State budget boost not yet enough to rescue Victoria’s parks
Wednesday 27 April 2016
Victoria's national parks and reserves are in desperate need of a significant injection of funds, and while today's state budget offers some relief, it falls well short of what our magnificent parks system needs to survive and flourish.
"The $20 million funding boost over four years to revitalise parks infrastructure announced in today's state budget is a step in the right direction, but Parks Victoria still needs a significant increase in core operational funding," Victorian National Parks Association Executive Director Matt Ruchel said today.
"Victoria's parks service has been severely damaged by savage staff cuts over many years. It needs at least $30 million a year for core operational funding just to reverse the damage caused by former state government cuts.
"Controlling weeds and feral animals, maintaining walking tracks and picnic grounds are all key housekeeping tasks that need to be funded properly if we're to avoid running Victoria's parks system into the ground.
"Spending on nature conservation in this year's Victorian budget is a good start but more will be needed if we are to ensure our unique natural areas survive and flourish."
The association welcomed state budget spending on:
- $222 million investment in environmental health of waterways.
- $33.4 million in new funding for threatened species protection and biodiversity.
- $3.1 million for Trust for Nature.
- $18 million for Landcare.
"Victorians love their national parks and are rightly proud of them. They provide billions of dollars in environmental services to the community and economy every year, are critical to threatened wildlife and offer an escape from busy lives," Mr Ruchel said.
Over the next year the Victorian National Parks Association will continue its 'Rescue our Parks' campaign. In just two weeks the campaign has collected more than 2000 names on a petition calling for increased parks funding.