MEDIA RELEASE 5 January 2016 |
The management of Victoria’s national parks and nature conservation reserves is in serious decline and can only be rectified through a major boost in long-term funding, the Victorian National Parks Association said today.
“Since 2010 state government funding to Parks Victoria has fallen by almost a third from an already low base,” acting executive director Chris Smyth said today.
“As well as being hit by massive funding shortfalls Parks Victoria has suffered staff cuts, placing serious stress on those that remain.
“There has also been a reduction in the skills needed to manage the many threats Victoria’s parks face, and funding for a number of weed and feral animal programs have been cut altogether.
“The Victorian National Parks Association is calling on the Victorian Government to immediately return Parks Victoria funding to at least 2010 levels, with substantial increases over following years so that the organisation can rebuild the resources and expertise it needs to reverse declines in the condition of many of our most important national parks.
“We are encouraged by today’s comments from state environment minister Lisa Neville that the government is reinvesting in national parks to improve their facilities and management.
“This would be consistent with the government’s election commitment to invest in a world class national parks system with Parks Victoria reporting directly to the environment minister.”
A recent survey commissioned by the VNPA showed that 96% of Victorians recognise the importance of national parks for conserving nature and protecting native wildlife, and 81% support increasing funding for protecting nature.
Victoria’s national parks draw 35 million visitors every year.
The parks system generates over $1 billion a year through tourism, $330 million in water services and $180 million in avoided health costs.