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Conservation and tourism not mutually exclusive in Victoria’s national parks
Appropriate and sensitive tourism operations in Victoria's national parks can help raise awareness of environmental challenges and help pay for conservation efforts, according to pro-development lobby group the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said reforms to national parks legislation going before Victoria's upper house today (22nd August) strike a sensible balance, stating "it is a 'furphy' to suggest that tourism operations and conservation are mutually exclusive.
"Claims these reforms amount to the privatisation of national parks are no more than scaremongering.
"Appropriate amenities that facilitate and enrich the visitor experience in Victorias national parks will allow more people to visit and encourage visitors to stay longer and explore further.
"This supports the jobs of more than 118,000 Victorians directly employed in the tourism industry and will result in growing job opportunities across the State.
"This encourages visitors to attain a deeper understanding of the environment and builds awareness of conservation challenges and programs.
"Tourism operations also provide additional revenue to help enhance park infrastructure and cover the cost of ongoing park maintenance.
"The reforms support long-term investment in sustainable and environmentally appropriate tourism operations and will help to extend visitors' length of stay and tourism expenditure in regional areas of Victoria.
"Longer-term leases encourage private investment in tourism infrastructure projects and provide stability and certainty of return which in turn deliver ongoing sustainable benefits to the area.
"Any new developments must abide by strict investment guidelines of Tourism Investment Opportunities of Significance in National Parks - Guidelines, based on assessment of social, environmental and economic impacts and subject to consultation with the National Parks Advisory Council.
"We welcome the progress on this issue and we encourage all parties in the parliament to support these reforms."
The Victorian Government's proposals have been criticised by the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) which claims that the new legislation will effectively put Victoria's national parks "up for sale" with 99 year development leases set to be allowed in the State's most important parks.
22nd June 2013 - GOVERNMENTS TO FACE BACKLASH OVER EXPLOITATION OF NATIONAL PARKS
2nd April 2013 - ENVIRONMENT GROUPS CRITICAL OF VICTORIA’S NATURE-BASED TOURISM PLANS
24th August 2012 - PRIVATE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT TO BE ALLOWED IN VICTORIA’S NATIONAL PARKS
27th July 2011 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL PUT THE ‘NATIONAL’ INTO NATIONAL PARKS
8th March 2011 - ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT VICTORIA’S MARINE ENVIRONMENT
23rd January 2009 - PLANNING THE FUTURE OF VICTORIA’S ALPINE NATIONAL PARKS
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