NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE (LIFE LEASE SITES) AMENDMENT BILL second reading

01 Mar 2017 newsparliamentspeech

This is a companion bill to the bill that I just introduced and, again, for avid readers of Hansard, this bill was introduced into this chamber previously on 31 October 2012.

National Parks and Wildlife (Life Lease Sites) Amendment Bill

Introduction and First Reading

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 16:12 :58 ): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 16:13 :44 ): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This is a companion bill to the bill that I just introduced and, again, for avid readers of Hansard, this bill was introduced into this chamber previously on 31 October 2012. It was not taken to a vote but I did speak extensively about the different national parks and the historical arrangements where there were shacks located in those parks and why we believed that the shacks should continue to be allowed to stay in those areas.

This particular legislation is very similar to the previous bill that I have just introduced. It mirrors the provisions of the Crown Land Management (Life Lease Sites) Amendment Bill, except that it does not seek a subleasing arrangement with the local council because that would not be an appropriate arrangement. However, it still does attempt to provide the same incentives for lessees to upgrade/improve their shacks for the benefit of those facilities but also for the environment—again, leases for five years with subsequent right of renewal/transferability with the consent of the relevant authority, and so forth. Again, all the infrastructure, and so forth, will be required to be upgraded.

I did speak at some length, when I introduced that bill in 2012, about the arrangements. As with many other shack lessees, the ones located in national parks have been there, in many cases, for generations. The lessees also have the privilege (a word I use in inverted commas) of paying council rates, but most of them do not receive any services in return.

The most significant national parks that have had such arrangements are the Innes National Park, which contains Pondalowie Bay, and also shacks at Shell Beach and Dolphin Beach. The Coorong National Park has a number of sites along there where shacks are present, and the Little Dip Conservation Park, on my understanding, has only one site left there.

The Innes National Park has quite an interesting history. I will not repeat all that again because I already spoke about that on 31 October 2012, but there are a number of leases there. There is an active fishing village, with people who reside there still, and a number of cray fishermen who work from that particular site, quite an active group of people who have been going there for many, many years or who, obviously, still live there.

One lady to whom I spoke when I visited there several years ago had been coming there since 1952, which was actually well before the park was proclaimed. It is worth noting that in all of these instances these shacks were there since before the park was proclaimed, and I think they were allowed to be retained to recognise that fact.

At the Innes National Park and Pondalowie Bay (or Pondie to the locals) I have been told that they often provide impromptu services to people who might visit the beach and are not used to taking their boats down there and get bogged on the beach. They have even prevented drownings in the area because they have been first on the scene. Like most shack areas, they provide a significant amount of rubbish removal and looking after that particular area.

We also have the Coorong National Park, which was proclaimed in 1966. A number of shacks were there well before then. There is an interesting history, again, in terms of the transfer to the national parks, to which I referred in that speech, where land was transferred into the park by that particular government and that then had a knock-on effect for the people who had shacks. It is the site of the original Strathalbyn fishing club, which has been there for many years.

The Little Dip Conservation Park, which I also mentioned, some of the original shacks were possibly there up to 100 years ago. It was clearly a place the local residents liked to attend when they were having their Christmas holidays. Usually, shacks in regional areas are associated with particular farming communities, so it is an opportunity for people from the same region to holiday in the same area year after year. They have some heritage associated with that area.

I think it is worth mentioning, too, if people think this is a really strange arrangement for people to have tenure in national parks, that anybody who goes skiing in Australia will actually be within a national park, and anybody who either stays in accommodation or has a beer in a hotel is within a national park lease with a local state government authority.

Do not let anyone fool you to say that this is some sort of strange arrangement, that we are trying to seek some sort of special deal for people who have their little iron, tin or fibro shacks. They have been there for some time, in many cases for many years, before the area was even considered for proclamation as a national park. We think they should be allowed to continue to stay. With those comments, I commend the bill to the house.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. J.M. Gazzola.