Be the first to like this
Over the past 10 years, the awareness of geotourism and interest from key constituency groups continues to grow. Geotourism has been featured at SEGRA since 2012; with the inaugural geotourism workshop at SEGRA 2014 in Alice Springs, SEGRA 2015 held in Bathurst, NSW, an event which saw the genesis of the Etheridge (Far North Qld) and Warrumbungle (Central West NSW) UNESCO global geopark proposals. Geotourism workshops have also been convened at SEGRA 2016 in Albany, WA, and SEGRA 2017 at Port Augusta, 2017. Despite recent setbacks with the nomination process for these geopark developments, support for geotrail projects is increasing across Australia, with a key challenge for transforming geotrail projects to include both biotic and cultural content. Is recognised that the key driver of geopark development must be focused on regional development – i.e. jobs and growth and demonstrate economic benefit to offset perceived political risk. A high level of community (including other land-user) engagement is also essential to meet nomination requirements. In recognition of these factors, discussions have taken place with government to develop a new process for considering geopark proposals. During a first stage, proponents may need to undertake a ‘GeoRegional’ assessment including the determination of the most viable geotourism delivery mechanism available. Should a geopark option be favoured, discussions with the State/Territory Geological Survey and relevant planning agencies to obtain approval ‘in principle’ will be required. The initiation of extensive community consultation and the finalisation of stipulated nomination documentation for formal approval of the State Government will need to be essential pre-requisites.