The following alert comes from the Victorian National Parks Association.
Our national parks are under attack, yet again!
The Baillieu Government has asked the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to make recommendations to introduce recreational prospecting into sections of up to nine national parks in eastern Victoria.
- VEAC cannot recommend that there should be no prospecting allowed in the parks, even if it reports that such activity would be harmful to the parks.
- VEAC has been given a very short time to gather evidence and make appropriate recommendations, indeed this will be the shortest ever VEAC investigation, and will largely take place over the holiday period.
- Prospecting with metal detectors can erode streamsides, harm rare plants and spread pathogens such as Phytophthora and Chitrid Fungus. But evidence-based information relating to both the impacts of fossicking and the complex geology of Victoria is not readily available. More time is definitely needed for this investigation.
- There will be no draft report, and only one period of public consultation.
Please write to VEAC, Victoria’s environment minister, and our energy and resources minister, saying:
- The terms of reference are flawed, because VEAC is forced to introduce fossicking to eastern Victorian parks, even if it decides the activity is harmful.
- There is no demonstrated high interest in fossicking in the eastern part of Victoria, even though vast areas of state forest are already available for that activity.
- There is absolutely no urgency for this investigation, so there is no need for such a tight timeline (and VEAC’s resources are already stretched, with two current investigations – Marine Parks and Yellingbo).
For more information, read the article Prospecting in Wonderland by Phil Ingamells in the latest edition of our magazine Park Watch.
For details of the investigation visit the VEAC website.
Please, send a message now to Victoria’s environment minister, Ryan Smith, and the energy and resources minister Michael O’Brien saying that you are not happy with the restrictive terms of reference for this investigation, and that the timeline is far too short.
Please add your own concerns, and any of the information above.
Hon Michael O’Brien
Minister for Energy and Resources
Hon Ryan Smith
Minster for the Environment and Climate Change