Victoria’s latest threatened species is the Mount Cole Grevillea. The flame-red beauty is found nowhere else on earth but the forests of the state’s central west.
Dear Ministers of Cabinet,
Re: Protect Victoria’s newest threatened species from extinction
I commend the efforts of the Victorian Government in responding to both the Covid-19 and bushfire crisis’ – it’s certainly been a challenging year so far.
While the health crisis is currently the priority, we understand that you as a core member of the Andrews Government, may need to make a decision to support the recommendations for new national parks in Victoria’s central west.
I understand under the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council legislation, that a response was required in early February 2020, regarding its recommendation to establish new national parks in the central west.
Though that date has passed, I call on you to support new national parks in the central west and especially to protect Victoria’s newest threatened species, the unique Mount Cole Grevillea. This incredible shrub is found in the forests of Mount Cole, in Victoria’s central west, and nowhere else on the planet. The plant’s beautiful red flowers and holly-like leaves are spectacular to the eye.
New parks are great opportunities to build local economies and jobs through an increase in tourism and the protection of biodiversity.
Compounding my concern is your government’s recent decision to re-sign the Regional Forestry Agreements only weeks after the tragic summer bushfires. New logging coupes are within the boundary of the Mount Cole Grevillea’s few remaining habitats, and the plant is already at threat of a changing climate and bushfire. Better protection in a new national park would give the grevillea, and its highly restricted range, a chance to stay off Victoria’s extinction list.
The VEAC recommendations include almost 60,000 hectares of new national park and reserves for the Mount Cole and Pyrenees Ranges (near Beaufort and Avoca), and the Wombat (near Daylesford) and Wellsford (near Bendigo) Forests. In addition 19,000 hectares of regional park allow almost all forms of recreation.
Supporting the decision to protect the forests of the central west in new parks will not only be important for the Mount Cole Grevillea, but other iconic threatened species such as the Greater Glider and the Powerful Owl. In the statewide context, the central west forests provide important refuges, in addition to recreational assets such as the popular Beeripmo Walk at Mount Cole, outside of the current fire zone.
The Mount Cole-Pyrenees area is also critical for water supply – where the headwaters of Wimmera and Avoca and part of the Hopkins Rivers lie.
It is now even more important than ever to safeguard the forests we have left on public land to give our threatened species a fighting chance – in which the central west forests are home to 380 of them.
People also need parks. As the Victorian community continues to grow, we need more natural areas for respite and recreation, and these new parks easily accessible to the west of the state are greatly needed, particularly for the western and northern suburbs of Melbourne.
Victoria’s parks estate contributes $2.1 billion annually to the economy through park tourism and supports 20,000 jobs, and new parks would give opportunity to regional areas.
Please protect the Mount Cole Grevillea, threatened wildlife, water, forests and communities by making the decision to support the now overdue recommendations in Victoria’s Central West Investigation.