The building of infrastructure and structures in protected areas (national parks, conservation parks and resource reserves) must be managed according to the requirements of sections 15 and 34(2) of the Nature Conservation Act 1992. All development in a protected area must be consistent with the management principles of that protected area. If a management statement or management plan is in effect for a protected area, the statement or plan has to be considered as well.
Depending on the type of protected area and proposed works, infrastructure and structures may be authorised under sections 34, 35 35A, 37 or 38 of the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Examples of use
Infrastructure and structures that may be allowed in protected areas include:
- Scientific or educational facilities
- Service facilities, which are essential public infrastructure such as electricity transmission lines, telecommunication towers, marine navigational aids and water or gas pipelines; and
- Ecotourism facilities.
What uses may be allowed depends on the specific type of protected area over which the use is proposed..
Development in national parks is generally limited only to uses that are consistent with the cardinal management principle of national parks (that being the permanent preservation of natural condition and protection of cultural resources and values of the area). However, service and ecotourism facilities may be allowed where:
- the cardinal principle for the management of national parks will be observed as far as possible
- the use will be in the public interest
- the use will be ecologically sustainable; and
- (if the use is a service facility) there is no reasonably practical alternative to the use.