Thank you for your generosity this year
Your unwavering support, despite the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, has empowered us to continue our important work to protect Victoria’s nature.
Thanks to you, our generous community, and the ambitions we all share for the future of nature in Victoria, together we’ve achieved some fantastic wins during the past year.
Here are just some of the successes your support has made possible:
Commitment for new national parks in the central west!
Three new national parks have been announced, protecting 50,000 hectares of habitat for 370 rare and threatened animals, plants and insects! The Victorian government has committed to create new Wombat-Lerderderg, Mount Buangor, and Pyrenees National Parks, along with other parks and reserves, including a new regional park at Wellsford.
Together we’ve been working on this campaign for over a decade, so we’re thrilled to share this breakthrough with you. It is your support that has sustained our momentum to secure this commitment for wildlife, nature and communities. We now need to ensure that new parks and conservation areas are legislated as quickly as possible.
This is an incredible milestone for this campaign, but there is still work to do. The current proposals will allow logging to decimate forests in the designated park areas at Mount Cole and the Pyrenees, up until native forest logging is phased out in 2030. Logging these forests goes against the natural values that were acknowledged when the national parks were announced – and we will not let this slip through the cracks.
We’ll be in touch to let you know our next steps for this campaign to ensure we get the best outcome for the forests and threatened wildlife in the central west and beyond!
Our beautiful Westernport Bay, home to Little Penguins, Australian Fur Seals, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, is now safe from AGL’s proposed gas import terminal at Crib Point!
Thanks to a strong partnership between the Victorian National Parks Association, other environment groups and the local community, we successfully campaigned for the Andrews Labor Government to condemn and prohibit the unacceptable environmental effects of a gas terminal in this Ramsar wetland of international significance. It is your fantastic support that ensured this win, and we will use this momentum going forward to secure permanent protections for Westernport Bay.
Dealing with more than 1 million deer
With the government’s final Deer Control Strategy released at the end of 2020, strong advocacy from the VNPA community helped to secure an important $18 million allocation from the government to control feral deer. Additional funds also helped with control measures after the Black Summer bushfires and have proven effective.
Ironically, these measures conflict with the outdated and ineffective Wildlife Act 1975, which still protects deer as game species! With the Act under review, we presented a submission recommending that deer be listed as pest species.
Alongside our submission, many of our supporters sent their own submissions to the Wildlife Act Review Panel. We know that the community coming together is what makes impact in these processes, so thank you for your support and work on this issue!
A brighter future for Wilsons Promontory National Park
Thanks to your support, we haveadvocated for better protection, management and funding for our beloved Prom.
This has resulted in funding commitments for a ‘Prom Sanctuary’ to recognise the park’s unique values, including a predator-proof fence along the Yanakie Isthmus – to promote pest animal control and the reintroduction of lost native animals; a revitalised research centre; and walking track upgrades. We continue to monitor these plans closely.
Protecting Hooded Plovers at Belfast Coastal Reserve
With your support, our organisation together with other environment groups achieved a declaration from the Warrnambool City Councillors that there would be ‘no more horse training’ on the Belfast Coastal Reserve. This is a huge win in our five-year-long campaign to prevent one of our most exposed beach-nesting shorebirds, the vulnerable Hooded Plover, from having their eggs and chicks crushed underneath the hooves of 120 training racehorses!
Guarding our grasslands
Grasslands once covered a third of Victoria, vital as important ecosystems that support a host of endemic plants and animals. Now, as little as 5 per cent of those grasslands are left. The state and federal governments have failed in their commitment to protect 20 per cent of the Victorian Volcanic Plains by 2020. In fact, they had only acquired 10 per cent of the land they had originally committed to – and it was often of lower ecological importance than the land cleared for development.
We are campaigning to acquire and protect remaining grassland areas of higher quality. We are hosting a new Facilitator for the Grassy Plains Network and are now in an improved position to continue our work to protect our critically endangered grasslands.
Responding to fire in a changing climate
In the wake of the catastrophic 2019-20 fire season, the VNPA produced detailed submissions for four important state and federal inquires. Each submission was focused on the long-term protection of Victoria’s great natural heritage, whilst maintaining safety of the community.
We continue to analyse and follow up on recommendations from these inquiries and raise our scientifically-backed concerns regarding the damage control-burning can do to our natural areas.
Calling for wildlife refuges
The Black Summer bushfires scorched 1.25 million hectares across eastern Victoria, much of which was already fragmented – making the remaining unburnt forests critical for ongoing conservation efforts.
The After the Fires report, commissioned by the Victorian National Parks Association along with local conservation groups, identified ten unburnt wildlife refuge areas and exposed the abominable plans for 553 logging coupes (20,000 hectares), despite the Victorian environment department’s recommendation that logging should stop in key unburnt areas to allow for wildlife recovery.
This report has five recommendations to safeguard and allow the recovery of threatened species and their habitat after the bushfires, and was used to brief decision-makers and stakeholders. It is also a key resource for continuing advocacy for better protection of unburnt forests and is providing focus areas for wildlife monitoring efforts by local communities groups and our NatureWatch program.
Getting out into nature
When safe to do so, we have again offered many ways for the community to get involved with our work through citizen science programs and activities on land and along our coasts. We also offered webinars and online resources for the community to engage with nature from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our new Life After Fire citizen science project is supporting volunteers to monitor wildlife in East Gippsland and assist the recovery and protection of fire-affected areas. This year, volunteers also participated in forest tours of the proposed Great Forest National Park, which included spotlighting and ‘stagwatching’ for gliders.
During the pandemic, the community has recognised the incredible benefit of having wild places and wildlife on our doorstep. Over the last year, our activities sheets have inspired families to discover and learn about the nature around them. We are delighted that we could continue to offer this program to our community, when we all needed it most.
As well as continuing to count fish and photograph sea slugs, our ReefWatch citizen science program launched a new project, Marine Life of Victoria, using the iNaturalist platform. This will enhance our understanding of, and in turn our ability to conserve, marine life. To date, 76 volunteers have entered 12,032 observations of 806 species in our marine waters, many of which can only be found in the Southern Ocean.
This project was an important part of our Westernport BioBlitz event, which helped our community share their knowledge of Westernport’s amazing wildlife in support of our campaign to stop AGL’s proposed gas import terminal.
It is our honour to share the amazing achievements that your investment makes possible
In addition to the work above, we continue to highlight the adverse impacts of logging native forests, scrutinise and provide input into park management plans, and advocate for improved parks funding and better management of our unique natural areas right across the state.
Thank you for sharing the Victorian National Parks Association’s vision that Victoria will be a place with a diverse and healthy natural environment protected, respected and enjoyed by all.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 03 9341 6500 or [email protected]
You can help us achieve more wins for nature by making a tax-deductible donation at vnpa.org.au/donate