Michelle Lensink

Nullarbor National Park

Support for the motion by The Hon. I.K. Hunter (Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Youth, Minister for Volunteers) that this council requests His Excellency the Governor to make a proclamation under section 28(2) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 excluding section 496, Out of Hundreds (Nullarbor) from the Nullarbor National Park.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (17:22): I rise to indicate support for this motion, which has just been outlined by the minister in relation to the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area and exclusion of section 496 airstrip and dump, which support the operations of the Nullarbor Roadhouse. The member for Norwood and myself were appreciative of receiving a briefing on this area and are satisfied that this is in order, and it is consistent with motions that have been moved and accepted by both houses of parliament in relation to other areas which ought to be excluded.

We have the protections in this state that if any area that has been proclaimed is to be unproclaimed (if that is a term I can use) then a motion needs to go before both houses of parliament and that has been a longstanding tradition, which is entirely appropriate to ensure we provide legislative protection to those particular areas.

I note that in the minister's contribution he mentioned the number of areas that are proclaimed, and I look forward to the debate we will have in future about reviews of the classification of parks, because I hope that in so doing we will be able to get to the bottom of the reduction in staffing for management of parks, which may be comments that are not directly related to this, but it is an area in which this government has distinctively failed the environment of South Australia. In relation to this particular area, it is entirely appropriate that it is not contained within the wilderness protection area and therefore we support the motion.

Motion carried.

See below the speech by The Hon. I.K. Hunter in which the above speech was in response to.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Youth, Minister for Volunteers) (17:18): I move:

That this council requests His Excellency the Governor to make a proclamation under section 28(2) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 excluding section 496, Out of Hundreds (Nullarbor) from the Nullarbor National Park.

The purpose of the motion is to excise this parcel and the infrastructure located on the land from the Nullarbor National Park. Under section 28(3) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 an alteration to the boundaries of a national park requires a resolution of both houses of parliament and a subsequent proclamation by the Governor.

The Nullarbor National Park is located in the Far West of South Australia, stretching approximately 300 kilometres east from the Western Australian border. The government will shortly be proclaiming the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area which will largely replace the Nullarbor National Park. As section 496 will not be part of the wilderness area, the tenure of section 496 cannot reasonably remain as a residual national park and its resumption as crown land will provide a more appropriate ongoing tenure for the land.

Section 496 is located on the extreme eastern boundary of the Nullarbor National Park and at 589 hectares comprises 1 per cent of the national park's total area of 578,000 hectares. This section contains an airstrip and dump, which is currently licensed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, to support the operations of the adjoining Nullarbor Roadhouse, which is located on freehold land. Section 496 also contains large areas of borrow pits operated by the Commissioner of Highways for the maintenance of roads in the area, in particular the adjoining Eyre Highway.

The biodiversity values of section 496 are present elsewhere in the vast expanse of the Nullarbor National Park and the adjoining Nullarbor Regional Reserve. The vegetation across both reserves is predominately a low chenopod understorey of bluebush, saltbush and other species, and the area is renowned as a treeless plain. This area proposed to be abolished from the national park will be resumed as unalienated crown land under the Crown Law Management Act 2009, and the owners of the Nullarbor Roadhouse will be issued a licence under that act, allowing them to continue to use the infrastructure on section 496 under the same terms and conditions they currently enjoy.

This government is committed to wilderness protection and has proclaimed over 800,000 hectares of wilderness area since 2002. As previously mentioned, we will soon be proposing the proclamation of the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992. This will cover an area of 900,000 hectares along the western coast of South Australia. The Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area will make up one of the largest wilderness areas in Australia.

The wilderness protection area will comprise land that is currently the Nullarbor Regional Reserve and also the majority of the Nullarbor National Park, with the exclusion of section 496. The excision of section 496 has been supported by the Wilderness Advisory Committee, a body which provides advice to the government under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992, the Far West Coast native title claimants and the directors of the Nullarbor Roadhouse. I commend the motion to the council.

 

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