Victoria’s national parks are now protected from new large-scale private development following the passage of legislation in State Parliament that removes the ability to grant 99-year leases.
The passage of the National Parks Amendment (No 99 Year Leases) Bill 2015 fulfils a key Andrews Labor Government election commitment to prevent inappropriate development in national parks.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said the legislation limited the length of leases that could be granted over parks managed under the National Parks Act 1975 to 21 years.
The only exceptions to this are three specific instances already in legislation.
Ms Neville said the amendments reversed the previous Coalition Government’s decision to increase the leasing term to 99 years.
The amendments reflect the importance of protecting the primary role of national parks in preserving Victoria’s biodiversity and scenic beauty for all to enjoy.
The amendments to the Act follows last month’s release of the Valuing Victoria’s Parks report which quantified the benefits that national parks and their ecosystems provide.
The report found that Victoria’s parks generated $1.4 billion a year in visitor spending , supported 14,000 jobs and, through their role as water catchments, provided filtration services worth $83 million a year.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville
“The Andrews Labor Government promised to prevent inappropriate, large-scale commercial development in national parks, and that’s what we’ve done.”
“Our amendments will limit lease terms in parks to 21 years, which will remove the incentive for inappropriate development.”
“We’re preserving our national parks so that Victorians and tourists can continue to enjoy them, while also protecting the thousands of jobs that they create.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020