Sunday, 5 November 2017

Park Watch group forms as a fight back against the Berejiklian Coalition Government's ongoing cutbacks to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Park Watch, Media Release, 1 November 2017:

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service staff in restructure meltdown due to executive and ministerial incompetence according to Park Watch

A new group known as Park Watch comprised of concerned, former National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) officers, scientists, botanists, researchers and former high ranking government officials have received information from serving NPWS officers of a pending mass no confidence vote in the NPWS executive due to incompetence, bullying, the direct appointing of favourites, loss of positions for those who speak-out and, continual lack of consultation.

Park Watch spokesperson on National Park Operations, Mr Ross McKinney has stated that “Under the Berejiklian Government the 10 years of relentless NPWS ‘decimation-by-restructure’ has caused the highest rates of employee stress that has now reached a point where sources within the NPWS are concerned that some staff may be at serious risk of harm.

“I have recently seen a letter of desperation written by a staff member to an NPWS executive Director which paints a disturbing picture of what is happening to staff in this once, world renown organisation. Unfortunately, based on the present NPWS executive’s record, the letter may prove to be career ending for this courageous officer but it clearly demonstrates the anger and sheer desperation of the remaining staff in NPWS”, Mr McKinney said.

“Other sources from within the NPWS have also mentioned a groundswell of Branch based staff who want to send a formal no-confidence message to the government over the existing NPWS executive’s inability to consult, continual movement of the restructure goalposts, lack of leadership and direction, unmanageable workloads, bullying, the direct appointment of favourites to positions that clearly should have been advertised and the loss of positions held by those who have spoken out against the restructure, not to mention the massive funding cuts and decade long restructure time frame”, he said.

Mr McKinney went on to say, “Based on the numerous pleas for help from NPWS staff and information they have provided to Park Watch, it is obvious the  Berejiklian Coalition Government is hell-bent on dismantling the NPWS by setting it up to fail completely, well before the 2019 March election. The NPWS failure as a conservation land management agency then allows the government to introduce a ‘common-tenue’ approach to the state’s remaining forested areas as proposed by Timber NSW, which essentially opens the State’s protected areas to destructive logging operations.

Park Watch - Who are we?

Park Watch is a group of people concerned with the sound management of protected areas so that the diversity and beauty of our natural wild places and landscapes is maintained for all to enjoy - now and by future generations.

The group came together when former staff of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service started to hear about the NSW Coalition government's proposed cut- back in NPWS staff.  Despite the NSW Government hosting an international World Parks Congress in 2014, that made a “Promise of Sydney”, to not regress on looking after our national parks and natural reserves, we are seeing an attack on the national parks workforce underway now. 

Park Watch believes it is important to alert the public to the consequences of the cut backs to visitor services, control of weeds and introduced animals, loss of species, wildfires, degraded walking tracks and vandalising of our natural areas.


1 November 2017

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