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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Hon Dorothy Kotz MP
SA Minister for Environment & Heritage
21 December 1999
A spectacular new addition to South Australia's national parks system was jointly announced today by Federal and State Environment Ministers, Senator Robert Hill and Dorothy Kotz.
The Gawler Ranges National Park, 350 kilometres north west of Adelaide, has been created through the $1 million purchase of Paney Station in the southern Gawler Ranges, under the joint Commonwealth and State initiative, the National Reserve System Program. The National Parks Foundation of South Australia has also contributed $50,000 towards the project.
Senator Hill said the 120,000 hectare reserve, the first new SA National Park in eight years, will join the Flinders and Gammon Ranges as international conservation drawcards.
"South Australia is home to one of the worlds most outstanding suites of arid national parks. The Gawler Ranges National Park will ensure the conservation of rare blue bush and saltbush communities. It's home to at least 21 rare and threatened species including the yellow-footed rock-wallaby, southern hairy-nosed wombat, central long-eared bat, sandhill dunnart, malleefowl, pink cockatoo, crimson mallee, honey myrtle, mallee box and woolly spinifex.
"The park also contains some of the oldest pastoral heritage sites in South Australia, particularly Old Paney Station, the site of the first Police Camp in the area, which was established in 1864.
"It is a dramatic landscape of red volcanic hills, covered with yellow spinifex contrasting with grey tones of blue bush and saltbush, in broad sweeping valleys dissected by tree-lined watercourses. It is an exciting place to visit, with plenty of opportunities for camping and walking."
Minister Kotz said that the State Government will be doing everything it can to encourage the eco-tourism aspect of the new Park.
"The Park already sustains 2,000 visitors per year. By declaring the area a National Park, we hope to work with the local community to provide better facilities for those visitors, and to better protect the unique natural environment of the Gawler Ranges.
"This is an ecosystem that has never been protected by the Parks system before. We are hopeful that through careful ecological management, the Gawler Ranges National Park may come to rival the Flinders Ranges National Park as an example of South Australia's outback landscape.
"We will be investing around $600,000 in the park over the next three years to develop visitor facilities, such as camping grounds, roads and walking trails. National Parks and Wildlife SA will also be employing two new staff to manage the Park, in cooperation with a Management Advisory Committee, comprising local representatives.
"I am delighted about this wonderful addition to South Australia's Parks system. This is yet another example of this government putting its money where its mouth is, in protecting our environment.
"I congratulate everybody involved with the creation of today's Park, and pay special credit to the work of the National Parks Foundation," says Minister Kotz.
Kate McShane, 8303 2952 or 0417 864 127
Senator Hill, Rod Bruem, 8237 7920 OR 0419 258 364