Greens accuse the National Party of waging war on National Parks

The NSW Greens have accused the National Party of being at war with National Parks.

Greens NSW Environment Spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is under threat due to a planned restructure by the NSW Liberal/National Government.

"Since 1967, the NPWS has looked after our National Parks, their precious wildlife, worked for the conservation of native and threatened species, educated generations of school children and played host to countless camping holidays and bushwalks, " Dr Faruqi said.

"Their ability to perform these essential public services is now under threat from a restructure by the NSW Liberal/National Government, which will result in a series of cuts and job cuts and loss of expertise. 

"We love our national parks. They receive more than 40 million visits in New South Wales each year, parks like Bendick Murrell National Park are an important part of the community, environment and public space."

Dr Faruqi said if the NPWS restructure goes ahead, the NSW community will soon notice the changes.

"We will see fewer rangers, closed tracks, less maintenance of visitor facilities and encroaching invasive species will become the unfortunate norm," she said.

"There will be a knock-on effect on local jobs, tourism and the local economy. 

"The NSW Government should stop their war on National Parks and treat rangers and all staff with the respect they deserve."

But Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said there most definitely is not a ‘war’ on National Parks.

“The National Parks and Wildlife Service is responding to an increased demand for its services and is restructuring its workforce to make sure adequate resources are available to help visitors, to manage the land responsibly and to meet conservation goals," she said.

“This shows NPWS’s commitment to its role and to our beautiful National Parks. The key reason for the restructuring is to increase the number of frontline roles and this is being achieved by consolidating executive and management layers, freeing up funds for new field-based roles.

“We are putting people where they are needed, we love our National Parks, they’re wonderful places to relax and spend time.  Ranger roles won’t be affected – rangers who manage Bendick Murrell National Park will remain unchanged.”

Ms Cooke said the restructure would allow for future growth in frontline numbers. 

“The restructure will not affect NPWS’s ability to manage pests and invasive species," she said.

“This restructure will see an increase in frontline roles in the Murrumbidgee Area – which includes the Cootamundra electorate – and recruitment is currently underway.”