Funding boost for SA parks, walking trails

SA Premier Steven Marshall(C) announced a boost of nearly $12 million for the state's national parks
SA Premier Steven Marshall(C) announced a boost of nearly $12 million for the state's national parks

South Australia's parks will receive a boost of nearly $12 million over the next four years, including an upgrade to one of the state's most famous walking trails.

Premier Steven Marshall announced the extra funding on World Environment Day, hoping to increase visitation to the state's national parks and conservation parks by improving their amenities.

Environment Minister David Speirs said that, until now, national parks and wildlife have not been the focus of the environment department.

The Liberal government has pledged $11.8 million over the next four years to improve general infrastructure around parks, including the creation of a multi-day walking trail between Cape Jervis and Victor Harbor.

Mr Speirs says this $6 million walking trail would pass through some of the state's most iconic conservation parks including Deep Creek.

"This multi-day walk will become an incredible tourist attraction for South Australia," he said.

The creation of this new trail will also incorporate upgrades to the famous Heysen Trail, which runs from Cape Jervis to the Mid-North.

Mr Marshall and Mr Speirs were joined by young school students as they made the announcement at Glenthorne National Park in Adelaide's south.

Other students around the state also celebrated World Environment Day on Wednesday, particularly at Adelaide Botanic Garden, where thousands gathered.

"We have got an ambition to significantly increase visitation to our wonderful national parks and conservation parks right across South Australia," Mr Marshall said.

Mr Speirs told reporters the environment will be a winner in the upcoming state budget.

"What we are going to see is an uptake in the environment department's bottom line," he said.

"We see it from an environmental, social and an economic point of view ... but we also know the environment matters to South Australians."

The announcement came just a few hours before supporters of the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association gathered on the steps of Parliament House to oppose plans of a hotel at Adelaide Oval.

With the "No Pub in the Park" petition, the parklands association are concerned the planned $42 million hotel will destroy some of the National Heritage-listed grounds that surround the oval.

The association's president Shane Sody said the Adelaide City Council is proposing to pursue UNESCO World Heritage Listing for the city's parklands.

The state budget will be handed down on June 18.

Australian Associated Press