Under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act), the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment can issue licences and permits for a range of commercial activities to be carried out in NSW national parks and reserves.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Parks Eco Pass program licences operators who conduct commercial tours and recreation and educational activities in NSW national parks and reserves. The Parks Eco Pass program streamlines processes and ensures consistency in the licensing of commercial tour activities in national parks and reserves across New South Wales.
This policy outlines key principles to guide the management and implementation of the NPWS Parks Eco Pass program. Detailed, procedural information on specific aspects of the program is available on the Environment, Energy and Science, Parks Eco Pass webpage and in the Parks Eco Pass Operator Handbook (the handbook).
- NPWS's commercial tours and recreation will be guided by the following principles:
- Activities must be undertaken within the framework established by the NPW Act, NSW Government policies, departmental policies and strategic planning processes.
- NPWS will engage operators in a partnership to improve public access to parks so that operators can be advocates for conservation.
- Access and activities of commercial recreation and tour operators will be regulated through licence conditions to ensure they are aligned with all park management values, including environmental sustainability and respectful of Aboriginal cultural and historic heritage.
- Aboriginal cultural heritage interpretation will only be undertaken by members of the relevant Aboriginal community, or in association with Aboriginal people, and operators must adhere to the requirements set out in the handbook.
- All licences will carry general and activity and location conditions and are non-negotiable.
- NPWS manages visitor safety and risk consistent with the objects and management principles of the NPW Act, and with other NPWS policies and procedures (including the Visitor Safety Policy).
- Licensed operators must adhere to all relevant visitor and work safety requirements.