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The proposal to hand over planning control for some of our most iconic national parks along the Great Ocean Road to a tourism-focused management authority is an alarming backwards step in nature conservation.
While there are significant issues with the management of increasing tourism along the road, an assortment of small reserves and other public land could do with better coordination, the last thing our great national parks need is a new management authority. Our parks have been successfully protecting 80 per cent of the Great Ocean Road for decades.
The Great Ocean Road Action Plan proposes significant changes in the management of national parks, with planning and decision-making responsibility in the parks to be given to a new ‘Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority’ under new legislation.
Worryingly, the new authority will be largely funded through public land leases and licenses. That would open our national parks to the threat of exploitation.
Victorians are currently being consulted about the new proposal, but the questions are largely trivial. We are not being invited to comment on the critical issue: the takeover of national park management.
- Respond to the Environment Department’s online consultation
Go to engage.vic.gov.au/great-ocean-road, and make sure you answer question 12: “Any further comments?” Tell the environment department that you don’t approve of the management takeover of national parks along the Great Ocean Road. Tell them that what Parks Victoria needs is sufficient secure funding to do its important job, not a new authority to stand over it.
- Send a message to the Victorian Government
You can also send your message to Premier Daniel Andrews, the Minister for the Environment Lily D’Ambrosio, and the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne. Send your message here.