Budget boost not yet enough to rescue Victoria’s parks
Victoria's national parks and reserves are in desperate need of a significant injection of funds, and while the 2016 state budget handed down by the Andrews Government offers some relief, it falls well short of what our magnificent parks system needs to survive and flourish.
The $20 million funding boost allocated over four years to revitalise parks infrastructure is a step in the right direction, but Parks Victoria still needs a significant increase in core operational funding.
The 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.
Other welcome spending measures in the 2016 Victorian budget include:
- $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.
That's why over the next year we will continue our 'Rescue our Parks' campaign. In just two weeks the campaign has collected more than 2000 names on a petition calling for increased parks funding.
Rescue our parks
Thank you to all our supporters who have signed the petition and made a donation to help Rescue our parks. If you haven't already you can support this campaign by: