The Greens have described the release yesterday by Member for Kiama Gareth Ward of the NSW Liberal South Coast Marine Tourism Strategy as a blueprint for the over-development and commercialisation of the South Coast.
Greens MP and South Coast and Illawarra Spokesperson Justin Field described the plan as a pre-election thought bubble that failed to recognise and protect the environmental values that make the South Coast marine environment such a fantastic place to visit.
"When the community hears the terms like "foreshore precinct and harbour activation", they know it’s code for more residential development and commercialisation along our coastline and they are are right to be concerned.
"This plan looks more like a blueprint for developers rather than a plan for a sustainable tourism industry.
"The Greens support a vibrant tourism economy and the jobs and opportunities that creates, but the permanent communities who live on the South Coast want to see that matched with quality infrastructure that can handle the visitors and want to ensure new development is done in a way protects the environmental values of the coastline.
Greens South Coast Candidate Kim Stephenson said, "we've seen ongoing traffic, parking, waste and pollution issues, some of which have been a result of unsustainable development and an underinvestment in services to support the population boom in holiday periods.
"Hyams Beach over the break is a classic example of what can happen when coastal tourism popularity overwhelms local infrastructure and services.
Greens Kiama Candidate Nina Digiglio said, "People come to this area for holidays to enjoy the pristine nature of the coastal environment. We need to make sure that is preserved for the future.
"We want the local jobs that tourism can bring, but we can't kill the goose that lays the golden egg by failing to protect the environment and allowing unsustainable development.
Mr Field said, "In contrast to protecting the marine environment the NSW Government has undermined marine park protections across the region and there remain ongoing issues with water quality in coastal lakes, creeks and rivers, mostly driven by poor runoff management from developed areas.
"We need a commitment from the State Government that any new tourism comes with the resources and commitment to ensure the environment is protected, not degraded by unsustainable development.