QUESTION: Planning Zones in National Parks

In Question Time, Mark asked the Minister for Human Services, representing the Minister for Environment and Water a question about the zoning of national parks.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: As members are aware, the state government is going through a process of rewriting the planning rule book for South Australia. That project includes the preparation of a new planning and design code to replace 68 individual council development plans. Public consultation for country areas closes next month, and in the metropolitan area and in large regional centres it closes at the end of February. Part of that exercise involves reducing the number of zones and setting out what kind of development is appropriate or inappropriate in each zone.

When it comes to national parks, most people would assume that these are all zoned for conservation, because that is why national parks were created in the first place. However, what the government is now proposing is a whole range of zones for our parks, including zoning some of our most iconic national parks as rural, which is the same zone as adjoining private farm land. That is exactly what is being proposed for parts of Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island, an iconic park that this month is celebrating its centenary. Similarly, over 80 per cent of outback parks—including parts of the Flinders Ranges, Gammon Ranges National Park and all of the Simpson Desert, Nullabor, Yellabinna and other outback parks—are being zoned as remote areas, which is the same zone used for pastoral leases running sheep and cattle.

My questions of the environment minister are: does the minister support zoning national parks and other protected areas as rural or remote areas so that the same planning criteria apply to parks as to farmland or pastoral leases? Secondly, if the minister is not supportive, what is he doing about it? Will he insist to his colleague the planning minister that all national parks and other protected areas need to be zoned for conservation in recognition of the protection of the environment being the number one priority in those areas?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services): I thank the honourable member for his question. I will take those on notice and bring back a reply from the relevant minister.

Response received on December 3, 2019.

Hon. MICHELLE LENSINK MLC: The Minister for Environment and Water and the Minister for Planning have provided the following advice:

Under the current planning system there are a number of different zones that apply to national parks and other protected areas. The implementation of the new planning system, including the development of the new Planning and Design Code, has provided an opportunity to apply a consistent planning policy approach to our parks.

The Department for Environment and Water and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure have jointly developed an approach that will see the Conservation Zone applied to national parks and other protected areas that are proclaimed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and the Wilderness Protection Act 1992.

This position has been well described in the engagement material for the Code and is supported by the State Planning Commission.