Government defends parks funding

Government defends parks funding

26 March 2008

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Australia — The Tasmanian Government is defending its resourcing of the Parks and Wildlife Service following the bushfire in the Tarkine wilderness.

The Tarkine National Coalition says the fire and discovery of an illegal track in the north-west reserve are evidence that the service can not cope.

The group says the Parks and Wildlife service is ‘woefully underfunded’ and can not manage visitors.

In a statement, the Parks Minister, Michelle O’Byrne, says reserves make up more than a third of Tasmania, and have more than a million visitors a year.

She says Parks and Wildlife has 286 staff in 26 locations, but it is impossible to protect all areas like dunes and Aboriginal sites around the clock.

Ms O’Byrne says two new rangers are being appointed in the Tarkine area, and some tracks may be closed once a review has been completed.

Meanwhile, an embargo on fire permits in the south and north-west has been lifted overnight, meaning people can apply to burn-off vegetation and reduce the bushfire hazard.

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