Public response to Freycinet management plan highlights issues

The Parks and Wildlife Service director’s report on the proposed changes to the Freycinet National Park management plan highlighted community concerns. 

The amendments to the Freycinet National Park, Wye River State Reserve Management Plan were proposed following the state government’s expressions of interest process into developments in national parks and reserves, when RACT submitted a proposal to expand their operation in the park. 

The draft management plan was open for public comment from December 2016 to February 2017 and received over 450 submissions, of which only six were in favour of the changes and three in favour with additional conditions. 

Following fierce public backlash RACT withdrew it’s proposal in June for developments outside their existing leased area. 

Reflecting this, the director’s report recommended the removal of an addition to the management plan allowing for developments beyond existing leased areas. 

The public raised a number of concerns during public submissions, many of which were beyond the scope of the proposed changes. Many of these concerns focussed on ongoing management, infrastructure and environmental issues.

Many respondents called for a full review of the management plan, which was created in 2000 and is six years past its prescribed review date. 

The director said in the report a review of the entire plan is not currently proposed.

The key issues raised by respondents during public submissions were:

  • Opposition to the proposed alteration of the plan. The majority of comments submitted were against expanding the area where developments could proceed beyond existing leased areas. 
  • That a full review into the plan is needed. Last reviewed in 2000, many highlighted the need for an entire plan review
  • Concern the planning process is flawed, with inadequate public consultation. Also, that there us a lack of assessment of potential impacts of developments. 
  • That developments could potentially degrade the environmental, social and cultural values of the park.
  • Existing infrastructure is in need of replacement and inadequate and further development would exacerbate these problems. Of particular note were sewage infrastructure and lack of water storage. 
  • Potential developments would negatively impact the experience of visitors to the park.

The government was contacted for comment about a review of the plan.