Labor’s National Parks overhaul

The chronic underfunding of Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service will be reversed by a Majority Labor Government with funding for an additional 30 park rangers and field officers.

The tourism industry is pivotal for the future of Tasmania and it was time to ensure entry fees at National Parks for interstate and international tourists reflected the true value of the experience.

Labor will introduce a new fee structure – only to apply to interstate and international tourists – will be determined in collaboration with the Parks and Wildlife Service, peak tourism organisations in each region and accredited operators.

This will include investigation of a tiered fee structure for our three most popular parks, with higher fees for tourists but not Tasmanians during times of peak demand.

A Labor Government will use the proceeds of a modest fee increase to fund 30 additional park rangers and maintenance across the park system.

At the same time, the price of an annual entry pass for all Tasmanians will be reduced by up to 50 per cent because we need to minimise the barriers against Tasmanians exploring their own backyard.

Experiences like Three Capes Track and the Overland Track have already demonstrated that visitors are prepared to pay to see Tasmania’s remarkable natural environment.

Our Parks are in danger of being loved to death and we must increase funding for rangers to cope with that. Last year more than 530,000 interstate and overseas visitors to Tasmania visited a National Park at least once and visitation is growing at up to 10 per cent each year. At the same time the Parks and Wildlife Service has been chronically underfunded by the Liberals and it is struggling to keep up with ever-increasing demands – from maintaining tracks to managing weeds and fighting wild fires. We don’t want to deter visitation, but ensure that the quality of experiences matches expectations.

Our natural environment is truly world class and entry fees should reflect that.”