More than 270,000 hectares have been added to the NSW national park estate, smashing the State’s target to increase the footprint by 200,000 hectares by 2021.
The Minister for the Environment, Matt Kean said 202,669 hectares were formally reserved last week (30 October), which was the largest increase to national parks in a single day since 2005.
“Permanently reserving national parks is the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation in NSW,” Mr Kean said.
“I made a commitment last year to expand the parks estate by 200,000 hectares and I am pleased to see that we have achieved that and more in just over a year,” he said.
“That’s why we are taking it up a notch and doubling our initial target, with a revised goal to have added 400,000 hectares in total to our national park footprint by the end of 2022.”
Mr Kean said some of the national park estate additions were reclaimed Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) in the State’s far-north west, which were already managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
He said some of the new additions included Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park, 153,682 hectares; Capertee National Park addition, 1,057 hectares; Maria National Park addition, 66 hectares; Mungo National Park addition (TSR), 7,074 hectares; and Sturt National Park addition (TSR), 17,479 hectares.
“The additions to Capertee National Park near Lithgow will increase protection for the Great Eastern Ranges wildlife corridor and a globally significant bird breeding area, including habitat for the critically endangered regent honeyeater,” he said.
“While the additions to Maria National Park will protect critical koala habitat on the State’s mid-north coast,” Mr Kean said.