South Australia to get Australia’s largest national park
The new national park will be 3.6 million hectares in size, large enough to contain 1.75 million Adelaide Ovals. It is also over a million hectares larger than the next largest national park – Kakadu.
It is the largest national park expansion in state history, supported by the largest government investment in parks ever.
The national park will be built by changing the legal status of the Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert Regional Reserve and Conservation Park, which will enhance the park’s conservation and biodiversity values. There will also be additional protections at the environmentally significant Kallakoopah Creek.
In recognition of their importance to tourism as international destinations, three existing conservation parks – Cleland, Deep Creek and Seal Bay – will also be upgraded to become national parks.
Additionally, the Frome Lake Regional Reserve in the Northern Flinders Ranges will be transformed into a national park in recognition of its importance as a large salt lake, which will give it the same status as other large salt lakes such as Kati Thanda- Lake Eyre, Lake Torrens and Lake Gairdner.
Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said the changes had increased the area of national parks by 200% from 3.90 million hectares to 7.86 million hectares since their came to government.
“The Liberal Marshall Government is committed to protecting our natural environment, which is why we have proposed these changes to increase the number of national parks in South Australia from 22 to 28,” said Minister Speirs.
“This significant addition of land converted to national parks since 2018 includes Glenthorne -Ityamaiitpinna Yarta National Park, which has preserved and revitalized a significant portion of open spaces, transforming it into a thriving environmental and recreational area for future generations.
“National parks are areas of national importance because of their environmental values and they also play a key role in supporting our tourism sector.
“It is truly exciting that South Australia will soon be home to Australia’s largest national park and these proposed changes will better conserve our natural environment and enhance our reputation as a world-class eco-tourism destination.
“We have a very strong tradition of parks and reserves in South Australia, which dates back to 1891 when Belair National Park was established as Australia’s second national park and more recently last year when Glenthorne became Adelaide’s newest metropolitan national park.
“These protected areas conserve vitally important ecosystems, habitats, plants and animals, unique land formations and places of cultural significance. National parks are essential spaces for enjoying nature in all its forms and offer South Australians a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits.
“This is why the Liberal Marshall government is investing more than $ 130 million to improve our parks – the highest amount in state history.
As part of the changes, a section of Witjira National Park in the state’s far north will have its terms changed to forever exclude mining from the Dalhousie Springs National Heritage Area.
“We will also grant additional protection to 50,000 hectares of one of our conservation gems, recognizing the incredibly rich indigenous cultural value of the region,” said Minister Speirs.
“This heritage area contains very unique and fragile ecosystems and endangered species, so this is an important additional protection that we have provided to ensure that we can help protect and conserve this area.
The state government is currently consulting with Indigenous title holders and other stakeholders before submitting these proposals to Parliament in the coming months.
To find out more, visit www.parks.sa.gov.au