Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:46): I rise to support the original motion by the member for Bragg in support of Cleland National Park, and national parks in general in South Australia, by noting:
That this house—
(a) acknowledges that 25 November 2023 is the two-year anniversary of Cleland National Park becoming a national park;
(b) recognises the environmental, cultural and social value of South Australia's national parks; and
(c) commends the Marshall Liberal government for its record expansion of national parks in South Australia underpinned by record investment.
When we came to government in 2018 there were approximately 3.9 million hectares under control in national parks. Over the following four years there was a record expansion, and this added approximately 4 million hectares, which essentially doubled the national parks in this state, so it was around 7.9 million hectares. This meant that when we left government approximately 21 per cent of South Australia's land area was covered by national parks and other conservation arrangements.
Cleland National Park, being located just on the edge of Adelaide, is an ideal place to take visitors or to go as a local to visit. I have been privileged to go there several times with guests, and they have a great time checking out the wildlife, the flora, and the fauna of Cleland. The beauty of it is that because it is so close to a major population base, being Adelaide, it is so accessible.
I do not get too excited about climbing Mount Lofty—I will leave that up to others—but I am sure it is exciting. It is good that this is so close to those in the city who might not have the opportunities that those of us who live further out have, in getting a bit more fresh air, especially when we do not have to be here. It is great for people from all walks of life as it is quite accessible. You can get up there—you do not have to climb Mount Lofty—to enjoy it. That is the total beauty of it: getting up close to kangaroos in a park setting. We see plenty of them in nature out on our farms, but it is a real privilege to take people there to enjoy the facilities of the park.
Some of the parks that were created as part of the expansion, apart from Cleland, were Glenthorne National Park and Munga-Thirri—Simpson Desert National Park, which is Australia's largest national park at 3.6 million hectares, and there are obviously others alongside of that. As part of this investment, there have been new trails put in, new car parks and new visitor facilities, which has demonstrated our commitment to preserving these areas.
Cleland was proclaimed in 2021 and comprises over 1,000 hectares. As I said, it is a fantastic national park. Glenthorne is 545 hectares and then we have Munga-Thirri—Simpson Desert National Park, which was proclaimed in November 2021. It has the world's largest system of parallel dunes and has extensive spinifex grasslands and acacia woodlands.
Something I want to do one day is cross the Simpson and have a look at some of those parallel dunes. I have had the opportunity to be up at Birdsville and out at Big Red on that end of that park. It certainly tests the abilities of the Toyota Prado, but it can get up on Big Red from either side—I have proved that—and without letting the tyres down.
Most people travel towards Birdsville from the north northwest, which is the way to come, and I am really looking forward to doing that trip one day. It is not recommended to do it with a camper trailer, but people do it and I have seen some different combinations go through the couple of times I have been up there. You see cars come in with their windscreens missing and they have had a bit of fun. It will be a great drive to do one day and come across those dunes.
Ngarkat national park, which is right near where I am at Coomandook, is 271,000 hectares and was first proclaimed in 1979. I farmed next to Ngarkat down at Tintinara for five years. It is always interesting when you are farming next to a national park the amount of wildlife, kangaroos and emus that come in and test your cropping ability.
I have mentioned in this place before the frustration that farmers have farming next to national parks. It does not seem to matter which colour of government it is, the legislation says the government may assist with the cost of fencing. Well, every neighbour I have worked with, you go halves in one way, shape or form on fencing. I think that is something that needs to be addressed, because the only way to fence successfully against a park like that is to have two-metre high fencing to keep the native animals on the right side and keep your animals on the good side.
Ngarkat as a mallee park, preserving that biodiversity, has been a great place that we have enjoyed for decades, getting out there with friends and camping on long weekends. It runs from up near Lameroo down towards Keith. I have had quite a few trips in there to Baan Hill and other places such as Box Flat. Box Flat has some great memories of how much fun you can have there.
When I was leasing a property called Emu Springs at Tintinara I did what you should not normally do in a park. You are supposed to go the way the wind blows with the sand dunes. I had this old three-speed Toyota and I went the other way to get to Box Flat. I went north instead of south. We got there alright but we must have been within probably less than a kilometre or two and the front axle let go. That was not very helpful because I had a heavily pregnant wife at the time who was with me, but I had plenty of supplies, if we got caught. I told my friends, 'Look, we are running a bit late. Come and get us.' That did not happen, but I had suddenly realised we were not far from where we needed to be. But we have had some great fun.
They are great places to enjoy and to enjoy the solitude of those parks that are further out. They are great for groups, great if you are on your own, and great for the family to get out and get away from it all and do a bit of camping. Certainly, in light of the closer parks, they are very close for people to visit.
Just on Ngarkat, as we come into the fire season, it can be a bit of a magnet for lightning strikes—it seems that way—and at times there have been fires of about 80,000 hectares. You see great burn scars on some of the old mapping and how much land has burnt at times, so it is something to be aware of with these parks. They are having a goat cull there, I think, from tomorrow for a few days. But it is a magnificent spot. As a firefighter, the best way to fight a park fire like that is to sit on the edge and wait for it to come to you.
I commend the motion and I commend the way we have assisted the preservation of flora and fauna in this state.