Liberals must support historic parks legislation, say green groups

Environment groups today congratulated the Brumby Government’s decision to legislate for a chain of new River Red Gum National Parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers in northern Victoria.

MEDIA RELEASE
The Victorian National Parks Association / Friends of the Earth / Australian Conservation Foundation / The Wilderness Society / Environment Victoria
Thursday 15 October, 2009

Liberals must support historic parks legislation, say green groups

Environment groups today congratulated the Brumby Government’s decision to legislate for a chain of new River Red Gum National Parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers in northern Victoria.

The Australian Conservation Foundation, Friends of the Earth, The Wilderness Society, the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) and Environment Victoria have described the commitment as one of the most significant in Victoria’s history and called on the Liberal party to support the legislation in the Upper House.

“The creation of the parks is one of the most significant conservation commitments ever made in Victoria and we congratulate the government for its far-sighted decision,” VNPA spokesperson Nick Roberts said.

“It is great news for the environment that the Brumby Government has stood by its 2006 election promise to protect the River Red Gum forests and wetlands in Victoria.”

ACF spokesperson Lindsay Hesketh said, “These new parks will help protect hundreds of native plants and animals in what will be some of Victoria’s greatest national parks.”

Jonathan La Nauze, Friends of the Earth Red Gum campaigner, also applauded the historic step to create Victoria’s first ever co-managed national park.
 
“For the first time in Victoria, the Brumby Government is establishing parks in partnership with Traditional Owners. Indigenous co-management will deliver not only the best environmental outcomes, but important social and economic outcomes for the Yorta Yorta and Wadi Wadi peoples,” he said.

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

The investigation was carried out by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) whose predecessor, the Lands Conservation Council, was set up by the Liberal Party.

“It will set an extraordinary precedent if the Victorian Liberal party fails to support this legislation,” Mr Roberts said

“Past VEAC investigations and recommendations have all received bi-partisan support from the Liberals. The Party must stand up and support the protection of our iconic River Red Gum wetlands.”

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.

For further comments contact: Jonathan La Nauze, FoE: 0402 904 251, Nick Roberts VNPA: 0429 945 429, Gavan McFadzean, TWS: 0414 754 023, Lindsay Hesketh on 0418 655 551.