Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Neighbour Relations Policy

Building, maintaining and enhancing neighbour relations is critical to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) achieving conservation outcomes and meeting service objectives on issues of mutual interest. Involvement of neighbours in decision-making processes and working together on management activities presents opportunities for improved communication and allows landscape-scale issues to be addressed.

NPWS manages land for the conservation of nature and cultural heritage within established laws and policies. We provide educational and recreational opportunities which foster appreciation of nature, Aboriginal heritage and historic heritage in the community. Neighbours may manage their land with a range of objectives in mind, such as agricultural production, maintaining exotic gardens in an urban landscape or wildlife conservation. We acknowledge the diversity of objectives and the relationship of our activities to that wider context in working with our neighbours.

Our Advisory Committees provide a critical link to recognising and understanding the diversity of interests in the local community in advising on park management issues. Advisory Committees play an important role in neighbour relations. Their involvement enhances understanding of neighbour issues in relation to the broader community, which can be built into the framework of Advisory Committee deliberations and recommendations.

NPWS defines neighbours as:

  • public or private landholders (including leaseholders) who have a common boundary with NPWS-managed lands or whose properties areaccessed through park
  • government agencies with responsibilities to manage land or public service utilities in parks which may be affected by NPWS activities, and whose activities may also affect NPWS
  • communities who live in close proximity to parks with local issues that are affected by NPWS activities, and whose activities may also affect the NPWS ('neighbour communities').

The Policy

  1. We acknowledge that NPWS is responsible for the good management and stewardship of land, and we will undertake our management in active communication with neighbours.
  2. We recognise the right of neighbours to undertake their activities without undue impacts from our activities. We would encourage our neighbours to do the same.
  3. As a neighbour, we will conform to generally accepted standards of neighbourly conduct and aspire to constructive relations with our neighbours.

Communication, consultation and participation

  1. We will aim to make and maintain personal contact with neighbours.
  2. We will communicate openly and honestly with neighbours and encourage our neighbours to do the same.
  3. We will communicate with neighbours to advise of proposed management initiatives or activities which may affect them and we will encourage our neighbours to do the same.
  4. We will ensure that neighbours are informed of draft management plans and documents relating to key park activities, and provide access to these documents for information and comment.
  5. We will actively participate as a neighbour in joint management programs and initiatives where possible.
  6. We will invite neighbour participation in decision-making concerning issues that may impact on neighbours and which facilitate the practical resolution or management of the issues in question.
  7. We will endeavour to make neighbours aware of the role and function of Advisory Committees, opportunities to nominate as representatives, and encourage communication between Advisory Committee members and our neighbours.
  8. We will extend invitations to work with neighbours ‘on the ground’ in land management activities of mutual interest or concern.
  9. We will advise neighbours of any known assistance available to deal with management issues affecting them.
  10. We will encourage neighbours to be involved in relevant volunteer activities on park where they are available.
  11. We will provide opportunities for neighbours to learn about our work and invite discussion to enhance understanding of National Parks and Wildlife Service responsibilities in the community.
  12. We will endeavour to provide neighbours with information that may assist in property planning and managing land in ecologically sustainable ways, including opportunities to learn about remnant bushland, Voluntary Conservation Agreements and Wildlife Refuges.

About the policy

Other relevant policies

  1. Consideration will be given to neighbour relations issues in the drafting and review of all relevant NPWS policies, where appropriate.
  2. A number of our current policies have particular relevance to neighbour relations. These include:
    • - boundary fencing policies
    • - vehicle access policies, including access to inholdings policy
    • - how and why policies are made.
  3. Any matters on which NPWS policies are silent will, in the first instance, be dealt with by the Area Manager, who will provide advice as required.
  4. The following NPWS or Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) procedural guidelines are also relevant to neighbour relations:
    • - Code of Ethics and Conduct
    • - Guarantee of Service
    • - Dealing with Complaints.
Page last updated: 18 January 2016