Parks go eco

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

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 eco­fa­cil­i­ties@nprsr.qld.gov.au

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