The NSW Government recognises that land title is central to the development of a new model for Aboriginal joint management. Accordingly, it is anticipated the new model will provide for the potential handback of title to all NSW national parks – covering nearly 10% of the State – over a 15 to 20-year period, subject to the land being leased back (long term and for nominal rent) to the NSW Government for its continued use and management as national park.
Expanding Aboriginal joint management across the national park estate will deliver economic benefits for Aboriginal communities by increasing Aboriginal employment and creating additional opportunities for Aboriginal businesses, as well as strengthening the role of Aboriginal communities in national park decision-making and enhancing the protection of cultural heritage.
In developing a new joint management model, the NSW Government is committed to:
- providing ongoing public access to the national park estate in a manner that showcases our natural and cultural heritage and positions New South Wales as a world leader in nature-based tourism
- implementing effective fire management across the estate, consistent with existing statutory obligations, including under the Rural Fires Act 1997 and our hazard reduction commitments
- implementing feral animal, weed control, threatened species protection and other on-ground land management, which protects natural and cultural values in a manner consistent with NSW national parks being one of the world's leading protected area estates.
The proposed new model will be developed in consultation with Aboriginal communities and native title holders, as well as with other stakeholders who use and value our national parks, including conservation groups, tourism bodies, local government and recreational users.
This consultation process is expected to take around 18 months.
Consultation will include targeted regional workshops and broad public consultation, including a request for input on the proposed model. There will be 3 broad phases of consultation:
- Stage 1 will focus on understanding aspirations and issues
- Stage 2 will invite comment on a draft model developed based on feedback from Stage 1
- Stage 3 – a proposed model will be refined following Stage 2 and released for public comment.
Current joint management arrangements will remain in place whilst a new model is being developed.