somewhere between 50 and 100 vacant ranger positions currently unfilled, and it’s unlikely that they will be.

Millions of people use national parks over the summer period and rangers perform a crucial role in keeping them safe while protecting the natural values of parks from impacts of visitation.

We’re looking at a potentially extreme fire season. To have unfilled ranger positions in such a situation risks unnecessary damage to life, property and the environment. Any savings to the budget from reducing ranger numbers will pale in comparison to the costs of a catastrophic fire.

The government is said to be considering doing away with ranger positions completely. The NPA believes that to wipe out a position that is well respected by the community and who perform tough jobs well is incredibly short sighted and will diminish NSW’s status in environmental protection.

We want a guarantee from [Environment Minister] Mark Speakman that the vacant positions will be filled, that Mike Baird’s promise of enhanced protection is realised and that rangers don’t go extinct in NSW like so many of our native animals have.

Kevin Evans , CEO National Parks Association of NSW (NPA)



Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Monkey see

Daniel Brown, Byron Bay Back in my early youth growing up in Mt Eliza Victoria in the ‘90s I’d secretly look up to and admire...

Australia’s bastardry

Gareth W R Smith, Byron Bay Australia has a long string of racist and anti-humanitarian policies. These range from its treatment of Aboriginal people, complicity...

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some interest and also, I am...

‘The Great Reset’

Gary Opit, Wooyung I appreciated the letter by Lucas Wright (17 February) on the Great Reset conspiracy fantasy. With our privileged, western, simplistic understanding of...