New Red Gum Parks a historic decision for Victoria

\NewEnvironment groups today applauded the Brumby Government’s announcement to create a chain of new River Red Gum National Parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers in northern Victoria. Groups described the commitment as one of the most significant in Victoria’s history.

New Red Gum Parks a historic decision for Victoria 

30 December 2008

Environment groups today applauded the Brumby Government’s announcement to create a chain of new River Red Gum National Parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers in northern Victoria. Groups described the commitment as one of the most significant in Victoria’s history.

The Victorian Government’s decision to create the River Red Gums national parks follows more than four years of independent investigations and public consultation, and will see a significant reduction in ecologically damaging logging and grazing.

Matt Ruchel, the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) executive director, said the creation of the parks was one of the most significant conservation commitments ever made in Victoria and congratulated the government for its far-sighted decision.

“It is great news for the environment that the Brumby government has stood by their 2006 election promise to protect the River Red Gum forests and wetlands in Victoria. These new parks will help protect hundreds of native pants and animals in what will be some of Victoria’s greatest National Parks.”

An investigation carried out by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) recommended that the government create around 100,000 hectares of new parks and reserves in public land from Lake Hume to the South Australian border.

Gavan McFadzean, The Wilderness Society’s state campaigns manager said it was a courageous decision by the Brumby government, based on strong science.

“The creation of red gum National Parks will help reduce climate change by protecting significant carbon banks and add resilience to the highly stressed Murray River system,” Mr McFadzean said.

Key features of the announcement include four new national parks at Barmah, Gunbower forests and wetlands, Lower Goulburn River and Ovens River National Parks, a new Murray River Park covering more than 1000 km of the Murray River frontage from Wodonga to Mildura and additions to the Murray-Sunset National Park and Terrick-Terrick National Parks.

Jonathan La Nauze, Friends of the Earth Red Gum campaigner, also applauded the historic decision to create Victoria’s first ever jointly managed national park.

“For the first time in Victoria, a national park will be co-managed with its Traditional Owners. This will not only deliver good environmental outcomes, but will help provide important social and economic outcomes for indigenous groups such as the Yorta Yorta people,” Mr La Nauze said.

Not all the VEAC recommendations were implemented and groups expressed concern over proposals for more recreational shooting in the new parks and reserves.

For comment contact:
Jonathan La Nauze, FoE: 0402 904 251
Matt Ruchel, VNPA: 0418 357 813
Nick Roberts 0429 945 429
Gavan McFadzean, TWS: 0414 754 023