No progress in Araluen development

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said replacing the DEC with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Department of Environment Regulation meant the agencies’ responsibilities and aims would be more transparent.

The former will manage WA’s 27 million hectares of parks and reserves and the latter will license industrial premises.

After taking over management in 2010, the DEC contracted Araluen’s day-to-day operations out to the not-for-profit Araluen Botanic Park Foundation, and put a concept plan for capital works out to tender in February 2011.

Project officer Joanna Moore wrote in the DEC’s Landscope magazine the plan would include exploring options to redevelop the park’s entrance and would be ‘an opportunity to create something new, inviting and dynamic.’

August will mark two years since the DEC finalised the plan, but works have not begun.

Mr Jacob’s spokeswoman said the new Department of Parks and Wildlife was renewing the management contract with the Foundation, but capital works funding was ‘still to be determined.’

Mr Jacob said the new department would give new focus to managing, promoting and conserving WA’s natural assets, and prioritise installing and upgrading visitor facilities at parks throughout the South-West and Mid-West.

It will also implement the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, including a new marine park extending to the Northern Territory border and a national park over most of the Mitchell Plateau.