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NSW National Parks’ 50th anniversary overshadowed by potential staffing cuts

NSW National Parks’ 50th anniversary overshadowed by potential staffing cuts
October 19, 2017

An impending reorganisation of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSWPWS) could see a rise safety, bushfire and biosecurity risks according to the Public Service Association (PSA).

With the NSW Government reportedly planning to reduce the number of NSWPWS areas from 50 to 37, and axe 13 management positions overseeing those areas, the PSA, NSWPWS staff and community members today (Thursday 19th October) rallied against the plans in Griffith, Katoomba, Queanbeyan, Grafton and Wollongong

The PSA said the highly experienced area managers played a critical role in preserving wildlife and protecting the public, but they had now "found themselves on the threatened species list".

The union's spokesman Tony Heathwood said it was a disappointing way to mark 50 years of the NSWPWS.

Heathwood advised “these roles are vital to how our parks operate, and deleting those roles is going to have an enormous impact on how those parks will function.

"They manage bushfires, feral animals and the whole biodiversity of our national parks system."

In NSW's central-west, there have been concerns cutting area manager positions will lead to a blowout in deer and wild dog numbers, particularly in areas where national parks adjoin farmland.

Meanwhile, in the north of NSW, unions say more than a dozen jobs will be cut, undermining threatened species recovery and bushfire control programs.

With previous cuts having impacted the Illawarra region, the National Parks Association's Illawarra branch President Graham Burgess said rangers were now often being tasked to Royal National Park, south of Sydney, and were unable to respond to safety issues in other parks.

Burgess told the ABC “we see a bit of antisocial behaviour sometimes, and it really needs rangers to be onsite, to talk to people, to manage the safety, to be seen and communicate to the public about what should and shouldn't be happening in our parks.

"What we're seeing, I think, with the current Government is a situation with National Parks that we've never had before.

"We're seeing this Government spending a lot of money around Sydney on boring tunnels, but we're not seeing it being directed to National Parks at all."

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) said the restructure would result in a net increase of 119 field-based roles, which would increase NSWPWS's biosecurity and safety management capacity.

A spokeswoman said formal consultation with staff finished last month, but it was committed to constructively engaging with staff and unions during the transition.

The OEH spokeswoman advised “the number of ongoing operational and customer service employees will increase, and new supervisory roles are proposed to support the new area managers in ensuring local service delivery.”

Image: Gardens of Stone National Park, Wolgan Valley.

17th July 2016 - $10 MILLION INITIATIVE TO CHANGE THE GREENING OF PUBLIC SPACES 

2nd May 2016 - NSW GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT PLANS SUGGESTS CULLING OF 90% OF SNOWY MOUNTAINS BRUMBIES OVER 20 YEARS

3rd April 2016 - ALL MOUNTAIN TRAIL TO BOOST THREDBO’S STATUS AS AUSTRALIA’S ULTIMATE MOUNTAIN BIKE DESTINATION

4th February 2016 - SHOOTERS RESTRICT ACCESS TO NEW SYDNEY COASTAL NATIONAL PARK

8th October 2015 - MORE THAN 39 MILLION VISITS TO NSW NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES IN 2014 

2nd September 2015 - NSW NATIONAL PARKS NOW ON GOOGLE STREET VIEW

12th November 2014 - ONLY ONE IN FOUR PROTECTED AREAS IS WELL MANAGED

31st October 2014 - SYDNEY PREPARES FOR ONCE IN A DECADE WORLD PARKS CONGRESS 

12th June 2014 - NSW GOVERNMENT TO BACK RAIL TRAILS

16th July 2012 - TRC TOURISM GETS $1 MILLION TO IMPROVE VISITOR EXPERIENCES IN NATIONAL LANDSCAPES 


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We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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