Environmentalist and former Greens leader Bob Brown has called for private developments to be kept out of national parks and harkened to the potential of private land for sustainable tourism.
Delivering his keynote address at Travel DAZE 2019 yesterday in Sydney, the founder of the not-for-profit Bob Brown Foundation said the tourism industry has “a great potential role to play” in bringing Australia into a sustainable mindset.
“I think tourism is such a fabulous part of the human endeavour because it does bring us back – I’m talking about nature-based tourism, of course,” he told attendees.
“It is extraordinarily important that if we are going to look after this planet that we engage with it.”
Brown condemned any proposals for development in national parks, and cited his horror at areas like Federation Peak, Tasmania, and Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia under consideration for private development.
He believes private enterprise should be kept out of national parks and added that resorts, and private and exclusive lodgings have no place in public lands.
“National parks should be for the public, the infrastructure in them should be publicly paid for and amenable for everyone equally,” Brown said.
“Private enterprise should work in the vast domains of private land outside, working on market principles, buying the land, developing it for tourism.
“Tourism in private land has the potential to keep areas sustainable with an emphasis on nature and a great ability to meet the rapidly increasing demand … to see nature in a crowded world.”
Alongside his call to keep business out of national parks, Brown said there is a greater need for “proper national park regulation”, like beach bans for cars to protect the at-risk South Australian and Tasmanian Hooded plover.
He also called for a campaigning industry for sustaining Australian World Heritage sites, including the Blue Mountains National Park, which are at risk of a “death by a thousand cuts” from private development.
Furthermore, Brown is urging the tourism industry to back environmentalists, arguing that it depends on natural areas like publicly protected or enshrined World Heritage sites.
“Backing environmentalists on the front line trying to protect their parks, their threatened areas, is a great challenge for the tourism industry which depends upon those areas as we move into the future,” he said.
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