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Byron Shire
September 19, 2021

Mt Warning ban

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Indigenous readers please note the following letter contains the name of a deceased local elder.

For years now NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have been actively seeking to reduce visitors to the Mt Warning National Park. The bureaucratic term for this is ‘demarketing’. NSW NPWS have exaggerated safety claims and environmental issues and misinformed the public about Aboriginal claims on the mountain. It preferences the negative views of the Bundjalung Nation over the inspirational message of Ngaraakwal Elder Marlene Boyd, RIP, who said in 2007: ‘How can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!’ NPWS also ignores other Aboriginal opinions that would see the summit remain open for visitors.

NSW NPWS no longer promotes the summit experience, and it has also passively discouraged visitation by lack of action on access, parking, security, and commercial operations. While the public have little chance of overturning the looming irrational ban on access, it may be possible for local businesses to at least get recompense for losses that will arise as a result of the ban. There may be a case against NSW NPWS for the impact its policies have had on business income and the value of local businesses. While I’m not a lawyer it seems NSW NPWS have an obligation to fairly compensate the people it has impacted with its actions on just terms.

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