Posted March 02, 2019 12:00:00Australia’s biggest marine park will close down amid a $2.2 billion budget cut.
Key points:The Marine Park Authority says it plans to close the popular park in March 2019The Marine Parks Authority said it had to cut funding to ensure the park would remain open in 2020The Marine parks Authority says the proposed cuts would force it to close up to 20 percent of its facilities, which it says will result in a significant loss of jobsThe park has been a source of pride for the Northern Territory for decades, with visitors taking part in kayaking, diving and other activities.
The park is part of the Southern Coastal Region, which has the highest concentration of coral reefs on Earth.
But the park was closed earlier this year because of cuts to the Queensland Government’s Coastal Reef Conservation Scheme.
The authority says it’s made significant savings in its operations, which include removing invasive species from the coast and reducing its use of dredging.
The Authority says funding has been reduced from $1.5 billion to $1 billion and will close the park.
It says the closure of the park will see around 100 jobs lost, with the majority of those jobs in tourism and recreation.
It’s not the first time the park has faced budget cuts, with another $1 million cut to the park in February.
But it is the first to be made public after the announcement.
The Maritime and Northern Development Minister, Ian Macdonald, said the announcement had been made with no previous consultation.
“This is a very significant and difficult decision to take,” he said.
“I’m confident that we can make this work with the best interests of the people of the Northern Territories in mind.”
He said the decision would allow the Authority to focus on the needs of the community, while also saving money.
“The budget is just a snapshot and the Government will continue to make decisions with the most cost-effective approach to ensure our communities are best placed to thrive,” Mr Macdonald said.
Topics:government-and-politics,environment,environmental-policy,environment-management,environmentaustraliaFirst posted March 03, 2019 11:51:28More stories from Northern Territory