We want to extend our thanks to all our community for supporting the Victorian National Parks Association. With you on our side, this past financial year we’ve continued to give Victoria’s natural environment a voice.
Some of this year’s achievements include:
- Following years of work with local groups, we were delighted to see the long-awaited addition of the Anglesea Heathland into the Greater Otway National Park! We’ve also presented detailed submissions calling for the protection of important wetlands at (near Geelong) and establishment of a new Marine and Coastal Act for Victoria.
- We’ve continued to push for more funding for national parks, including the delivery of a petition to the Andrews Government. We’ve helped get an increase in parks funding, but as you would know, more is needed. We’re also continuing to highlight the many threats parks face from pest plants and animals, and fire.
- We were invited to work with the state government on Victoria’s new state-wide biodiversity plan, Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037, the first in 20 years. We’re also working to improve the native vegetation clearing rules, which are critical for protecting remaining habitat on private land.
- We’ve continued to oppose inappropriate commercial developments in our national parks; and we’ve presented detailed submissions and public commentary on the new master plan for Pt Nepean National Park, the poorly conceived Hotham to Falls Track, the proposed commercial jet boat tours at Wilsons Promontory, and the bid for massive development at Mt Buffalo National Park.
- The fight for our forests continues across both the east and the west of state. We continue to work with others to push for a Great Forest National Park in the east, and we’ve presented the impacts of proposed logging in our Western Forests and Woodlands at Risk report. With colleagues, we’ve successfully pushed for the commencement of a new independent inquiry on the Wombat, Mt Cole, Pyrenees and Wellsford state forests in central western Victoria – we believe these state forests are worthy of being protected under the National Parks Act!
- In fact, through our NatureWatch ‘Caught on Camera’ project, we’re seeing a diversity of bird and mammal species in the Wombat State Forest, including southern boobooks.
- Along the coast we’re continuing to work with local groups to campaign the environment and racing ministers to change the unacceptable use of beaches at Belfast Coastal Reserve (near Warrnambool) by commercial horse trainers, and the associated impacts on tiny beach-nesting hooded plovers. Horses and hooded plovers don’t mix, and we’ve found this is likely an unlawful use of this important area.
- And under the sea, we’re thrilled to have our ReefWatch program back in action. The 2016 Great Victorian Fish Count saw more than 400 divers take part, and many sightings of the blue groper.
- In April, we were excited to launch our new family-engagement program, Wild Families. It’s designed to support families with children under 12 years old to take journeys of discovery together, based on the themes of enjoying, learning about, and looking after nature together.
These are just some of the many successes you helped us achieve last financial year. Thank you!
With your backing, and through hard work and determination, together we are making progress towards ensuring that future generations can also enjoy our national parks and special natural places.