A decisive moment for nature in the Yarra Ranges

An open letter to Planning Minister Lizzie Blandthorn

We write to you about your role in deciding the future of the Yarra Ranges National Park – home to one of Victoria’s rare stands of Cool Temperate Rainforest, rare and endangered native wildlife, and Melbourne’s water supply.

For many years a broad community of local residents, nature-lovers, experts, hydrologists and ecologists have raised concerns about reckless plans by the Shire of Yarra Ranges to clear protected habitat for mountain bike tracks in the national park.

As the most cleared state in Australia, Victoria’s national parks hold some of the greatest surviving natural treasures. We call on you to carefully assess the impacts of this proposal and to treat your decision with the gravity it deserves.

We ask you to reject the small portion of tracks that will bring great and needless risk to:

  • One of the most intact remaining patches of threatened Cool Temperate Rainforest in Victoria
  • The critically endangered Mount Donna Buang Wingless Stonefly that occurs no place else on earth
  • Nationally and state-listed threatened wildlife that live, breed and feed near the proposed track corridor
  • The Coranderrk Closed Water Catchment as highlighted by Melbourne Water
  • The liveability and local character of Warburton – including the increased risk of the fire-related emergencies

We call on you to recognise that the primary purpose of the Yarra Ranges National Park is to preserve the nature within it as a whole for everyone to enjoy – now and into the future.

We seek to illuminate the dangerous precedent that will be set for Victoria’s national parks and natural areas if planning controls are abused in order to undermine our nature laws for the sake of inappropriate development.

The signatories of this letter represent thousands of Victorians who call on Planning Minister Blandthorn to protect the integrity of the park, its sublime rainforests and the unique native wildlife that depend on it.

As the planning minister, you have the power to halt this proposal in its tracks. You can help prevent the spread of deadly tree killing pathogens that will damage rainforest, stop the sedimentation of local creeks and streams, deny the unnecessary removal of habitat and protect a key water source.

We stand ready to support a revision of the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination project that does not commercially exploit the natural values of the Yarra Ranges National Park and is sensitive to local community features.

United in our passion for protecting the natural world and Victoria’s dwindling natural areas, we call on you to reject the proposed mountain bike tracks within the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Signed organisations:
Environment Victoria
Entomological Society of Victoria
Friends of the Earth Melbourne
Friends of the Leadbeaters Possum
– Friends of Myrtle Beeches
Rethink Warburton Mountain Bike Destination
Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group
Plastic Bag Free Warby

Yarra River Keeper 
Victorian National Parks Association
Warburton Environment
Knox Environment Society
Healesville Environment Watch inc

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