Feasibility Study New National Park
The Parliamentary Agreement for the 9th Legislative Assembly between the ACT Labor Party and the ACT Greens committed the ACT Government to undertake a feasibility study into establishing a new northern Canberra Region National Park, including existing nature reserves around Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie and Mulligans Flat. The focus for the new national park is lowland grassy woodlands.
A two staged process was agreed by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage:
- Stage 1: The establishment of a National Park Feasibility Reference Group, comprised of community organisation representatives, to provide advice to the Minister.
- Stage 2: (to proceed only if recommended in Stage 1): Preparation of a detailed feasibility study that would include discussion of the issues identified in Stage 1, advice provided by the Reference Group and a cost/benefit analysis.
The National Park Feasibility Reference Group was established in March 2017, chaired by the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainability, Dr Kate Auty. The reference group includes representatives from conservation, rural, Aboriginal, youth, heritage, recreational and community interest organisations. The reference group met on 7 March 2017 and 5 April 2017.
The National Park Feasibility Reference Group provided their report to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, who has accepted their recommendations.
In summary the recommendations are:
Recommendation 1: The Reference Group recommends that the ACT Government does not support the establishment of a new northern Canberra region national park.
Recommendation 2: That the ACT Government supports enhanced management and additional protection for lowland grassy woodland currently located outside the ACT protected area network.
Recommendation 3: That the ACT Government considers an ongoing role for the National Park Feasibility Reference Group (or similar representative group) to support conservation outcomes for the ACT’s lowland grassy woodlands.
The reference group will have an ongoing role in advising the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate on lowland grassy woodland conservation outcomes. The group will be renamed and may include alternate or additional representation.
National Park Feasibility Reference Group
Resource Paper - Attachments
Meeting 1 – 7 March 2017 – Summary
The first meeting of the National Park Feasibility Reference Group was held on 7 March 2017. Terms of Reference for the group were agreed, and presentations were provided on the Australian National Reserve System, the ACT Territory Plan zones and public land overlay system, and the National Parks Association proposal for a new national park. To support further discussion, the reference group sought additional information from ACT Parks and Conservation Service on the difference between designation as nature reserve and national park.
Meeting 2 – 5 April 2017 – Summary
The reference group discussed the additional information provided by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and other issues raised by their organisations. A presentation on the Canberra Nature Park Draft Reserve Management Plan was provided. The group agreed they were ready to provide advice to the Minister through a short report.