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Environment, parks and tourism secure new funds in NSW budget

Environment, parks and tourism secure new funds in NSW budget
June 23, 2021

With the NSW economy recovering faster than expected from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021/22 state budget has backed new spending in national parks, biodiversity and tourism.

With a deficit of $7.9 billion this financial year - around half of what had been forecast when the last budget was handed down in November 2020, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s latest budget puts the state on track to return a surplus of $466 million in three years.

Among funding announced by Treasurer Perrottet in yesterday’s budget, $80 million has been allocated to create multi-day treks in an attempt to attract visitors back to the state's national parks.

These are planned for national parks including Kosciusko in the south, Mungo in the west and Hat Head in the east. The first of the planned walks will stretch from Kamay Botany Bay National Park in Sydney, through the Royal National Park, linking through the Illawarra Escarpment state conservation area.

Regional NSW will also benefit, with $107.7 million spent over 10 years on remediating former mining sites to increase safety and reduce environmental impacts, or prepare the land for other use, such as parkland and visitor attractions.

Wildlife and ecosystems are set to receive more than $1 billion in funding over the next four years, with NSW Environment Minister, Matt Kean saying that the investment will continue important work to conserve, protect and promote our precious natural environment.

Minister Keen advised “NSW is home to some of the most unique plants, animals and ecosystems in the world, and it is our responsibility to protect and preserve it for future generations.

“From securing the survival of species on the brink of extinction and working towards doubling the population of koalas in NSW to improving access and amenity in our national parks, this funding will enable us to continue delivering our ambitious environmental agenda.”

Biodiversity budget measures also include:

  • More than $193 million over five years to double the number of koalas in NSW by 2050
  • $75 million over five years to continue the Saving Our Species Program to maximise the number of ecological communities and threatened species that are secure in the wild in NSW
  • More than $26 million over two years to implement key actions under the Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation framework including implementation of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, and biodiversity mapping, assessment and evaluation
  • More than $140 million to manage waste, clean-up and ongoing recovery works as a result of bushfires and floods

The NSW budget also includes significant investment going to revitalise the Sydney CBD and develop new regional infrastructure, with more than $500 million to be spent on ensuring Sydney and the wider state remains a popular destination for domestic travellers and becomes a destination of choice for international visitors when borders reopen.

Treasurer Perrottet allocated $373 million over four years into a variety of marketing and stimulus programs as part of the NSW Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 - which aims to optimally position Sydney and NSW to attract visitors through major events, campaigns, partnerships and industry development.

Funds allocated in yesterday’s budget will support a range of initiatives underway with Destination NSW including the establishment of a four-year $200 million State Significant Event Fund to secure high-impact events for Sydney and NSW. Funding will also be spent in the development of new campaigns, securing new and reinforcing existing air routes to Sydney and regional NSW and investing in new product.

Building on the success of the state-wide ‘Dine and Discover’ voucher program, the NSW Government will soon launch its recently announced CBD accommodation stimulus, in which 200,000 vouchers valued at $100 each will be made available to NSW residents to put towards a hotel stay in the Sydney CBD.

The $51.5 million program is aimed at bringing crowds back into the city to boost hotels, restaurants, live music venues and city attractions.

A $50 million commitment to develop new tourism infrastructure in regional NSW will be spent on new attractions such as cliff-top walks, improving disability access and boosting the appeal among event organisers to take meetings, conferences and events outside of the city.

Commenting on the commitment to develop these new experiences, NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres advised “we are getting on with the delivery of NSW’s Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 and we are confident that visitors will return to NSW in droves and discover experiences they’ll want to come back for and tell their friends about.”

Images: Trail in the Royal National Park (top, credit NPWS) and Sydney is to benefti from the NSW Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 (below).

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25th March 2021 - NSW to move to 100% seated capacity at entertainment and sporting venues

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24th December 2020 - NSW Government returns 15,000 hectares of land returned to traditional owners to form new national park

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15th September 2020 - National Parks and Wildlife Service temporarily close Bandahngan Aboriginal Area

29th June 2020 - NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Hunter Central Coast encourages women to join their team

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18th October 2020 - Tickets on sale for Destination NSW’s Great Southern Nights gigs

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19th January 2021 - NSW looks to become premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific by 2030

16th January 2019 - Sydney Festival’s strong attendance boosts NSW visitor economy 

6th September 2018 - NSW visitor economy plan puts more emphasis on regions

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