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Popular National Park without a full time Ranger, thanks to budget cuts
THE Hodgman-Gutwein Government’s agenda to cut services and jobs will leave a northern National Park without a full time Ranger presence. Come July the current Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger at Mt William National Park won’t be replaced. Close to the Bay of Fires, it’s a remote but popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Mt William is an important haven for the vulnerable Forester Kangaroo.
“Our national parks are underfunded and understaffed,” A CPSU spokesperson said. “If you look past the headlines of last week’s budget, the government is continuing to make cuts to our Parks.
“Mt William is a popular holiday destination and it doesn’t make sense to leave it without a full time Ranger. Tasmanians can expect to see more services like this falling between the cracks.”
Not replacing the Ranger will have the following implications at Mt William:
This job loss and subsequent reduction in service will see an escalation of poaching of kangaroos, crayfish and mutton birds. The current ranger is also a Marine and Safety Tasmania and fisheries officer, who’s able to carry out ad-hoc inspections. Vandals will no doubt become more active at Mt William as a result of this job loss.
Requests to respond and investigate to wildlife rescue incidents is the responsibility of the current ranger, which includes sick and injured animals such as orphaned seals, dolphins, eagles, devils and wombats. The ranger also reports the death of dead whales to the relevant branch to follow up on.
The current Ranger helps with emergency response to wildfire, and is often the first to respond to these fires, as well as assisting with and motor vehicle accidents. Without a full time Ranger to initially respond, wildfires could escalate in severity and intensity before any initial fire report was reported.
The Ranger regularly gives advice to the community on land management, including weed and fire management. Without a remote area ranger here the communities won’t have someone onsite to seek advice on what agency approach on land management issues.
No Ranger presence means park entry fees won’t be paid to support the maintenance program. Camper behaviour will also deteriorate without a Ranger. The aged pit toilets could pose a public health hazard without regular cleaning, which is required during peak season. This would create a negative image for Tasmania at a time when tourist numbers are increasing. Recently, all pay boxes in the park have been regularly vandalised, which will no doubt escalate without a full time Ranger.
The current Ranger informs locals and visitors of wildlife and their habitat issues, which enriches their appreciation of the natural environment and their tourist experience, while at the same time protects wildlife. During the peak tourism season, Mt William visitors often seek information and advice about camping, and the rules and regulations of the park. Without a full time Ranger, visitors will have no one to ask these questions.
“Our government remains committed to its program of savage cuts to Parks,” a CPSU spokesperson said. “The CPSU calls on the government to put the back the $12.5 million the government cut from our Parks service last budget.”