How much will National Park hunting cost our tourism industry?

Greens MP and tourism spokesperson, Jan Barham, has questioned whether the NSW Government has conducted a cost benefit analysis of the impact of hunting in National Parks on the tourism industry.

“I’m aware of concerns within the tourism industry about this ill-conceived scheme. The NSW Government must consider the economic impact of lost tourism income across the state before it proceeds with allowing hunters into parks and reserves,” Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham noted that nature tourism is a key part of the state’s tourism industry. “NSW parks had an estimated 38 million visitors in 2010, bringing in millions of dollars directly to the Government for park access, along with the income for tourism operators and local businesses.”

“If hunting is introduced then a proportion of that income will be lost. Some visitors will be unable to access parks while hunting is scheduled, and it’s likely that many others will stay away due to safety concerns.”

“The Government needs to justify the likely economic impacts of hunting on the small businesses who rely on tourism. They also need to indicate whether they have considered compensating tourism operators whose business is affected by the hunting program,” Ms Barham said.

“Tourism already accounts for 4.5% of the state’s employment and contributes billions of dollars each year to the state’s economy, and the Government has set itself a target of doubling visitor expenditure by 2020. Our state’s natural areas are one of the key attractors for tourism, and the Government’s own Industry Action Plan aims to increase tourism in National Parks.”

Ms Barham raised concerns that the hunting scheme was rushed through as a political solution without appropriate analysis. “We already know that the Government hasn’t thought through all of the safety risks, leading to the delay of the hunting program’s introduction. I suspect we might find that the sums don’t add up for regional tourism as well.”

Question without notice, Legislative Council Hansard 21 February 2013 – Hunting in National Parks

Local solutions and contacts crucial in tackling homelessness

Jan Barham, Greens MP and Housing spokesperson, welcomes the focus on addressing homelessness but emphasises the vital role of local services, including local government, in delivering innovative and effective solutions.

Her comments follow the release of the NSW Government’s Going Home Staying Home Reform Plan. “It’s positive to see that the Government has taken on board comments from the homelessness sector about the need to focus on delivering services that meet the needs of different individuals and regions,” Ms Barham said.

“Encouraging regional planning and identifying local innovations that might be transferred to other areas are a good starting point, but to carry this through the role of local government needs to be recognised. Councils across the state are making concerted and innovative efforts to address homelessness in their local government areas, and supporting these services is crucial.”

Ms Barham noted that immediate, local access to information and support was essential to helping people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“A state-wide phone service and a ‘no wrong door’ policy are good starting points, but the key is ensuring that people can find the local support they need, as soon as they need it. As one example, a local service centre was established in Byron Bay to be a ‘one stop shop’ where people can talk to someone and access the range of services they might require, from both government and non-government providers. It also gives them a place where they can have some basic needs met like showers and washing machines, meals and somewhere safe to leave their belongings.

“In implementing this plan, I hope the NSW Government and their homelessness advisory bodies will recognise the importance of supporting local government in the service framework.”

Jan Barham’s Motion on Homelessness, 18 October 2012