18.3 C
Byron Shire
September 28, 2022

Visitor boost to north coast national parks ‘marred by staff cuts’

Latest News

This league of pets are super

The best things about the school holidays are the awesome films created for kids, and a great film for...

Other News

Byron Council looking at rain damage

Byron Shire Council says they have staff out and about across the Shire today assessing damage from the rain.

Monty’s: strawberries and insanity

‘Strawberries are insanely amazing,’ I hear Dave (‘Monty’) tell one customer. Regarding his punnets – three sizes, family, medium,...

Basketball carnival comes to Byron

Byron Bay Basketballers hosted their senior carnival last weekend, which saw 15 teams battle it out across four grades. ‘It...

CSIRO tracking NASA’s asteroid collision test today

The world’s first full-scale planetary defence test is happening today. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is designed to strike an asteroid and adjust its course.

Koala stranded

The plight of koalas was demonstrated very well this week with a koala found dangerously stranded in the main...

Body of missing swimmer found at Chinderah

NSW Police say the body of a man believed to be that of a missing swimmer has been located following a wide-scale search yesterday.

Visits to North Coast National Parks 2008-2016. NPWS

A staggering 70 per cent increase in visitors to national parks on the NSW north coast is being undermined by ‘savage’ cuts of $121 million inflicted by the NSW government, according to the opposition.

New figures show that in the last two years, the area has become the most popular region outside of Sydney, leapfrogging the Hunter-Central Coast and the Blue Mountains.

But shadow environment minister Penny Sharpe has warned of the devastating impact of cuts to National Parks staff and funding to this growth.

Ms Sharpe said the increased number of visitors ‘is putting significant pressure on the National Parks and Wildlife Service, leaving overworked staff under pressure to keep facilities operating, make repairs, provide visitor services and education, as well as undertaking core park priorities of conservation programs, fire and pest management’.

She condemned the state government for a series of cuts and restructures that had the left the service ‘reeling and struggling with more visitors and fewer resources’.

‘With the bungling Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton at the helm, funding cuts and “efficiency dividends” have smashed the National Parks budget to the tune of more than $121 million cut over two years,’ Ms Sharpe said.

‘This is on top of a cut of $24 million to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2014.

‘At the same time, permanent National Parks staff have been drastically reduced. Since 2011 – staff cuts mean that 26 per cent of permanent rangers have been lost and 35 per cent of area managers are gone.

‘There are fewer field officers on the ground to maintain the parks, assist visitors and undertake bush fire management operations.

‘The ecologists in the Service have been made redundant and the staff coordinating the work of volunteers who are working to protect threatened species is rapidly diminishing.

‘The Berejiklian Government is without doubt the greatest danger to our treasured National Parks estate since the National Parks and Wildlife Service was established in 1967.

‘NSW should have a world class National Parks and Wildlife Service, but this is impossible with the cuts being imposed by this government. Labor calls on the government to reverse the cuts and commit to properly resourcing the Service to look after our parks now and for the future.

‘I’ve been approached by experienced former National Parks staff almost in tears at the way this great public institution is being ground down – their greatest fear is a deliberate campaign of neglect, in which the government leaves parks to ruin so they can be opened up for logging or shooting instead.

‘With the government prioritising spending $2.5 billion on stadiums in Sydney, it is appalling to see our National Parks and the staff who manage them treated so poorly.’

But the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) said the claim $121 million had been cut from the NPWS budget was ‘categorically incorrect and undermines confidence in the excellent work the NPWS continues to provide’.

An OEH spokesperson told Echonetdaily the restructure ‘will see an increased number of 119 full-time equivalent roles, of which 115 are frontline roles, placing resources where we need them to support the community, and especially in regional areas’.

The spokesperson said ‘this is a cost-neutral program, designed to increase the number of employees in the field, where resources are needed most’.

‘This increase in staffing guarantees NPWS’ ability to continue to meet its land management goals, and continue to deliver world-class visitor experiences.’

The rise in visitation ‘has increased the demand for NPWS services and is one of the key reasons that the agency is currently restructuring its workforce’, the spokesperson said.





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.


  1. Yep, This must be the worst State government we have had even eclipsing the corrupt Labor days under Keneally,
    The Liberals have overseen the degradation of trains, TAFE, services, NPWS, the EPA, Murray Darling, Forests, Oceans etc everything is been asset stripped ready for a fire sale. It is sick and considering the funds are there but being spent on the new stadiums, I cant wait to see them go, they are pathetic, without ehics and a real danger to the community,

    These clowns are the worst of them all

  2. This is of course a planned outcome. A perfect demonstration of the dominance of the controllers of wealth over proper government.

    Environmental and planningsl laws are skewed in favour of capital instead of the preservation of nature and the wellbeing of people.

    Mining in National Parks is dressed up as “old mine site rehabilitation.” Contamination of water tables as beneficial to the economy. Etc etc.

    What hope is there when Labor worships at the same alter as the Libs.

    Neo liberalism destroys the conceptl of government for the people and replaces it with government for sociopathic profit takers.

  3. So glad to see the facts spelt out, no fake news here…and yes it is the devastating. I am an ecologist and have worked for NPWS for most of the last 15 years. I now work in another industry entirely. It does appear to be a deliberate politically orgastrated campaign of dismantlement.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Venice: Infinitely Avante-Garde

Come on your own Grand Tour of Venice next Wednesday at Byron Theatre. Explore the historic city and its openness to the world, and...

Byron Music Society’s Big Sing

Byron Music Society presents ‘A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms’ (Ein Deutsches Requiem), recognised as one of the greatest choral works ever written, at...

Wahlburgers in Byron

Walking into Wahlburgers on Sunday arvo, the sun was shining, the staff were smiling, there was a nice vibe and from our table we...

Caper Byron – it’s going to be food bliss!

Caper Byron Bay; Our Food and Culture Festival has launched their first program, inclusive of more than 30 diverse events and experiences.  Across a four-day...