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The final management plan has been released for the Belfast Coastal Reserve.
And it’s not good.
The plan entrenches damaging and disruptive commercial racehorse training on public beaches between Warrnambool and Port Fairy. It allows 175 racehorses or more per day ploughing up and down the sand. This number more than doubles what the current interim license allows for of up to 65 horses per day.
The Andrews Government has set a terrible precedent for essentially commercialising Victoria’s public beaches.
Commercial racehorse training will take place at four locations within the reserve – Levys Beach, Hoon Hill, Rutledges Cutting, and Killarney Beach. These include important breeding and nesting sites for shorebirds including the nationally threatened Hooded Plover. The plan itself identifies the impact on coastal dune vegetation and shorebirds from ‘habitat degradation from disturbance of horse training activities’ as high.
The plan is unbalanced and incompatible with protecting the original purposes of the reserve, which is to conserve its natural, cultural and recreational values.
It’s a coast, not a race course.
There is still much work ahead to protect this highly significant coastal reserve, its threatened species and their habitats, its cultural values and to ensure it remains a place for Victorians to safely enjoy our beaches.
The fight is not over yet. The horses can be stopped, but we will need your help.
Join Victorians across the state to ramp up the pressure more than ever before on the key Ministers who have the power to change the course of the plan.
They need to know you are disappointed in the final plan, and want commercial racehorse training in the reserve overturned.
Calling the Ministers office generally has the biggest impact. Here is some information to help.
You can also send the Ministers an email. Use our letter text, or write your own personalised message for more impact.