Labor shuts door on controversial Pt Nepean development
Wednesday 1 July 2015
Today's decision by the Andrews Government to end large-scale development at Point Nepean National Park also ends community angst created by the former government's plans to lease out sections of the park.
"Plans by the Napthine Government to hand over significant sections of Point Nepean National Park to private developers under a 50-year lease were deeply flawed," Victorian National Parks Association Director Matt Ruchel said today.
"The lease agreement would have locked the public out of many areas of Point Nepean and provided an impetus for full-blown private development in other national parks.
"National parks belong to all Victorians and should not be handed over to developers so that they can build exclusive resorts.
"Any compensation now payable to the developer should be laid at the feet of the former Napthine Government for signing up to such a flawed proposal in the first place."
The journey to create Point Nepean National Park has a long and sometimes controversial history, one that has seen the Victorian National Parks Association stand side-by-side with local community groups to ensure its protection and proper management for decades.
But in 2013 Victoria's former Coalition Government began a process that unravelled those protections.
In April it released the Point Nepean National Park Master Plan and Sustainable Use and Tourism Framework. A month later it asked for 'expressions of interest' from commercial developers to use Point Nepean and potentially take control of 99-year leases within the national park's boundaries.
The plan was pitched as providing directions for 'sustainable growth' of the park based on the 2010 Point Nepean draft master plan, but in reality left the door wide open for inappropriate and exclusive commercial developments.
The decision to lease parts of Pt Nepean was quietly announced with few details just before the Napthine Government went into caretaker mode ahead of the November 2014 state election.