Park Access Worry

Tuesday April 14, 2020

Published by The Border Watch 

MP questions decision to keep popular tourist site open

MEMBER for Mount Gambier Troy Bell has questioned whether Senior State Government ministers had provided conflicting information about promoting national parks during the Easter weekend.

During last week’s sitting of parliament, the independent MP quizzed Environment Minister David  Speirswhether his promotion of national parks over the long weekend was in conflict with the State Government’s position of staying at home during Easter.

While Premier Steven Marshall urges South Australians to stay at home, Mr Speirs said the break was “an ideal time to enjoy the great outdoors”.

Mr Bell said he had received correspondence from a Ewens Ponds resident who was “concerned these ponds are open” over the long weekend and “believes people from Warrnambool and Clare are planning to come down to snorkel”.

In response, Mr Speirs told the chamber the decision to leave national parks, conservation and recreation parks and the state’s reserve system open was based on advice from South Australia’s Chief Medical Office Dr Nicola Spurrier.

He said it was the government’s belief connection with nature and fresh air was particularly important for people’s well-being.

“We feel confident that South Australians will do the right thing, they will connect with nature in a responsible way, they will practise social distancing and that, by enabling our parks to remain open, we will be able to enhance the overall wellbeing of South Australians rather than diminish it,” Mr Speirs said.

“One of the things we have made very clear when we have been communicating that our national parks remain open is to please go to a national park that is close to home.”

Mr Speirs said the State Government dissuaded “non-essential travelling extensively across the state”.

“ Our message about national park visitation is very clear: visit a local park,” he said.

“We have been saying publicly that local is a comfortable walk from home, around a 10-minute drive or a comfortable half-hour bike ride.”