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Ecologically Sensitive Development in National Parks

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will investigate opening up South Australia’s National Parks and drive tourism into our regions by creating greater opportunity for private operators to develop accommodation services in national parks that are ecologically sustainable and sensitive to the setting.

The Problem

Our regions are struggling because we’re not making the most of our environmental assets to create jobs.

Population growth in our regional cities and towns is low because business is not as good as it could be.

Take tourism for example.

Our market share of visitors from overseas and other parts of Australia continues to decline.

Data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) shows that only 2% of international visitor nights are spent camping or caravanning in South Australia.

South Australia has 20 national parks but they offer very limited tourism experiences because of lack of accommodation choices.

More needs to be done to encourage private sector investment, undertaken in an ecologically sensitive way. High quality tourism experiences capable of attracting high value tourists are particularly lacking.

Elsewhere in Australia it has been shown that development can be undertaken in parks and reserves in such a way that they are not degraded.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will investigate opening up South Australia’s National Parks and drive tourism into our regions by creating greater opportunity for private operators to develop accommodation services in national parks that are ecologically sustainable and sensitive to the setting.

We will begin by issuing an Expression of Interest for development in Stenhouse Bay, Innes National Park at the foot of Yorke Peninsula, 300 km by road from Adelaide.

Innes has been a national park since 1970 covering an area of more than 9,000 hectares.

Before that it was home to a gypsum mine at Stenhouse Bay so there is already a pre-existing human footprint within which further development could be undertaken with minimal disruption to the environment and amenity of the park.

Within the park already, there are about 50 camping sites at Pondalowie Bay and 25 at Stenhouse Bay. Other short term rental accommodation is available at Inneston and various other buildings, including shacks on long-term lease, are used for accommodation purposes. The current park management plan makes provision for a maximum of 700 people to camp overnight. The range of visitors and the time and money they spend in the region could be enhanced by more accommodation options.

While the park is a contributor to the local economy, the opportunities offered for fishing, surfing, diving, walking and other pursuits mean it has much greater potential to attract visitors to the region.

If we can drive more tourists into the region it will have a positive economic benefit, not only for accommodation providers, but also for other tourism spin off businesses, creating jobs and pumping more dollars into the local economy.

The current park management plan includes the objective of ‘provision of facilities that enhance the visitor experience while conserving park values.’

Our Expression of Interest will encourage proposals consistent with this objective.

In developing the Expression of Interest we will consult key stakeholders including the Narungga people who have a registered native title claim on Yorke Peninsula.