Coorong National Park

17 Oct 2013 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation questions about the Coorong National Park.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I understand that the state government and the Ngarrindjeri people have been negotiating future management arrangements and ownership of the Coorong National Park. A new arrangement for the park has been proposed, which would see greater involvement and participation of the Ngarrindjeri people through the creation of a management board. An option of comanagement and ILUA has been proposed for three years. The state government has also proposed that the Coorong National Park be owned by Ngarrindjeri after the comanagement three-year period, providing that good management has occurred.

Through the Liberal Party's consultation, it has become apparent that there are some concerns with these plans. Fishers and tourism operators who pay for national park access and industry-associated licence fees are worried that costs will increase and access will be restricted if not prohibited. My questions to the minister are:

1.Which stakeholders have been included so far in the negotiations?

2.What access arrangements will be available to people who are not of Indigenous descent?

3.What impact will these proposed changes have on tourism operators, boat access, and local commercial and recreational fishing sectors?

4.What safeguards will be in place to ensure that the park's management remains transparent and accountable?

5.What power will this authority have over the shacks that currently exist in the Coorong, and will they be able to remain with current leaseholders?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)  (14:20): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions. Can I say at the outset that there should be no concerns really with this proposal; it is a very similar proposition to what we are currently doing in other national parks around the state where we have comanagement boards set up and in place. There is consultation with NRM boards, there is consultation with communities, and the boards are jointly represented by my department, community members and members of the Aboriginal organisations involved. They are working very well, and I can say only that the normal processes we go through for all of these joint programs and joint management programs will be in place for this one as well.