Policy adopted December 2010
Policy last updated May 2022
Scope and application
This policy applies to all lands acquired or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) except for lands reserved under Part 4A of the Act (unless the Board of Management for those lands has adopted the policy). However, NPWS staff can use the policy as guidance in their dealings with Boards of Management.
This policy covers all types of vehicle access, including vessels. Other specific vehicle access-related policies (such as the Roads Policy and the Cycling Policy) may sit under this overarching policy.
The objectives of this policy are to:
- help park staff plan, manage and regulate vehicle access in a way that conserves nature and cultural heritage, protects human life and provides for an injury-free visit to parks
- ensure that vehicle use in parks occurs in accordance with the legislation and the management objectives of parks
- provide appropriate vehicle access for management purposes, including emergency access
- provide for recreational vehicle use, where appropriate, and ensure the ecologically sustainable management of such vehicles within parks
- meet the needs and expectations of visitors that are appropriate to the management objectives of each park, and ensure that the mix and pattern of recreational use within a park (including driving, cycling, camping and walking) maintains an appropriate level of safety, equity, harmony and satisfaction amongst park visitors
- provide for the appropriate use of oversnow vehicles in Kosciuszko National Park for ski resort and park management purposes
- clarify legal jurisdiction governing aircraft access over parks and provide appropriate guidance on aircraft and air access to parks.
Aircraft – see Vehicle
Allowed versus permitted: permitted means that an activity is legally permissible under the NPW Act, the Wilderness Act 1987 or a plan of management. An activity may be legally permitted but not allowed under a policy.
Asset protection zone means an area surrounding a residential or other significant building that is used to reduce bushfire hazard to an acceptable level. The width of an asset protection zone depends on the slope of the land and the building's construction type.
Car, motorcycle or bicycle rally means an organised group of more than 40 people driving cars or riding motorcycles or bicycles (or as otherwise defined in a plan of management).
Designated officer under clauses 10(7) and 8(6) of the NPW Regulation means one of the following:
- a National Parks officer
- a person who is authorised by the park authority to exercise the powers conferred by these clauses
- a police officer.
Designated parking area means an area set aside for the parking of vehicles, including boats, caravans and trailers.
Management trails are vehicle trails on lands reserved or acquired under the NPW Act and which are maintained by NPWS for the purpose of park management activities. If these trails are open to public vehicle use then they are roads under the roads legislation. Their status will therefore vary from park to park.
Ministerial roads are roads, vested with the Minister under Part 11 of the NPW Act, which traverse a park but are not reserved as part of the park. However, Ministerial roads are treated as part of the park under the NPW Regulation and this policy.
Oversnow vehicle means a vehicle specifically designed to be driven over snow and/or capable of driving over snow.
Park roads are roads reserved as part of a park that are open to the public, although they can be closed for park management reasons. They are maintained by NPWS.
Private landing of aircraft means landing of aircraft that are not NPWS aircraft, aircraft on contract to NPWS, or aircraft of a government agency engaged in authorised activities (such as search and rescue).
Plan of management means a plan of management in relation to land reserved under the NPW Act that is prepared under section 72 of the Act.
Public access system comprises park roads, public roads, Ministerial roads and other infrastructure designed for vehicles (such as designated parking areas, aircraft runways and boat ramps).
Public roads are not part of the park and are designated as public roads under the Roads Act 1993, or under other legislation for the purpose of the Roads Act.
Recreational vehicle area means land that is designated as a recreation vehicle area under section 11 of the Recreation Vehicles Act 1983.
Road is defined in the roads legislation and means an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles.
A road includes:
- the airspace above the surface of the road
- the soil beneath the surface of the road
- any bridge, tunnel, causeway, road-ferry, ford or other work or structure forming part of the road.
Roads may be public roads, park roads, Ministerial roads and, in some cases, management trails.
Roads authority is the authority responsible for managing public roads. In NSW, Transport for NSW is the roads authority for all freeways and most highways, the NSW Land and Property Information is the roads authority for all Crown roads, and local government is generally the roads authority for all other public roads. NPWS is not a roads authority.
Statement of interim management intent means a statement which may be prepared as an interim park management plan when a plan of management is yet to be developed.
Vehicle is defined in the NPW Act as:
- a boat or other object that, while floating on water or submerged, whether wholly or partly, under water, is wholly or partly used for the conveyance of persons or things
- an apparatus that, while propelled, or directed or controlled, in the air by human or mechanical power or by the wind, is wholly or partly used for the conveyance of persons or things
- a motor vehicle
- an apparatus propelled, or directed or controlled, upon land, snow or ice by human or animal power or by the wind
- a trailer or caravan, whether or not it is in the course of being towed.
A vehicle therefore includes:
- motor vehicles (including four-wheel drive vehicles)
- motorcycles (including trail bikes)
- oversnow vehicles
- blokarts (land sail vehicles).
References to vehicles in this policy use the definition from the NPW Act. However, where it is necessary to specify a certain type of vehicle, terms such as vessel and aircraft are used. The NPW Regulation also uses this method, with particular clauses applying to subsets of vehicles.
In some circumstances a surfboard, bodyboard or lilo may be considered to be a vessel.
A horse or camel is not a vehicle under the NPW Act and is not covered by this policy unless it is drawing an apparatus referred to in the definition above. (Some clauses of the NPW Regulation treat vehicles and horses similarly, but the Regulation does not include horses in the definition of a vehicle).
Vehicle infrastructure, for the purposes of this policy, includes designated parking areas, landing strips, boat ramps, and bridges, but excludes roads and trails.
This section outlines NPWS staff with significant responsibilities for ensuring implementation of the policy.
|20. Consent to close a road
|Transport for NSW or local council (as applicable)
|53. Consent for use of an oversnow vehicle in Kosciuszko National Park
|58. Consent to private landing of an aircraft within park