Bracks gets mandate to protect red gums in 4 new National Parks

The Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) has handed down an outstanding set of draft recommendations to protect remaining red gum wetlands along the Murray and its tributaries.

media release


Bracks gets mandate to protect red gums in 4 new National Parks

19 July 2007 - with the Victorian National Parks Association and The Wilderness Society

The Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) has handed down an outstanding set of draft recommendations to protect remaining red gum wetlands along the Murray and its tributaries.

“Government reports show that 75% of River Red Gum is stressed, dead or dying. What is left must be protected now. There will be enormous environmental, social and economic benefits if these recommendations are strengthened and adopted by the Bracks government,” said Nick Roberts, Victorian National Parks Association Red Gum Icons Project Coordinator.

“Premier Bracks made a pre election promise last year to deliver on VEAC’s recommendations. VEAC has given the Premier the mandate he needs to protect red gum wetlands for future generations,” said Jonathan La Nauze, Friends of the Earth Red Gum Campaign Coordinator.

“Australia’s unique red gum forests are home to almost 300 threatened and endangered plants and animals, while Indigenous Nations along the River Murray have thousands of years of connection to their traditional country,” said Gavan McFadzean, Campaigns Manager for The Wilderness Society.

“But they also act as water filters and carbon stores. Logging, grazing and lack of flooding is putting the survival of red gum at risk,” said Mr McFadzean.

“Red gum old growth forests provide nesting sites to thousands of waterbirds and feeding areas are recognised as globally significant for migratory birds from north Asia such as the Japanese Snipe and the Spine-tailed swift,” said Mr McFadzean.

“They are habitat for the majority of threatened species in northern Victoria, including the Barking owl, Blue billed duck, Squirrel glider, Carpet python and Murray Cod,” said Mr Roberts. “But the Gunbower forest is an internationally significant wetland that has missed out on real protection”

VEAC released excellent draft recommendations in its report released today, including:

  1. The creation of 4 new National Parks and an extension the Murray Sunset National Park;
  2. Exclusion of grazing and reduction in logging by 70%;
  3. Establishing Aboriginal co-management for Barmah and Nyah-Vinifera forests and changing the National Parks Act to allow hand back/lease back arrangements with Aboriginal people;
  4. Recovering 4000 gigalitres of environmental water for wetland forests over 5 years.

But VEAC failed to make other recommendations which government should adopt including:

  1. All of Gunbower forest must be protected as National Park, instead of only 30% to allow logging to destroy the remaining 70% of this forest;
  2. Logging should be completely phased out in red gum forests with 8 years;
  3. A timeline to establish hand back/leaseback arrangements for Barmah and Nyah forests;
  4. Immediate end to logging due to DSE admission of unsustainable levels of logging.


Further comment: Jonathan la Nauze, 0402 904 251