South Australia's parks include all reserves proclaimed under National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (NPW Act), the Wilderness Protection Act 1992 (the WP Act) and conservation reserves dedicated to the Minister under the Crown Land Management Act 2009 (CL Act).
The NPW Act and the WP Act outline the requirements for the preparation of management plans. A management plan must be prepared as soon as practicable after the constitution of a reserve.
Under the NPW Act, a management plan "must set forth proposals of the Minister in relation to the management and improvement of the reserve" and "set forth any other proposals by which the Minister proposes to accomplish the objectives of the Act in relation to the reserve". A management plan for a co-managed park must also deal with such matters as required by regulation, and will also be adopted by the Minister.
Under the WP Act, a management plan must "as far as practicable, implement the policies set out in the Wilderness Code of Management so far as they are relevant to the wilderness protection area", "set forth proposals of the Minister in relation to the management of the wilderness protection area" and "set forth any other proposals by which the Minister proposes to accomplish the objectives of the Act in relation to the wilderness protection area".
Where a Minister has adopted a management plan under the NPW Act or the WP Act, the provisions of the plan must be carried out in relation to that reserve and operations must not be undertaken in relation to that reserve unless the operations are in accordance with the management plan.
There is no legal requirement, under the CL Act, that a management plan be prepared for a conservation reserve. As a general principle, a management plan will only be prepared for a conservation reserve if it is proposed that the conservation reserve be constituted under the NPW Act at the same time as the management plan is prepared.
A management plan is the most important source of clear management direction for a reserve. It is prepared to anticipate management directions over a 10 year period. As a strategic document, a management plan must identify the vision for the reserve and the objectives and strategies necessary to meet that vision. Plans contain concise background information that supports the objectives and strategies.
Each year park managers, taking regional and district priorities into account, draw up work programs to implement the strategies proposed in management plans. Implementation of these projects is determined by, and subject to, the availability of resources (eg staffing and funding).