Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Liberal News

More families to delight in WA parks

Liberal Statement

A Liberal Government, if re-elected, will fundamentally change and improve how Western Australia’s parks are managed and enjoyed.

Premier Colin Barnett has announced DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) will be replaced by two separate environmental agencies, the Western Australian Parks Authority (WAPA) to promote and protect the State’s world famous parks, and the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) which will focus on regulation and licensing.

The dedicated new Parks Authority will work to broaden our state’s economy by promoting the amazing scientific, adventure and tourism potential of WA’s extraordinary natural assets.

A Liberal Government will also invest $20million over four years creating more low-cost camping and accommodation facilities in WA’s national parks and conservation areas.

“This investment will allow the new Western Australian Parks Authority to build more low cost campgrounds and related facilities, including communal kitchens, which will help attract more families and adventurers into our parks,” Premier Colin Barnett said.

“Visitation to our State’s beautiful and unique parks has increased by 55 per cent in the past 10 years and we expect it to grow by 80 per cent more over the next decade.
“We want local, national and international families to get a taste of our environmental treasures, accessing low cost, but quality holiday accommodation.

“The investment will be spread across 11 national parks and conservation areas, including Wellington National Park, Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park, John Forrest National Park and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.”

The funds will go towards a range of new and upgraded facilities, including camp shelters, communal kitchens, and other facilities – such as toilets, seating, boardwalks and parking – across these unique areas.

The Premier said the new Western Australian Parks Authority would focus on conservation, scientific research, and the promotion of terrestrial and marine parks which – for the first time – will be managed together.

“The authority will manage, protect and enhance the State’s 100 National Parks, State forests, nature and conservation reserves, and 13 marine parks,” he said.

“A dedicated WAPA will focus on providing the highest possible protection for our parks and reserves from environmental degradation and provide high quality access to unique environments for people to enjoy.

“We have some of the most spectacular national parks in the world, like Karijini National Park and Cape Le Grand National Park, and it makes sense to have a dedicated authority focused on their management.

“The Liberals will provide $15million for the first stage of what will become the future headquarters of WAPA and will include a dedicated science facility on Leschenault Drive in Bunbury to take advantage of the diverse ecosystems in the region.

“As part of this new headquarters, an additional $3million will be provided to increase scientific and conservation efforts in and around the Leschenault Inlet and Estuary, and improve access and environmental interpretation.

“Within the South-West, between Mandurah and Denmark, there are 38 national parks and somewhere between 5,800 to 8,000 species of plants, with 80 per cent of these found nowhere else on the planet.

“The South-West headquarters of WAPA will have an increased focus on tourism in protected areas.”

Environment Minister Bill Marmion, said a Liberal Government would also move to establish a northern office of WAPA in the Kimberley, likely to be located in Broome, to provide on-the-ground implementation of the $63million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.

Mr Marmion said the new Department of Environment and Regulation would assume the industry and environment licensing side of the existing DEC and incorporate the operational functions of the Waste Authority.

“This would separate the regulation function from the land management function as currently exists within DEC, and increase transparency, reduce duplication and streamline approval processes,” he said.

The #wa2013vote website will be kept online so politicians promises and statements can be checked until the end of next WA election in 2017, and after.