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$30 million Budget boost for South Australia’s national parks

PIC – Over the Edge, Melrose
Greater SA

Government spend – a win for wildlife, biodiversity and visitors to South Australia’s national parks

South Australia’s increasingly popular national parks will receive a $30 million funding boost in the 2024-25 State Budget to remain a vital haven for wildlife and biodiversity and improve visitor experiences.

The boost means new trails and other infrastructure can proceed at recently opened national parks such as Nilpena Ediacara and Glenthorne, and the yet to be opened Worlds End Gorge.

It will also ensure that internationally recognised sites like Cleland Wildlife Park and Naracoorte Caves can continue offering world class visitor experiences.

An extra $10 million will go towards continued funding for 20 park rangers, who play a lead role in managing landscapes and protecting important ecosystems.

The newly announced State Budget also includes an extra $20 million over the next four years for improved services across SA’s network of more than 350 national parks and reserves, which provide environmental, social and economic prosperity for the state.

In the Mount Lofty Ranges, one million dollars will be spent to bring heathland and grassy woodland birds back following years of habitat loss and changes in the landscape.

Other projects include:

  • New guided tours of world-renowned fossil fields at Nilpena Ediacara NP
  • Enhanced visitor experiences at Kelly Hill Caves, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse and Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island.
  • Management of the Epic Mountain Bike Trail in Mount Remarkable NP
  • Improved bushwalking experiences on the Wild South Coast Way section ofthe Heysen Trail and Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail.
  • Extra staff for visitor facilities on Granite Island, Glenthorne and Nilpena Ediacara and the Southern Flinders Ranges including Mambray Creek, Worlds End Gorge.

About eight out of 10 South Australians visit a national park at least once a year. Total visitations, including tourists, contribute at least $374 million to the state’s economy each year and support more than 1200 private sector jobs.

Last year, more than 96,000 people travelled to the state’s South East to experience the incredible Naracoorte Caves. The nearby Tantanoola Caves received an 8.5 per cent increase in attendees, up to about 35,000.

Naracoorte Caves, Limestone Coast. PIC Mike Haines

Attendance to Cleland Wildlife Park in 2023 climbed 34 per cent on the previous year, with almost 130,000 people visitors.

The Budget also provides $6.5 million a year ensuring vulnerable biodiversity is protected when making planning decisions, rising to $7.9 million a year by 2027-28.

This will fund investments in conservation science, data collection and mapping capability to support decisions for the transition to renewable energy, fire and emergency management, economic development and conservation investment.

Projects include developing a contemporary and accurate threatened species listing, aligned with national agreements and standards and creating the state’s first Biodiversity Act.

Susan Close, Minister for Climate, Environment and Water said “many of our national parks are in remote areas and the cost of caring for this land is rising. This investment will ensure parks and reserves are maintained and staffed appropriately so that people have memorable experiences in them.”


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