FAQs for the Killalea State Park Transfer

What is the government announcing?

The NSW Government will reserve Killalea State Park as part of the NSW National Park estate to be managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The land will be reserved on 1 July 2022 and renamed Killalea Regional Park.

What happened to the Aboriginal land claim? 

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has withdrawn their land claims to facilitate the creation of Killalea Regional Park.

DPIE Crown Lands and NPWS will continue to work with the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to communicate proposed park boundaries and to establish and manage the park with Aboriginal interests and outcomes.

What is Killalea State Park? 

Killalea State Park is about 260 hectares in size and is located between Shellharbour and Kiama on the south coast of NSW.

It covers eight kilometres of coastline and an offshore island known as tack Island. The park currently attracts 30,000 visitors per month.

The park offers large grassy unpowered camping sites and backpacker style accommodation in the form of a 40-bed bunkhouse.

Killalea State Park is on Crown land and is currently managed by a Statutory Crown Land Manager - the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Land Manager which trades as Reflections Holiday Parks.

Why is this transfer to NPWS occurring? 

There have been significant calls by the community for Killalea State Park to come under the care of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, to protect its unique environmental and cultural values.

The government has listened to the community and its concerns about development that was proposed at the park and has moved to protect the park values into the future.

When will NPWS take over management of the park? 

A transition period will allow the National Parks and Wildlife Service to complete administrative processes relating to the reservation prior to it taking over management of the park effective from 1 July 2022.

Reflections Holiday Parks will continue to manage the park throughout the transition period.

A government inter-agency committee has been established to manage the transfer, comprising Crown Lands, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Regional NSW.

What will happen with the current Reflections development plans for the park including the conference centre?

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will develop a new Plan of Management for Killalea Regional Park.

NPWS will consult the community and stakeholders about management of the park to conserve its values and provide ongoing recreational opportunities.

Reflections will not be undertaking any development in the park during the transition period or thereafter.

What will happen to the funding that Reflections was to invest in the reserve?

The NSW Government is exploring funding sources to protect the natural and cultural values of the park and to ensure appropriate access for the community.

What will happen to staff currently employed at Killalea reserve by Reflections?

A transition period will see Reflections continue to manage the park until the National Parks and Wildlife Service takes over effective from 1 July 2022.

Staffing requirements for Killalea Regional Park will be considered as part of the new Plan of Management.

All employees and contractors of Reflections will continue with their current arrangements until the transition date.

Why is the park of environmental significance?

Killalea is a spectacular tract of coastal land with a range of aesthetic and biodiversity values and has been dedicated as a public recreation reserve for surfing, fishing, picnics, bushwalking and camping.

It supports heath, tall shrubland, littoral rainforest, dry sub-tropical rainforest, coastal dunes, wetland, rocky shores, grassland, mangroves and salt marsh.

This diversity supports nine endangered ecological communities, as well as threatened plant species including Elegant Wax Plant and Illawarra Zieria. It also provides habitat for some 63 native bird species.

The park has significant environmental values including threatened bird species and Killalea Lagoon.

The Mystics Beach and surrounding habitats are regularly used by shorebirds including Sooty and Pied Oyster Catchers and Crested Terns.

Why is the park of community significance?

The park is a unique green and blue open space within an urban setting.

It has two favourite surf beaches, Killalea Beach or 'The Farm' as known by the locals and Minnamurra Beach which is also known as 'Mystics'.

It is also of cultural significance to the Aboriginal community.

In 2009, Killalea Reserve was named a National Surfing Reserve with the vision of protecting its unique surf break for future generations. National Surfing Reserves are ‘iconic’ places of intrinsic environmental, heritage, sporting and cultural value. The classification is based on the quality of waves, a place considered sacred to the surfing community and long-term use of the beach and wave environment.

There are nine national surfing reserves in NSW. National Surfing Reserves is non-profit and voluntary group who dedicate iconic surfing sites in Australia.

Mystics Beach has also been named the third best beach in Australia by Tourism Australia for 2020 and 2019.

What will be the benefits of NPWS management of the park?

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will ensure the environmental and cultural values of the park are protected for future generations.

Killalea State Park will be reserved as national park land under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and will be renamed as Killalea Regional Park.

The Regional Park categorisation will permit ongoing community use and public recreation while protecting the natural and cultural values of the park.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will develop a new Plan of Management for the park that meets the requirements of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and those of the community.

For continuity, the National Parks and Wildlife Service will keep the name “Killalea” for the Regional Park.

Will Aboriginal cultural heritage be protected under NPWS?

Yes. The National Parks and Wildlife Service will work with local Aboriginal groups on the management of the park to ensure it aligns with cultural values and practices.

There are several known Aboriginal sites of significance within the park (identified in NPWS Plan of Management from 1989), including middens. The broader area i.e., Bass Point Headland is of significant cultural value.

Will the entire Killalea State Park be transferred to NPWS?

Yes, the entire park will be transferred to National Parks and Wildlife Service management.

What's the historic management of the Killalea State Park?

The park was originally proclaimed as a State Recreation Area under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, with the southern area of the park reserved in October 1984 and the northern area of the park reserved in 1986.

The park was managed under the NPW Act 1974 as a State Recreation Area (SRA) until March 1992.

In 1991, then Premier Nick Greiner announced a review of several SRAs to assess the balance between the conservation and recreation values.

Killalea SRA was identified as having predominantly recreational value and was revoked from the NPW Act 1974 and transferred to the then Office of Conservation and Land Management.

Killalea State Park (Crown reserve R1001339) was gazetted 1 June 1997 for the purpose of Public Recreation, Tourist Facilities and Services. The Killalea State Park Trust was the dedicated Trust from 1st June 1997 to October 2016.

The appointment of the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust (Trading as Reflections) as the reserve trust, occurred on the 28 October 2016, i.e., Dedication No. 1001339.

What legislative approvals are required for the transfer?

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will transfer the Crown land to its management using Part 4 Division 1 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPWA).

Under section 30C of the NPW Act 1974, Crown land can be transferred with the agreement of the Minister or public authority in whom the land is currently vested.

The transfer is supported by both the Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey (for Crown Lands) and Minister for the Environment Matt Kean (for NPWS).

Killalea State Park is defined as ‘Crown timber land’, under the NPW Act 1974. The reservation of Crown timber land also requires written agreement from the Deputy Premier, as the Minister responsible for the Forestry Act 2012.

The transfer will be confirmed by publication of a notice in the NSW Government gazette, which will have the effect of transferring the land to NPWS and revoking the current Crown reserve from Reflections management.

Killalea will then become a Regional Park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Once reserved under the NPW Act 1974, the reservation of the land can only be revoked by an Act of Parliament.