Greens NSW MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has today given notice of a parliamentary inquiry into the restructure of the National Parks and Wildlife Service that is thinning out staff expertise with cuts to funding and jobs.
If established, the inquiry would examine:
1. The extent of the restructure,
2. The effect of restructures on the ability of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to fulfil its mission and objectives, including environmental conservation, protection of wildlife, invasive species management, fire management, visitor safety and amenity, environmental education and the protection of Aboriginal heritage, and
3. The impact on economy, tourism and jobs in rural and regional areas.
Dr Faruqi is calling on Labor and the Cross-Bench parties to support her motion to establish the inquiry.
Dr Faruqi said:
“We need an inquiry to get the facts out there about this secretive staff restructure that could be extremely damaging in the long run and cost us the health of our precious national parks and wildlife.
“The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is a huge part of our community, fighting bushfires, conserving our environment and protecting animals, but 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 funding and job cuts and loss of expertise.
“The NSW Government’s claims about jobs in the parks are simply smoke and mirrors. They are deliberately pushing out decades of expertise to suit their agenda to degrade and perhaps even do away with the National Parks service altogether.
“Quite simply these cuts will mean fewer rangers, closed tracks, less maintenance of visitor facilities and encroaching invasive species.
“National Parks visits are up 30% with more than 50 million visits each year and an overwhelming number of visitors satisfied by their experience. We should be supporting NPWS staff to do their jobs, not undermine their work.
“Rural and regional areas with National Parks are particularly at risk and I am very concerned about the impact this will have on jobs, the local economy and tourism,” she concluded.
Media contact: Matt Hilton at (02) 9230 2194 or 0474 437 111