Victoria’s alpine resorts are hugely popular and draw people attracted to all sorts of outdoor fun – skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snow hiking, snow camping and day visits.
But not every resort is the same. Some, such as Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek have become largely urbanised areas surrounded by the Alpine National Park, they are all about snow sports and accommodation.
Then there is Mt Stirling, a unique natural landscape with dramatic views of Victoria’s alpine area. Popular with cross-country skiers, bushwalkers, campers and school groups, it is also home to many threatened plant and animal species.
Chance to protect Mt Stirling
A new Victorian Government review now offers the chance to finally manage the unique Mt Stirling landscape the way it should be managed – as a national park.
The review is looking at the governance of all alpine resorts in an attempt to streamline overlapping, inefficient governance structures and the impacts of climate change.
Studies show that under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario:
- Temperatures across the Australian Alps could increase by 4-5 °C.
- Natural snowfall may decline by 60% to 80%.
- Snow cover may contract and only occur on the highest peaks.
- These impacts will result in a reduced ski season with a later start and earlier finish.
This review is a fantastic opportunity to make Mt Stirling part of the Alpine National Park. The many reasons include:
- I support a ‘Free Mt Stirling’ separated from the Mt Buller and made a continuous part of the Alpine National Park.
- Mt Stirling is a largely natural area and does not fit with the highly commercialised downhill focused Mt Buller.
- Climate change will radically change the area’s environment and Mt Stirling should be managed predominantly for its natural values.
- The 2008 State Service Commission Review recommended Mt Stirling be managed as part of the Alpine National Park. This recommendation should be followed.
- Making Mt Stirling part of the Alpine National Park is an elegant solution allowing consolidation of the larger commercial resorts, without the burden of unprofitable natural areas.
- Any existing commercial infrastructure at Mt Stirling could be managed by Parks Victoria, under traditional leasing and licensing arrangements.