The Nature Conservation Council and National Parks Association welcome state Labor’s commitment to restore NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services staffing levels and reactivate the land acquisition program to protect still-vulnerable ecosystems and species.

ALP Environment Spokesperson Penny Sharpe today pledged that Labor would add 200 more staff to match 2011 levels and resume the national parks acquisition program that has stalled over the past eight years.

Labor also committed to creating a Great Koala National Park on the north coast around Coffs Harbour, and remove feral horses from the Kosciuszko National Park and restore the damage they have done to sensitive alpine ecosystems. (See separate releases).

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s is one of the world’s great conservation organisations, but its reputation has been eroded over the past eight years because of staff cuts.

“Labor’s proposals will go a long way to restoring the organisation’s capacity to manage our national parks to a standard the people of NSW expect.

“We urge the Coalition to also commit to boost the service’s capacity to protect the threatened species, forests and landscapes that are our common heritage and which we should pass onto future generations.”

National Parks Association EO Gary Dunnett said: “National parks and wilderness areas are the main way we can ensure nature is protected in NSW.

“Each year, millions of people flock to our national parks to spend time in nature and be awed by breathtaking landscapes.

“These reserves are under increasing threat from logging, grazing, horse-riding, development, population growth and inappropriate recreational use.

“The ALP has a proud history of building a world-class reserve system that they appear determined to continue if they win the election next week.”

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