Help keep gold prospecting out of national parks!

The Baillieu Government wants to give prospectors and fossickers more freedom to dig up our most treasured national parks.The government has directed the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to recommend that prospectors and fossickers should be permitted to expand their activities into the Alpine, Yarra Ranges, Baw Baw, Croajingolong, Errinundra, Lake Eildon, Lind and Mitchell River national parks, as well as the Lerderderg State Park.

Fossicking is already allowed in a number of Box-Ironbark parks in central Victoria. But despite a requirement that park managers monitor the impact of this damaging activity, no assessment has been carried out.

Prospecting in Victoria's national parks
> Take action

Our national parks are there to conserve our precious natural environments.

Please join us. VEAC cannot recommend that prospecting not be permitted in all of the parks, even if that is what its evidence shows.

PLEASE send your comments to the VEAC investigation by the deadline of Monday, 18 February 2013.

There are two easy ways to send a submission:


Just add your comments to our online submission and click SEND.

Quick email submission


In your own words, tell the government why our national parks should not be used for damaging activities like prospecting and gold panning.

Some suggestions:

  • Fossicking (metal detecting, digging holes and panning for gold) causes unnecessary damage to streamsides, and can threaten rare species such as ground orchids.
  • Our national parks are set aside to protect our natural areas for future generations. They are there for passive recreation, not exploitation.
  • Many of the rivers that flow through these parks are already listed as Heritage Rivers, and Natural Catchments. These additional levels of protection should be respected.
  • Fossicking is already allowed in a number of Box-Ironbark parks in central Victoria. But there has been no monitoring of their impacts as required by park management plans.
  • Fossicking and panning damages streamsides, causes erosion, and silts up rivers. In old gold-bearing streams, already worked over many years ago, mercury and other pollutants can be released into streams when soil is disturbed.
  • Fossicking and gold panning can damage the many important Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in the region.
  • While prospectors insist they behave responsibly, many don’t. The parks in the investigation area are in relatively remote areas, and fossickers’ activities will be difficult if not impossible to supervise or monitor.
  • Managing prospectors and fossicking will take park rangers away from other essential activities, at a time when staff numbers are already well below what’s needed for park management.
  • Many rivers, streams and catchments are important for rural, regional and city water supplies. We should be aiming to improve their condition, not compromise it.
  • There is already plenty of opportunity to fossick for gold in the extensive State Forest areas in eastern Victoria, outside national parks.
  • VEAC should have the opportunity to recommend no prospecting in parks, but the government has already decided that prospecting will be allowed in nine new parks (Alpine, Yarra Ranges, Baw Baw, Croajingolong, Errinundra, Lake Eildon, Lind and Mitchell River, and Lerderderg State Park).

Send your submission by Monday 18 February 2013 to:


Or if sending by mail address your submission to:

Level 6, 8 Nicholson St
East Melbourne 3002
Victoria, Australia

More information

The VEAC website has lots if useful information including maps and park overviews.

VEAC website

Read Phil Ingamells’ analysis of this issue in his article ‘Prospecting in Wonderland’.

Prospecting in Wonderland

5 thoughts on “Help keep gold prospecting out of national parks!”

  1. All well and good BUT where is your proof that mining “gold panning, digging holes etc etc does ANY permanent damage??? Do you have a test case…well yes we do! 150 years ago over 50,000 people flooded into Victoria digging holes, panning, sluicing, etc and guess what? MOST if not all places have completely recovered all by themselves! ONE flood does more damage then ALL these miners did in all the years following the gold rushes and the rivers and bush have recovered! And your worried about a hand full of people going into the bush doing a little prospecting? And if your argument is, well there are a few irresponsible prospectors that will damage something then the same could be said for bush walkers and greenies! so what do we do? ban everyone from the bush? maybe lock everyone in cages! that would work!, But the truth is they none of these people are doing any permanent harm to ANYTHING, Maybe go have a look at the damage the logging industries and paper mill industries do in Gippsland, hundreds and thousands of acres destroyed! and NO one bats an eyelid! and ALL Government funded! you people are totally wrong and need to reassess your twisted ideas, OBVIOUSLY city folk without a clue!

    [a note from Cam.

    This post is a great example of the type of selfish, parochial self interest that threatens so much of our country. Tom, national parks are primarily about us leaving some space for the rest of nature/ biodiversity. We actively intervene everywhere else in the state, national parks are some of the very few places where human needs aren’t the primary imperative when it comes to taking decisions about land management. But some people are endlessly greedy and always want more, and cannot accept that maybe we can leave a few places alone, without the need for them to serve our interests. These people argue for 4WD access, logging, grazing, developments in parks, and now prospecting.

