Natural Resources Advisory Unit
The Natural Resources Advisory Unit sets the policy direction of the association regarding matters pertaining to environment and represents it on matters of access. This involves preparation of detailed written submissions to government and other interested parties in presentation of the views of the association and its members.
Natural Resources Advisory Unit
Four Wheel Drive South Australia
PO Box 178
South Australia 5058.
Our main focus is on ACCESS – attempting to keep tracks open for our use – we attempt to influence the decision making process (where possible through reasonable argument and discussion) when tracks and camping areas are under threat or restriction, thus hopefully reducing the number of tracks closed as authorities regulate to overcome problems with incorrect behaviour.
Approximately 70% of South Australia is the area we are most likely to want to use – these are Pastoral Leases, National Parks (NPs) and Aboriginal Lands. The ALU (Access & Lands Unit) has been left to work towards gaining improved access to Aboriginal and Arid lands.
The other two areas (Pastoral and NPs) is where the NRAU attempts to influence decisions. Over the years we have developed close contacts within relevant Government Departments which allow us to monitor any topics of interest to the Unit.
We do this by making regular calls to individuals within Government Departments, and ensuring the NRAU is on mailing lists for draft management plans and other publications, newsletters, etc. NRAU representatives are involved on various committees, and the National Association gives information from around Australia.
When items of interest come up, we analyse them and decide whether to comment or not – the unit attempts to respond in a positive manner to proposed draft management plans for NPs and other proposals, such as Ramsar (bird protection), use of pastoral lands, and the formation of PARs and access by consent. Generally, we research, and may act on any issue which could affect where and how we can drive and camp.
Members of the NRAU are involved in – the Coorong Consultative Committee (for NPs), Innamincka and Strzelecki Parks Friends, Friends of Coorong, Friends of Simpson Desert, Coorong and Lakes Ramsar (our representative is on the Coorong Consultative Committee and in a position to influence attitudes), Coongie Lakes Ramsar, Public Access Sub Committee of Pastoral Board, National Council Access Committee, and the Wilderness Committee.
DO WE ACHIEVE ANYTHING?
We think YES. It is not always highly visible, but underneath the attitudes to 4WD use have changed over the years, and 4WD touring is now recognised as a legitimate form of recreation. We prefer to work with Departmental personnel rather than politicians, and try to influence decision making behind the scenes.
At the Coorong, we have managed (with the assistance of the Nissan Patrol Club involvement) to keep both the 28 and 32 mile crossings open where Management Plans recommended closing one of them down. On Committees and at seminars and forums we are able to counter negative attitudes to 4WDs and camping, and sometimes eventually win people around to our way of thinking. If there is no one there representing 4WDSA, attitudes would remain negative along with recommendations for restrictions and closures.
The following are some examples of the productive outcome from consultation.
Recreational Vehicles and Protected Areas in South Australia handbook
Four-wheel driving is an ideal way to see and appreciate many of South Australia's parks and reserves. The Recreational Vehicles and Protected Areas in South Australia handbook ( 900Kb PDF) has been developed by the Department for Environment and Heritage in conjunction with the Four Wheel Drive South Australia and Tread Lightly! Australia. It aims to guide the management of recreational vehicles in protected areas through legislation and policy, and promote minimal impact practices to recreational vehicle users to provide safe and rewarding experiences within parks and reserves.
A code of discipline has been developed, that all members of affiliated clubs abide by. This allows land management agencies to refer issues of behaviour back to the Association for resolution. This code is necessary, often along with indemnity insurance to gain access to controlled areas.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with ForestrySA for dealing with access to SA forest reserves.
Relations with NPWS
Partnership Agreement with National Parks and Wildlife South Australia [NOTE in 2012 a new agreement is being prepared - this is the old agreement]
This is not a legally binding agreement but National Parks and Wildlife South Australia and the South Australian Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs make a commitment with the best of intentions to establish and maintain this relationship in the interests of conservation and recreational use of Protected Areas in South Australia.
The Recreational Vehicles and Protected Areas in South Australia handbook ( 900Kb PDF) has been developed by the Department for Environment and Heritage in conjunction with the South Australian Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs and Tread Lightly! Australia.
Following much consultation, the Public Access Working Group released the format of documentation to be used when seeking access to pastoral leases in South Australia.
Representatives from the Pastoral Program, the Pastoral Board, the South Australian Farmers' Federation, and the South Australian Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs Inc. were all members of the Public Access Working Group.
Refer to our pastoral access page for more dteials.