NSW Gov announce funding for national parks, Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

NPWS firefighter Andrew Pearce undertaking a hazard reduction burn.

THE 2022-23 NSW Budget is delivering a major boost to fire management in national parks through a $598 million investment, delivering 250 permanent jobs and critical infrastructure upgrades.

The NSW Government has also committed an additional $93.7 million to deliver the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to prepare for the impacts of climate change and capture new investment opportunities.

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Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the funding will maintain record levels of national park firefighters, and help communities develop stronger climate resilience.

“Climate change is happening now.

“Adaptation helps protect the things we value most from floods, drought and bushfires: it can save lives, livelihoods, homes and ecosystems,” Mr Kean said.

“This funding will help us translate cutting-edge science into real-world solutions to protect communities from the impacts of climate change.”

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), in collaboration with the Rural Fire Service (RFS), conducts about 75 percent of all hazard reduction burning in NSW.

“This significant investment of $598 million over 10 years for NPWS will secure 250 permanent jobs for firefighting and conservation roles, and deliver important infrastructure and fleet upgrades,” Mr Griffin said.

“This is a major part of our response to the Bushfire Inquiry, which resulted in a 20 percent increase in NPWS hazard reduction targets in high-risk areas.

“This will ensure NPWS can increase hazard reduction activity, strengthen remote area firefighting capability, and is supported to continue its critical work protecting communities and the environment from the threat of bushfires.”

The funding boost will deliver:

· 250 permanent jobs from July 2023, including 200 firefighters and 50 roles to meet new statutory requirements for protecting Assets of Intergenerational Significance (AIS) across the national parks estate

· $27.7 million over four years to upgrade the radio network

· $4.5 million over four years for safety upgrades to the NPWS fleet

The need for special measures to protect AIS habitats, such as the Wollemi Pine, was another outcome of the Bushfire Inquiry.

“With more than 200 Assets of Intergenerational Significance already declared, this dedicated funding will deliver fire management, feral animal control and other measures needed to protect the most important natural and cultural assets in our national parks estate,” Mr Griffin said.

The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy will invest in best-practice climate change risk and opportunity assessments and planning, as well as embed climate change adaptation across Government decision making.

For more information on the Strategy, visit https://www.climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/nsw-climate-change-adaptation-strategy.

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