In a cynical move designed to fast-track and “appeal-proof” private tourism projects in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island, the State Government yesterday introduced new Regulations to over-ride existing environmental protections.
The new Regulations work by exempting any private development “for the purpose of tourism” in the National Park from any proper scrutiny or assessment. Under these new Regs, there will be:
1. No requirement to assess the merits of the development against the local planning scheme;
2. No requirement to consult any other agencies, bodies, local council or environmental experts;
3. No Public consultation and no right of comment, representation or appeal;
4. Clearance of unspecified amounts of native vegetation inside the National Park for roads, tracks, accommodation, service buildings, car parks, fire breaks and anything else regarded as incidental to tourism.
“This government’s agenda of privatising our National Parks has reached a new low with these appalling Regulations” said Greens MLC and Environmental lawyer, Mark Parnell.
“The Marshall Government is going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that nobody can stand in the way of their dream of allowing private developers into our most hallowed and significant wild places.
“In a sneaky slight of hand, the Government is applying Regulations designed for insignificant backyard pergolas and shade sails to multi-million dollar tourist developments.
“Under the new laws, the Government will not require developers to obtain planning consent for any tourism-related development in Flinders Chase, whether it is a small cabin in the bush or a major hotel or resort. If the Government likes it, that’s enough.
“These new laws deny any right of public participation and they ensure that no environmental experts will be consulted. They are anti-environment and undemocratic.
“It is an appalling way to manage our National Parks.
“The Greens will be moving disallowance motions in the Legislative Council at the first opportunity”, concluded Mark Parnell.