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New Parks and Reserves Bill tabled


A new Parks and Reserves Authority is set to guide the future management of Tasmania’s world-class reserve system.

The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman said today the Government has tabled the National Parks and Reserves Management Amendment (Parks and Reserves Authority) Bill 2013 which paves the way for the establishment of the new Authority.

“Tasmania has a reserve system that is the envy of many countries around the world with the economic, natural, cultural and recreational values they contain.

“The new Authority will introduce modern governance to support the management of parks and other reserved lands now and into the future,” he said.

Mr Wightman said it will also help to increase public accountability in the management of our reserved lands which will comprise approximately 46 per cent of the State after the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement process.

“The new Authority will include a new Parks and Reserves Board (replacing the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council) consisting of seven, skills-based members.

“The new Board will have a far greater role to play in the setting of strategic direction for the management of parks and other reserved lands than the Advisory Council.

“It will, for example, develop a draft Parks and Reserves Strategic Plan and draft Management Plans through a consultation process involving the public

“One of these appointed members will be an Aboriginal person, given the strong and significant Aboriginal connections to many of these areas.”

“The Bill also provides for a statutorily appointed Chief Executive in place of the present Director of National Parks.

“The Chief Executive will have powers to appoint rangers and to enforce the Act.

“The Authority will sit within the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE),” he said.

Mr Wightman said that the ultimate management responsibilities for parks and other reserved lands will remain with the Minister, but the Minister will delegate on-ground management to the Chief Executive.

“The Minister will also remain responsible for issuance of business licences, leases and licenses that are consistent with the Parks and Reserves Strategic Plan and in accordance with the Act.

“The transition to an Authority would likely take place over the next four-six months.

“This is about the governance framework, greater accountability and ensuring appropriate on-ground management of parks and reserves – it’s not a wholesale restructure that will achieve savings or result in significant additional costs,” Mr Wightman said.