Islands declared paradise



TWO islands in the Clarence River estuary have been declared national parks as part of a NSW Government expansion of parks and reserves across the state.

Yamba's Dart and Rabbit isles are among eight new island national parks announced by Premier Morris Iemma.

National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) spokesman Lawrence Orel said the islands would become part of the Clarence River Estuary Nature Reserve.

"They're an important habitat for a number of species, including pied-oyster catchers and beachstone curlews," he said.

"Effectively, the main change is that they will now be managed as part of the Clarence River nature estuary.

"It's just a way of recognising they are important habitats for particular shore birds and they will be managed by the NPWS."

Mr Orel said the islands, which have a combined size of roughly 10 hectares, would be the focus of management plans.

In the Premier's announcement, 21 new national parks and reserves have been added to the reserve network, along with one new aboriginal Area, as well as 50 additions to existing parks and reserves.

Bundjalung National Park was one to be increased in size.

NSW Nationals' Leader Andrew Stoner said the decision was ludicrous because of the Government's inability to manage existing parks.

"Creating more national parks will only see already too few resources stretched even further and exacerbate the mismanagement," he said.



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