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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Culture and Recreation >> National parks

National parks and other protected areas are areas of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection of biodiversity and other natural and cultural resources. They are established under Commonwealth or State/Territory laws or other legal means. All governments participate in the development of a comprehensive, adequate and representative national reserve system as part of Australia's obligation under the United Nations Biodiversity Convention established in 1993. Most national parks and other protected areas in Australia are declared and managed by State and Territory Governments, although Indigenous Protected Areas and protected areas managed by conservation or other groups have commenced recently, building on support from the Commonwealth's National Reserve System Program. The Commonwealth Government declares and manages parks and reserves on land owned or leased by the Commonwealth, in Commonwealth waters and on Aboriginal land leased to the Commonwealth.

Although there are nearly 50 different designations in Australia for protection, all protected areas are classified into one or more of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) six Protected Area Management Categories, the most common being 'national park' and 'nature reserve'. The type of management ranges from: strictly protected areas managed mainly for science with very limited public access; to areas where recreation is encouraged, but where resource development inimical to the purpose of conservation of the environment is not; to multiple use areas where ecologically sustainable resource utilisation, recreation and nature conservation can coexist.


Use of national parks

Table 12.2 gives the numbers and profile of people visiting national parks in Australia. These findings are derived from an ABS household survey, conducted over a 12 month period in 1996-97. In the three month period preceding conduct of the survey a total of 3.3 million people (25.3% of the Australian population aged 18 and over) went to a national park. Of these, 1.7 million were males and 1.6 million were females.


12.2 VISITORS TO NATIONAL PARKS - 1996-97

Visitors
’000

Sex -
- Male
1,725
- Female
1,613
- Total
3,339
Age -
- 18 to 24 years
520
- 25 to 34 years
846
- 35 to 44 years
920
- 45 to 54 years
536
- 55 to 64 years
281
- 65 years and over
235
Birthplace -
- Australian-born
2,528
- Overseas-born
810

Source: Population Survey Monitor, 1996-97.


National park organisations

The ABS Survey of Zoos, Parks and Gardens in respect of 1996-97 showed that there were 684 organisations operating national parks, and recreational parks and gardens at the end of June 1997. These organisations operated 462 individual national parks, 52,164 separate recreational parks and gardens, 270 wildlife sanctuaries, 42 tourist caves and 24 marine parks (table 12.3).


12.3 NATIONAL PARKS AND RECREATIONAL PARKS AND GARDENS, Key Aggregates - 1996-97

Unit

Organisations at end June 1997
no.
684
Locations at end June 1997 -
- National parks
no.
462
- Recreational parks and gardens
no.
52,164
- Wildlife sanctuaries
no.
270
- Tourist caves
no.
42
- Marine parks
no.
24
- Total locations
no.
52,963
Area at end June 1997 -
- National parks
ha.
25,964,351
- Recreational parks and gardens
ha.
3,386,354
- Wildlife sanctuaries
ha.
81,970
- Tourist caves
ha.
8,454
- Marine parks
ha.
42,605,725
- Total area
ha.
72,046,854
Employment at end June 1997 -
- Full-time
no.
15,035
- Part-time
no.
1,611
- Total employment
no.
16,646
- Volunteers during June 1997
no.
10,679
Income
$m
1,347
Expenses
$m
1,120
Industry gross product
$m
543

Source: Zoos, Parks and Gardens Industry, Australia (8699.0).


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