Privtising nature: government support for public and private protected areas

Prof. Jamie Kirkpatrick1, Ms Julie Fielder1, Associate Professor Aidan Davison1

1University Of Tasmania


The recent upsurge in the area of private reserves in Australia has been hypothesised to be a plot by neoliberal governments to privatise the conservation estate and relieve them of some of the obstacles to economic development that have beset national parks. We test this hypothesis by determining whether there has been a tendency for governments to divert expenditure on protected areas away from public to private reserves. Despite appallingly bad data resulting from incessant re-organisations of nature conservation agencies, we conclude that an increasing proportion of public funds went to support private reserves until recently, when nature conservation has been of such bad odor among conservative governments that money spent on public parks has been diverted to support private tourism enterprises and non-Indigenous private protected areas have been thrown to the charity wolves.


Jamie Kirkpatrick and his many students  research matters relevant to the conservation of nature, mainly in Tasmania. He teaches undergraduate units with alliterative titles, like ‘Fire, Weeds and Ferals’. He is a member of the University of Tasmania Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council. His most recent book is ‘Conservation Worrier’


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

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