Cuts to National Parks are impacting on Wollongong locals

Funding cuts to National Parks have become so extreme that they are starting to have an impact on Wollongong residents, Wollongong's  Greens Councillors  have said on the eve of a rally in Wollongong to increase National Parks funding.

"Residents in Austinmer are being parked out because of the huge volume of walkers using the Sublime Point track," said Mithra Cox, Greens Ward 1 councillor. "There are dozens of other amazing bushwalks in the Illawarra escarpment, but there are no maps, no signposts and the tracks are not properly maintained."

Cuts to National Parks are impacting on Wollongong locals

 
Media release
Wed 18 Oct 2017
Funding cuts to National Parks have become so extreme that they are starting to have an impact on Wollongong residents, Wollongong's  Greens Councillors  have said on the eve of a rally in Wollongong to increase National Parks funding.
Rally details: 12 noon, Thursday 19 October, outside 84 Crown St Wollongong.
"Residents in Austinmer are being parked out because of the huge volume of walkers using the Sublime Point track," said Mithra Cox, Greens Ward 1 councillor.
"There are so many other amazing bushwalks in the Illawarra escarpment, but there are no maps, no signposts and the tracks are not properly maintained," Ms Cox said.
"The Ken Ausburn track, which goes from behind Wollongong uni up to the Mt Keira summit was built by Council in 1996, with agreement from the landholders - BHP Billiton and Wollongong University. Ownership of the top half of the track was handed to National Parks.  However, National Parks have no resources to manage the track, the lookout has been removed and the track has fallen into disrepair.
"The Mount Keira Ring Track has been shut indefinitely for over 8 years.
"We could connect up the walking trails between the Royal National Park, the Illawarra Escarpment and Morton National Park for a world class multi-day hike through some of the most spectacular rainforest in the country.
"Instead, people from Wollongong fly to Tasmania or New Zealand for to go hiking because there's not enough funding in NSW to replace some timber stairs, let alone to have a grand vision for nature tourism in the Illawarra.
"The Liberal Government has slashed funding so severely from National Parks that they cannot even maintain the modest walking tracks that used to be open to the public.
"The budget cuts are not only affecting residents.  The bushland is also suffering, with a huge increase in feral animals like deer, erosion from informal and poorly maintained tracks and weeds rapidly spreading through fragile ecosystems.
"The NSW Liberal Government boasts of a $4.5 billion surplus, but it has come at a heavy price for our public assets that have either been sold or severely underfunded," Ms Cox said.
For more information: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844
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