MEDIA RELEASE 24 June 2021 |
The Andrews Government has just announced a huge milestone: the creation of three new national parks, together with new conservation parks, nature reserves and bushland reserves, for Victoria, which will provide permanent protection for over 370 rare and threatened animals and plants.
The new Wombat-Lerderderg National Park, (near Daylesford), Mount Buangor National Park (near Beaufort) and the Pyrenees National Park (near Avoca), along with other parks and reserves have been tabled in Victorian Parliament adding more than 50,000 hectares of protected bushland into Victoria’s wonderful parks estate.
“This is the first significant addition to our parks estate in over a decade. As Victoria fronts up to alarming rates of ecosystem decline and the real-time impacts of climate change, this news could not come at a better time. The creation of these parks will create critical habitat connectivity over a fragmented landscape and be good for both environment and local economies,” says Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victorian National Parks Association.
“It was a long time coming, and we are thrilled that the Andrews Government has finally made a decision. It gives hope for the forests, and the new parks at Wombat Forest, in particular, will be a great addition.”
“We now need the government to move quickly to implement the key parks in this term of government.”
The Victorian National Parks Association is pleased that there is finally a decision to make this addition of new parks to Victoria’s precious protected estate. This is a win for our wildlife, their habitats and the communities who can enjoy these new parks, whilst protecting their natural values at the same time.
“While we are thrilled to see the Andrews Government make a commitment to permanently protect these incredible natural places for current and future generations, the decision has come with strings attached.”
“We are deeply worried that some proposed parks will be logged before being created at some future date.”
While the core additions are welcome, such as the new park at Wombat Forest, there are some concerning elements: the staged implementation plan which allows continued extensive logging of the forests at Mount Cole (the proposed Mount Buangor National Park), and Pyrenees Ranges (proposed Pyrenesss National Park) are deeply worrying. The plan to log much of these areas and then turn them into national parks in 2030 doesn’t make any sense. There is still decades of wood supply outside of the proposed park areas.”
Victorian National Parks Association is also disappointed to see the government reject the recommendation for a Greater Bendigo National Park, but the proposed regional park designation will protect the area from the worst sort of logging, though mining access may be an issue that will need to be closely monitored.
For many local community groups, this decision has been 15+ years in the making.
The government response to new parks have been tabled, but not yet legislated. Victorian National Parks Association is urging for the key parks to be legislated as quickly as possible so this Andrews Government legacy for the protection of nature can be implemented in this term of government.
Four-wheel driving, trail-bike riding, mountain biking, bushwalking, picnicking and nature observation opportunities are not impacted by the government response to these new parks.
Two years ago the Andrews Government was handed an expert report recommending the protection of 60,000 hectares of public land in new national parks and reserves in Victoria’s central west. Today, significant progress has been made for nature protection in our state.