Parks go eco
THE State Government has released a draft implementation framework to govern the development of ecotourism facilities on national parks.
The implementation framework supports the recent amendments to the Nature Conservation Act 1992 which allow for privately owned facilities to be developed on Queensland’s national parks
Deputy-Director General of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ben Klaassen said the draft plan provides the framework for a robust and transparent process for the assessment and ongoing management of any proposed ecotourism facility.
‘‘Criteria for considering any application will include how the proposal meets social, economic and environmental sustainability outcomes,’’ he said.
‘‘The nature and scale will vary from smaller ecotourism facilities, like safari tents or tree-canopy zip lines, to eco-lodges.
‘‘Proposals will consider the natural values of the national parks in which they are located, and this will be assessed through an environmental impact statement or an environmental risk assessment, depending on the scale and location.’’
Facilities will need to demonstrate sustainable practices in both development and ongoing management and operators will be required to obtain appropriate levels of ecotourism accreditation.
The implementation framework includes six principles that guide the development of ecotourism facilities on national parks, details of how the legislative requirements will be applied to proposals, the assessment process and criteria that will be used to evaluate proposals and the leasing arrangements and how the terms and conditions will be applied.
‘‘The Queensland Government wants to encourage investment in potential ecotourism opportunities and is increasing access to national parks and other State-owned land, for the enjoyment of all visitors,’’ Mr Klaassen said.
‘‘The Queensland Government will ensure that the inherent conservation and heritage values of national parks are preserved by applying its recently amended legislative provisions and the implementation framework.’’
The Framework is open for comment until 5pm on June 4. You can read it at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au or www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au and submit comments to email@example.com