    So, if you want to support undermining the national park estate, which have been created through decades of campaigning, the onus is on you to prove that the activity – in this case prospecting – won’t damage the park. Its not up to me, or anyone else who supports having protected areas, to prove that prospecting is ok. Its not our agenda, its yours.

    And if you want to use an example, then why use the gold rush? Tom uses the same old tired cliché always wheeled out by ‘wise use’ advocates – ‘greenies must live in the city’ etc. But I live in Central VIC and everyday I see how its taken >150 years for the land to recover from mining, and many places still have not.

    And then there is your stupid claim that when it comes to logging ‘NO one bats an eyelid’. Where have you been for the last 30 years Tom? THE main green issue in Victoria for the past 3 decades has been the struggle over logging. What planet do you live on?

    Thanks for your selfish, clichéd and stupid comment.

    1. There is always people doing the wrong thing BUT
      One day there may be to many people in Australia to manage
      start concentrating on people who do the wrong things this is our place born and breed, how will our kids be when thy grow up – No camping allowed in the bush – No Hunting – No gold prospecting – no fishing – no 4×4 – NO NO NO – Just play with you tablet and sit in you room, i know this land so will my children.
      Australia is SOFT only a matter of time before we the public stick together and all say no more because we are sick of government pen jockeys take take take Tax, Fuel, land whatever, this used to be a good country but now its getting beyond a joke especially with people that make rules and spend no time with nature, every time we get ahead a new law a new tax or just shot down etc. Allot of us spend every spare moment getting away from the big smoke.
      Many of you people are over educated and don’t know the bush. Rules are good just do it right.
      This could go on & on. Most of us do the right thing!
      Stop trying to take away our enjoyment and future.

      Go Away

      [from Cam
      Gee, you don’t like the 21st century much, do you Bren?

      Its all just a conspiracy by over educated pen pushers to take your rights away and force us into a room with our ipads? Yeah, ok. And without taxes, how do we pay for all the stuff we take for granted – like the roads we use to access the places we go camping?

      This is another example of the selfish approach that some people take to managing land: its all about them and what they want, not anyone else. They should just have the right to do whatever they want, etc … However if you think about it in the bigger picture, not just in your huffy self interested mind frame, you will know that public lands are under pressure. And like you say, there will be ever more people in future. I reckon that is a compelling case to make sure we protect our public lands from over use, to make sure they are still wonderful places for our kids and their kids. You can 4WD, fish, camp across most of our public lands, and I support that continuing. National Parks are just the bits where its not about YOU so much as being about the NATURE that you say you like so much.

      I’m glad you’re getting your kids out on the country you love. I am doing the same. Have fun out there.]

  2. You people disgust me. Prospectors do absolutely no harm to the bush. Get a life you douchebags and stop trying to get everything that you don’t participate in banned.

    [comment from Cam.
    Thanks for sharing that with the class, Brad.

    We have been getting some commentary from the prospecting brigade because of some debate on a gold detecting website. Lots of shrill and misinformed commentary about the ‘elite’ locking out the poor old guys that just want to do some prospecting (and everyone else, apparently).

    I won’t approve most of the comments as they are just the usual mis informed and selfish rants that don’t really add anything to the debate, but i did enjoy this:
    “Here we have a situation where an EXTREMELY SMALL minority group of radicals and extremist with rock and plant fetishes can control what the majority can and cannot do”.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go and fondle some plants

    1. if people that want to whinge about any mining/prospecting they should gather up all of their mineral/metal made objects and shelf them(oh and anything made of wood for u logging whingers) .
      please give me your feedback in the form of a “bullroarer” message to reduce the toll on the environment because you cannot use your pc (because of the metal content and probable non renewable energy running it) lol guys find a hobby that dose not involve wreaking other peoples hobbies as the main thing to do :)

      [note from Cam. Yes, this guy is a charmer isn’t he? And full marks for completely missing the point]

  3. its so easy to blame prospectors for damage caused but what about cars, motorbikes, strollers, tents, walkers and their rubbish. what about mother nature… wow she does some damage in a flood. common guys get real most of the prospectors i know respect the bush and spent more time in it than any of you.

    [note from Cam. So, because other people make a mess in the bush we should allow prospectors in to make an additional mess? That’s an interesting line of thinking.

    And I didn’t realise it was a competition about who was spending more time out doors. I have no idea how much time you spend in parks, Dustin. Why come up with one of those dumb throw away lines like that and make an assumption about another group? It adds nothing to the debate.]

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