Australia is full of natural beauty – stunning landscapes, multitudes of wonderful flora and fauna species. But ever wondered what’s stopping us turning it all into hotel resorts, car parks and golf courses? It’s simple: laws. Now legislation is pretty hard to understand at the best of times, and at 302 pages, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife (NPW) Act 1974 (No. 80) is packed with pure nature protection laws. Check out Section 2A of the Act, and you’ll find the heart of it – the four ‘objects’, or principles, which underpin NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services’ (NPWS) purpose.
The conservation of nature
Nature – it’s in our DNA. Know the feeling of biophilia? Defined as the ‘innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other life forms’, it’s that urge you get to be surrounded by green and breathe crisp, clean air. Are you familiar with the tension you feel when you stay indoors or a city for too long? Yes – national parks are the answer and luckily, our parks are defended by the Act. The Act specifies that national parks exist to protect habitats, ecosystems, biological diversity, landforms, landscapes and natural features, including wilderness. Yep, the land, the flora and the fauna – all protected under law by skilled and experienced rangers all over the state.
The conservation of objects, places or features and landscapes of cultural value
Our purpose doesn’t just stop at the awesome NSW nature. Not to be confused with the other ‘objects’ (legal speak), NPWS is also charged with the huge responsibility of protecting a range of sites that conserve Aboriginal culture in NSW. Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years, and NSW is home to Australia’s largest Aboriginal population. NPWS is also to protect many places and features of cultural and social value, and historic, architectural and scientific significance, ensuring they remain protected for generations to come.
Fostering public appreciation, understanding and enjoyment
Yes – another core part of the amazing Act is keeping the biophilia alive – by encouraging us all to care about, value, understand and enjoy nature. But it doesn’t stop there. Aboriginal culture and heritage are central to the mission and mandate of NSW National Parks so we encourage visitors to get out there and learn more about Aboriginal culture, nature, history and heritage. Luckily for us, there are already communities out there enjoying NSW national parks. So why not join them? Get out there, take your friends and family and cherish it.
The management of ecologically sustainable places for public recreation
But wait – there’s more! We also manage around 9% of the state’s land reserves, ensuring its ecological sustainability. Think rangers and field staff, behind the scenes, working day in day out to preserve the land and wildlife. From coast to desert, rainforest to rivers, all over the state, teams of staff, fire officers and volunteers tirelessly plug away to save the lives of humans and animals alike. And they do this according to Plans of Management, which are comprehensive, meticulous documents laying out how to achieve the ultimate goal of conservation. These Plans of Management are teamed with fire management strategies to cover the protection and conservation of wildlife and property across all NSW national parks.