Abbott's view on parks horrifies Greens

Wollongong Greens councillor Jill Merrin has accused the Prime Minister of being populist and disingenuous by telling forestry workers he did not support the creation of more national parks.

In a speech lauding loggers as "the ultimate conservationists" at an industry dinner on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott said the Coalition did not support "further lockouts of our forests".

"We have quite enough National Parks, we have quite enough locked up forests already," he said.

"In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest."

While Cr Merrin said it was "pretty horrifying" to hear Mr Abbott's comments, she doubted his views would affect national parks in the Illawarra region.

She said the NSW Coalition government - as well as Wollongong's Liberal councillors - had voiced strong support for listing the Royal National Park as a World Heritage site.

She also noted Barry O'Farrell had declared Dharawal National Park soon after he was elected.

"Mr Abbott obviously doesn't speak for all of his party and was being quite populist and trying to curry favour because he was speaking in front of a forestry audience," Cr Merrin said.

"He knows very well that the federal government doesn't dedicate or manage national parks or state forests - that's done at state government level - so I don't think it will have an effect."

Cr George Takacs echoed his colleague's sentiments, saying "Tony Abbott tends to say what he wants people to hear and then backtrack later".

However, Cr Takacs also said he would be concerned if the Prime Minister's views were to affect the future management of the Illawarra escarpment.

Wollongong Greens councillor Jill Merrin.

Wollongong Greens councillor Jill Merrin.

He said that saying forests do not need protection flew in the face of scientific facts.

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