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The proposal to hand over planning control for some of our most iconic national parks along the Great Ocean Road to a tourism-focused management authority is an alarming backwards step in nature conservation.
While there are significant issues with the management of increasing tourism along the road, and coordination of an assortment of small reserves and other public land could do with better coordination, the last thing our great national parks need is a new management authority. Our parks have been successfully protecting 80 per cent of the Great Ocean Road for decades.
The Great Ocean Road Action Plan proposes significant changes in the management of national parks, with planning and decision-making responsibility in the parks to be given to a new ‘Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority’ under new legislation.
Worryingly, the new authority will be largely funded through public land leases and licenses. That would open our national parks to the threat of exploitation.
Victorians are currently being consulted about the new proposal, but the questions are largely trivial. We are not being invited to comment on the critical issue: the takeover of national park management.
As well as responding to the Environment Department’s online consultation (you can do so here), please send a message directly to Premier Daniel Andrews, the Minister for the Environment Lily D’Ambrosio, and the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne using the form on this page.
Dear Premier Andrews, Minister D’Ambrosio and Minister Wynne,
I am urging you to rule out any changes to the tenure, legislation, planning, control and/or management of national parks or other conservation reserves along the Great Ocean Road, or anywhere else in the state.
While good planning along the Great Ocean Road may be called for, the chief problems are the already large visitor numbers along the Great Ocean Road, and the need for consistent management of the many small ‘pocket’ reserves currently under an assortment of committees and councils. Our National Parks and Marine National Parks, which occupy around 80 per cent of the coast, are already doing their important job of landscape protection.
National parks do not need expensive duplicate management. It’s an uncalled for institutional land grab, and an alarming precedent for park management across the land.