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Wombat State Forest

The Wombat forest is rich in native plants and wildlife species. Photo: Wombat Forestcare

The Wombat forest is rich in native plants and wildlife species. Photo: Wombat Forestcare

 

The Wombat forest near Daylesford is a natural gem loved by many for its natural bushland and wildlife but is under threat from gold mining.

Mining licences are in place for close to 500 hectares within the Wombat, including licences for the open cut gold mines at Bullarto South, Spark Creekand Shepherds Flat.

The Bullarto South (MIN5349) mine is 2km south of the Bullarto township and in the headwaters of the heritage-listed Lerderderg River.

 

Protecting Special Places

>> Wellsford State Forest
>> Great Forest National Park

There are two types of mining licence -- exploration and mining -- and both currently exist for large areas of the Wombat forest and surrounding areas.

Over 8000 hectares of Wombat State Forest and surrounding areas are under exploration licence, with applications for a further 15,000 hectares - and any of these have the potential to become mining operations.

The VNPA and local groups are resolute: the Victorian government must never be allowed to hand over high conservation significant areas such as the Wombat State Forest to mining companies.

 

Take action

Send an email to Premier Daniel Andrews and Victoria's environment minister, Lisa Neville, urging them to immediately establish a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council investigation into adding the Wombat Forest to the conservation reserve system. And stop the mining:

 

History shouldn't repeat itself

Wombat State Forest covers about 45,100 hectares and is one of Central Victoria's most important forests. With easy access from Ballarat, Daylesford, Trentham, Gisborne and Mount Macedon, it is one of Victoria's truly special places.

This region of Victoria had a gold mining history, but there has been no mining within Wombat State Forest for many years.

As mining in the Wombat would involve clearing areas of forest and other vegetation, it raises significant issues about erosion, sedimentation and heavy metal contamination of the forest and its waterways. And with thousands of tonnes of material being hauled out for processing, a dramatic increase in the volume of trucks on the roads poses a number of serious safety issues.

 

Mining in high conservation value areas

Wombat forest is valued by locals and visitors alike and has been identified as rich in diversity of plant and animal species (many of which are threatened), and important for water quality in central Victoria.

In a detailed study of the area carried out in 2010, the VNPA identified the main areas of Wombat as having high conservation significance and are therefore worthy of better protection under the National Parks Act.

The forest is home to threatened fauna, and recent records of native species that call the forest home include the Powerful Owl, Spotted Quail-thrush and Square-tailed Kite, the nationally endangered Spot-tailed Quoll, the nationally vulnerable Growling Grass Frog and the state endangered Masked Owl.

Also present are at least 20 rare and threatened plant species including the state-listed and endangered Small Sickle Greenhood (Pterostylis lustra) and the endemic Wombat Bush-pea (Pultenaea reflexifolia var. reflexifolia).

Some 70% of vegetation types within Wombat are under-represented in parks within the Central Victorian Uplands bioregion, a fact that further highlights the need for better protection and conservation for these areas.

The southeast corner of Wombat State Forest, which adjoins Lerderderg State Park, has Sedgy Riparian Woodland and Damp Forest forming a transition to the dryer forests further north. Heritage-listed Lerderderg River meanders through state forest and the state park.

 

Wombat in a nutshell

  • Very important water catchment, containing the headwaters of six major river systems. The Moorabool, Werribee and Lerderderg Rivers flow to the south, and the Loddon, Coliban and Campaspe to the north.
  • A regional biolink, providing crucial habitat for movement of species across the central Victorian landscape.
  • A biodiversity hotspot.
  • A valuable tourist destination for regional Victoria
  • An important area for recreation and amenity to local comities.
  • A beekeeping area.
  • A valuable carbon store.

 

Mining

Mining licences are in place for about 500 hectares within the Wombat Forest.

Mining in Wombat will result in:

  • Water contamination.
  • Loss of habitat and biodiversity.
  • Sedimentation of rivers within catchment areas.
  • Increased heavy vehicle traffic requiring wider roads in forested areas.
  • Impacts on the local community of increased heavy.
  • Vehicles on minor roads.
  • Loss of access to areas of public land under mining activity.