Significant expansion of Western Australia’s network of national parks and reserves has been included in a program of priority goals announced this month by the State Government.
The target is to create five million hectares of new WA national and marine parks and reserves over the next five years, increasing Western Australia’s conservation estate by 20 per cent.
In announcing this as part of the State Government’s wider “Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity” program, Premier Mark McGowan and Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the intention was to create new and expanded parks from the Kimberley, across WA’s Midwest rangelands, through areas from Perth to Bunbury, to the South-West forests.
A potential new marine park along the southern coastline is also envisaged.
“Increasingly, tourists from Australia and around the world want to see and experience WA’s amazing natural environment,” the Premier said. “By expanding our conservation estate, in consultation with industry, we can create new jobs and opportunities.
“Many of the areas earmarked for inclusion were purchased by the State and Federal Liberal-National Governments in the late 1990s, to be converted into national parks and conservation reserves.
“Implementing the expansion plan will create more opportunities for Aboriginal joint management and on-country jobs and provide conservation and nature-based tourism benefits.
“It will deliver on a number of existing commitments to expand WA’s conservation estate and create new opportunities for jointly managed parks and reserves.
Consultation is planned on issues such as specific park boundaries and management approaches.
The Premier said the plan would complement the State Government’s successful Aboriginal Ranger Program by providing more opportunities for traditional owners to jointly manage country, providing more jobs in regional and remote Western Australia.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said creating new and expanded parks and reserves would enhance biodiversity conservation, including habitat for the many threatened native animals and plants unique to Western Australia.
“Our State is already famous for its iconic national and marine parks and providing more access to our natural assets while enhancing their protection will further put Western Australia on the eco-tourism map.”
To view the plan, visit https://pws.dbca.wa.gov.au/planforourparks