The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is disappointed that the State Government is acting to remove the ability of the state to grant 99 year leases in Victoria’s national parks, saying it will discourage much needed tourism investment.
“Reducing the maximum lease period in national parks from 99 to 21 years will discourage appropriate investment by the tourism industry and limit the development of the significant projects that Victoria needs to broaden access to our wonderful park experiences,” said VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith.
Ms Smith’s comments come as the National Parks Amendment (No 99 Year Leases) Bill 2015, limiting leases in national parks to a maximum of 21 years, is tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, the Hon Lisa Neville MP.
“Nature-based products enable Victoria to better showcase our diverse natural and cultural beauty and are vital for our state’s visitors. Many competitor destinations such as Canada, New Zealand and Tasmania have been successful in achieving development that is sensitive to the local environment in partnership with the private sector, with strict controls on use and impact to foster sustainable tourism growth,” said Ms Smith.
“However, reducing maximum lease terms to anything less than 50 years will stifle development as industry will walk away from investing in Victoria.
“We call on the Parliament of Victoria to ensure this amendment is not passed, encouraging business to continue partnering to support our state’s outstanding nature-based tourism opportunities.
“VTIC will continue to work with industry and government to boost tourism investment in Victoria.”