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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
    The Honourable Steve Dickson

    Queensland builds ecotourism while cutting red tape

    Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
    The Honourable Steve Dickson

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Queensland builds ecotourism while cutting red tape

    Queensland parliament tonight passed amendments to increase access and enable innovative investment in the state’s National Parks, to help build the state’s four pillar economy and get Queensland back on track.

    National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said the Newman Government was continuing to deliver upon its election commitments to grow ecotourism and cut red tape through amendments to the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Forestry Act 1959 and the Brisbane Forest Park Act 1977.

    “These promised changes will deliver on our DestinationQ commitments, enabling Queensland’s struggling ecotourism industry to become a major contributor to the state’s economy,” Mr Dickson said.

    “We’re providing opportunity and certainty for industry operators by opening up national parks for recreational and environmentally-friendly facilities designed to enhance the surrounding environment.

    “After listening to industry concerns regarding security of tenure, leases of up to 30 years will be available for operators, with the option of renewals for a further 30 years subject to meeting strict performance criteria.

    “Any proposal for ecotourism facilities in National Parks will be required to comply with all existing local, State and Federal regulations, including the need for Environmental Impact Statements where appropriate, in addition to strict environmental provisions as outlined in the Bill.

    “These vital changes will act as a catalyst for strengthening a world-class eco-tourism industry in Queensland, establishing appropriate, environmentally-friendly facilities, built with natural integration as the most important feature.”

    Mr Dickson said the Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 would also simplify the permit system for pre-existing infrastructure on national park estate land, such as powerlines, water pipelines and telecommunications towers.

    “Streamlining the current approvals process will save time and money for both government and industry operators, and will reduce application processing time by 16 weeks,” he said.

    Additionally, the amendments will reduce the masses of red tape surrounding permits for occupation of State forests under the Forestry Act.

    Under current provisions, operators of CSG well sites, gas and water pipelines are required to obtain separate occupation permits for every 10 hectares of land, and have them renewed every seven years.

    “These burdensome restrictions on both business and government will be removed. However, the change will not alter any company’s obligations to address the rights of other users and will not affect current revenue,” Mr Dickson said.

    Danielle Duell, CEO of Spicers Group which currently operates six tourism businesses in Queensland, said the amendments were a much-needed change for Queensland’s ecotourism industry.

    “Spicers Group welcomes these amendments which will allow significant ecotourism investment in National Parks.

    “We have recently acquired a seventh Queensland site and have had initial discussions with government regarding an eco-camp site in the Main Range National Park.

    “These amendments will go a long way to getting this proposal off the ground and enable Spicers to enhance the visitor experience to the Main Range National Park.

    “We believe that by visiting these unique places people gain an appreciation of the environment,” she said.

    [Ends] 18 April 2013

    Media Contact: Anna Hilton 0408 191 192