The Victorian National Parks Association has welcomed the release of a draft Point Nepean National Park Master Plan as the best way to put previous planning and political mistakes on the future of the area in the past.
Multiple layers of history – Indigenous, early European, quarantine and military defence – and magnificent coastal landscapes make Point Nepean National Park and the heritage-listed Quarantine Station jewels in Victoria’s conservation estate.
The community has fought hard over many years to have what was Commonwealth land at Point Nepean returned to the state of Victoria for incorporation into an integrated national park managed by Parks Victoria. In 2009, the last piece of that Commonwealth land, the 90 hectares of the Quarantine Station, was finally given to Victoria – Point Nepean National Park was complete.
But since then it has been subject to a range of controversial and highly speculative ideas, including the failed attempt by the former Napthine Government to lease the land returned in 2009 to a property developer for a luxury spa and hotel complex.
Chris Smyth, the Victorian National Parks Association’s marine and coastal campaigner, said today the master plan has been a long time in the making but after years of pushing and shoving between state and federal governments and the community, it is finally on the right track.
“The Victorian National Parks Association has been working for almost 20 years to get an integrated plan for Point Nepean National Park to protect its natural and cultural heritage. This draft plan provides a firm basis for achieving that,” Mr Smyth said.
“Unfortunately, the plan is let down by the proposal for a jetty in Ticonderoga Bay at the Quarantine Station. The jetty would be a serious financial burden, and we are concerned that it would impact on the endangered Burrunan Dolphin, which is meant to be protected from boats in the Ticonderoga Bay Sanctuary Zone.”
The association’s vision for the Point Nepean National Park is of a park where:
- Natural and cultural heritage is protected.
- Heritage buildings are sustainably and adaptively reused and conserved.
- The community is effectively consulted, educated and engaged.
- A diverse range of uses for recreation, tourism, hospitality, education and community is consistent with park values and creates a vibrant visitor experience with a great sense of place.
- Public access is maintained.
The Burrunan Dolphin is also listed under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
The Victorian National Parks Association looks forward to working with Parks Victoria on the finalisation of the master plan and its implementation.