Labor’s promise to spend $5 million fixing up bush walking tracks in the Illawarra if elected to government has been welcomed by the local National Parks Association (NPA).
The pledge, to be implemented if Labor wins government in NSW next March, would focus on refurbishment of tracks in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area, to link the Royal National Park to Mt Kembla.
Many walking tracks in the Illawarra and Heathcote areas have been allowed to fall into disrepair and are in desperate need of upgrades to infrastructure such as walkways, signage and stairways.
This project will make it possible for people to walk all the way from Sydney to the Illawarra.
After 10 years pushing for upgrades of walking tracks, NPA Illawarra branch president Graham Burgess said he was pleased to see some promise of a cash injection, along the lines of the National Parks and Wildlife Service master plan for walks.
“NPA have also been advocating for better maintenance of the existing walking track network in the Illawarra and highlands,” he said.
“We would like to see more work done in areas suffering from erosion and other damage along with an upgrade of all track signage to incorporate the modern style of signs with detailed maps and information plus imagery of the type we see in places such as the Royal National Park coast track.
“The long-awaited sections of the Illawarra Escarpment walking track from the Royal National park at Otford south to Mt Kembla are part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service master plan.”
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On Thursday shadow minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park said Labor would establish the first stage of the proposed Illawarra Escarpment Walking Track stretching from Stanwell Park in the north to Mount Kembla, linking Sydney to the Illawarra for bush walkers.
It would also focus on upgrading and maintaining existing walking track infrastructure in this area.
“This project will make it possible for people to walk all the way from Sydney to the Illawarra,” Mr Park said.
“This is great news for bush walking enthusiasts and anyone who wants get outdoors and enjoy our fantastic natural environment.”