ACTION UPDATE: 12 October 2021 |
It’s one of the worst moves for the integrity of national parks in decades.
The Victorian Government plans to hand over control of some of our most iconic national parks along the Great Ocean Road to a new tourism-driven authority.
The primary motive for managing our finest remaining natural areas should not be income generation. It should be conservation.
Yet we’ve just been notified this proposed bill will be debated, and likely passed, in Victorian Parliament’s Upper House THIS WEEK.
We need to tell our representatives RIGHT NOW not to support this backwards step in nature conservation.
It will put Parks Victoria in a subordinate role, handing crucial guardianship responsibilities under the National Parks Act 1975 to a tourism-focused authority. This is a national parks land grab by tourism interests.
One of the biggest issues is that new authority won’t be government-funded. It will have to generate income from carparks, campgrounds and other fees – a move that will put pressure on our already vulnerable parks.
Introducing new overriding legislation will strip protections and weaken the integrity of the parks estate. It sets a terrible precedent for environmental management across the state.
That’s why we need to urgently call on our MPs to not allow this legislation to pass the Legislative Council this week.
The Great Ocean Road is more than a road. It delivers spectacular access to some iconic land and sea scapes, including the world-famous Twelve Apostles Marine National Park and the Great Otway National Park with its lush forests and beautiful beaches.
National parks have been successfully protecting 80 per cent of the Great Ocean Road for decades.
There are significant issues with the management of increasing tourism along the road, and the assortment of campgrounds, parking areas, toilet blocks and other small areas of public land. It makes sense for a new agency to simplify and coordinate the road’s problematic facilities.
But it is a shocking territorial leap to snatch management of the national parks along the coastline as well.
Our national parks and their manager Parks Victoria need improved government funding, not a takeover.
The new law would fundamentally change the aim of park management. Instead of primarily protecting our native plants and animals and the landscape it would see managing the national parks as a ‘compromise’ between environmental management and the tourism economy.
Please send your message before this bill is debated in the Upper House. Our representatives need to know Victorians do not want it to pass.
Great care needs to be taken to ensure that Victoria’s prized natural areas are protected and to respect the purpose and value of our national parks