A mighty collaboration of groups are using a series of full page ads in six papers across key regional centres (Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Moorabool, Daylesford, Macedon) to call on the Andrews Government to hurry up and get on with creating and implementing new parks for Victoria.
Coordinated by local community conservation group Wombat Forestcare, the Open Letter ads are in response to a woeful lack of action on nature protection that has left regional and conservation groups deeply disappointed.
Following the two-year expert investigation by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC), recommendations have been made for large areas of public forests of the Wombat, Wellsford, Mount Cole and Pyrenees Ranges in Victoria’s central west to become National or Regional Parks.
After years in the making, the Andrews’ Government decision is already over 12 months overdue.
“How long do we have to wait for the Victorian government to take nature protection issues seriously? This sentiment is merely nice words on glossy paper until we see real commitment to protection for these special places.” – Gayle Osborne, Wombat Forestcare
Enshrining these forests as National Parks would not only provide clean air and water, protect vital habitat for over 380 rare and threatened animal and plant species, it would support joint management with Traditional Owners, and increase and enhance nature-based tourism and regional visitation.
Now it’s time for less talk and more protection.
“People in Bendigo have overwhelmingly said that they want the Wellsford Forest protected from logging and mining. What is the hold up?” – Wendy Radford, Wellsford Forest Conservation Alliance
The Victorian Government has found time to approve mining exploration leases and logging coupes in sensitive wildlife habitat, while ignoring the recommendations and missing legal requirements to respond.
These recommendations present an incredible opportunity for the Andrews’ Government to create new parks close to Melbourne. Communities would have new parks to explore and wildlife would have security and protection.
Other groups and individuals are urged to add their name to the open letter and join calls to the Andrews’ Government to create and implement new parks at www.createnewparks.org.au
Signatory groups include leading national groups like WWF, Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Wilderness Society, Humane Society International Australia, Friends of the Earth, Bush Heritage, Birdlife Australia, key state groups including National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Environment Victoria, and the Victorian National Parks Association, and regional groups such as Biolinks Alliance Inc, Friends groups, Field Naturalist Clubs and Landcare networks.