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Wednesday, 21 June 2000
Page: 15369

Senator BROWN (4:55 AM) —I do not oppose any commercial activity in a national park, I should have you know. For example, I am not opposed to fees on visitors, and so on, where it is appropriate. What I am opposed to is private enterprise moving in on national park systems such as the world heritage area in Tasmania, where, right at this moment, this minister is paving the way for a major commercial resort to be built in the national park, against his own management plan, by a private entrepreneur.

That I am totally opposed to because that is giving private enterprise a monopoly on a public asset—a licence to make money by a monopoly opportunity on a public asset. That is philosophically very wrong and flies against the whole idea that national parks should be there for all the people for all time.

However, that being said, we are dealing here with a situation where there are assets within this proposed national park system around Sydney Harbour, particularly the `built' environment, if you like, the heritage environment, which may contribute towards the upkeep of the park. What I wanted to make sure, and I think I have established that from the minister, was that there is not an intent in the bill—where it lists functions—to require that the parks are managed in a way which makes them totally self-funding. The minister has, I think, been quite clear in saying that is not the case, and I think that should be on the record.