Australia’s national parks are “falling apart” and the federal government will more than double funding to help protect iconic places.
In the upcoming budget, due to be handed down in the second week of May, just over $262 million will be allocated to boost the upkeep of national parks across Australia.
The funding is expected to create 110 extra jobs to address feral animals and weed infestations, upgrade visitor facilities and fix broken signage and equipment.
The money will also be used to boost conservation and cultural heritage management as well as provide essential housing for rangers.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek described the state of many national parks, including some of the most iconic, as “falling apart”.
“We’ve got parts of our Commonwealth national parks that were closed to visitors because they weren’t safe to visit, we’ve had roofs coming off buildings,” she told ABC RN on Wednesday.
“Probably one of the most alarming things I heard was broken or missing crocodile warning signs. We need to better protect these parks.”
The funding will be put towards projects in Kakadu, Uluru, Booderee, Christmas Island, Pulu Keeling, Norfolk and the Australian Botanical Gardens.
Ms Plibersek said she was most excited about the additional jobs the funding would create.
“A lot of these jobs are in remote locations (and) national parks already have 30 per cent Indigenous staff,” she said.
“These are good, full-time, permanent jobs for traditional owners managing their own country.
“This is something that’s a huge investment for our future.”
Maeve Bannister and Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)