Managing Parks for Life (The National Parks Service)

This audit review has examined management practices within the National Parks Service from a global viewpoint rather than in terms of specific practices in place at individual parks. At an early stage of the audit, it became clear that the Service has not been in a position to assess its own effectiveness in the management of parks, principally because of long-standing unco-ordinated and rather haphazard approaches to strategic management.
This position has meant that clarity in goal setting and a structured framework for key decision-making, in line with established priorities, were not, in the past, conspicuous characteristics of the National Parks Service’s organisational functioning. In addition, poor information systems and inadequate consultation with some external parties meant that opportunities to capitalise on tourist development or improve service delivery, when such opportunities were complementary to preservation and protection of parks, were not always identified or considered.
In commenting on the above shortcomings, it is very appropriate for audit to recognise the momentum for positive change which was quickly gathering pace within the National Parks Service throughout the period of this review. The Director of the Service is developing a major change program focusing on key areas of significance for the Service. With a long-term goal of achieving world’s best practice in the management of national parks and conservation reserves, many aspects of organisational activity are under review or at the early stages of reform
The National Parks Service has the significant challenge of ensuring that its change process is effectively implemented and that quality strategic thinking, reliable information systems and systematic allocation of scarce resources to set priorities become fundamental elements of its operations. As this transition occurs, such matters as sound environmental monitoring of parks, pro-active promotion and marketing and a progressive, but responsible, approach to tourism development and recreational issues within parks need to emerge as strong features of the day-to-day thinking within the Service.



Geographic Coverage



Special Report No 34


Auditor-General of Victoria: 1995


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