With the price of gold rising rapidly, much of regional Victoria is seeing renewed interest from mining companies, who are seeking exploration licences. In the Upper Ovens and Kiewa Valleys, there is strong local opposition to mining. A survey of local attitudes to mining highlights that gold mining does not have social license to operate in these areas.
The group No Gold Drilling (and no more gold mining) in Our Shire Valleys has released the results from their survey:
The Facebook group objecting to gold mining in the Ovens Valley has launched a survey to get Alpine Shire people’s views towards the future of gold-mining in the Alpine Shire.
It comes as a gold exploration company has been drilling in the Havilah Valley in recent weeks.
There are many exploratory licences applicable to the upper Ovens Valley. And there are 2 applications for gold exploratory drilling waiting for approval covering areas south of Yackandandah, Wandiligong, all the upper Ovens Valley to Harrietville and a strip down the western side of Kiewa Valley near Mt Beauty.
“We were getting clear indications many people in the Alpine Shire were not happy with the exploratory drilling and the prospect of new gold mines in the area” said Col Finnie, administrator of the group. “But we thought it was time to find out what ratepayers and residents of the Shire think, hence launching a Survey Monkey survey.”
Ten projects in Indi (north eastern Victoria) have received funding through the federal governments Local Economic Recovery (LER) program for bushfire recovery.
Local Member for Indi, Helen Haines, says: ‘They will bring new jobs and attract tourism, and I’m so proud to see the hard work and initiative of our region recognised by this investment.
‘It is fantastic that the Alpine resorts have received $7 million for three transformational projects. The resorts were hit hard by the fires and then COVID-19, and yet inexplicably, the Government had initially excluded them from the bushfire recovery funding.
‘There is also great news for tourism in our region here. $5 million for the Great River Road, upgrades to the Alpine Hotel and Bright Velo will help position our region for a strong economic recovery, creating sustainable jobs by bringing tourists to our wonderful region’.
An Exploratory Licence application for gold is with the Victorian government’s Earth Resources department for the upper Ovens Valley. The deadline for objections is 23 December. The best time to stop a destructive project is before it gets going. Please add your voice to the strong community campaign against this proposal.
Governments and companies often dismiss opposition to exploration, saying that ‘any environmental issues will be considered’ if the proposal moves toward a mining application. But the more money the miner puts into the project, the more they will push through with the proposal to commercialise. The best time to stop it is before exploration starts. And if a project has no social license to operate, why approve exploration? There is strong local opposition to gold exploration in the Upper Ovens. In a time of climate change, where water flows are expected to decline over time, the river systems that rise in the Victorian Alps will become even more important for downstream communities and environments. Why would we risk such a significant river system for short term gain for a mining company?
The Victorian Government has announced it is ‘investing in the future of Mount Buffalo as a 12-months-a-year tourism destination through support for new “eco pod” accommodation’ at a cost of $1.5 million. The government is also seeking private investment for a cafe within the Mount Buffalo Chalet.
The following is from a media release from the Victorian premier.
Finally, after affecting more than 1.5 million hectares of Victoria, all the fires are out. It’s the same story in NSW and the ACT and towns are fully ‘open for business’. Of course all mountain areas have suffered economically over summer, with lost business and less work. While some areas remain closed (for instance, significant sections of the Australian Alps Walking Track remain closed) the vast majority of mountains areas are getting on with life.
Now is the time to get out and visit mountain areas and spend up big, to help communities get back on their feet.
Community energy gives local towns and regions power over how they generate and consume electricity. Locally generated renewable energy will create local jobs, cleaner energy and allow the community to control where their energy comes from.
Come find out how community energy can benefit Bright and our region. Three great speakers who are leaders in this field will outline what community energy is and how we can benefit from it.
This is another great guide to north east Victoria. Like the Walk and Trails guide, the Bright and Surrounds cycle guide provides a fantastic introduction to all types of riding in the area from Myrtleford to Mt Beauty and Falls Creek to Dinner Plain.
It includes easy, family friendly riding, road riding options and the many shared trails (including the popular Rail Trails) plus details on Mountain bike riding. It is produced by the Alpine Shire. You can get free copies in local tourist information centres or download it as a pdf here.
The Alpine Shire has produced a great walking guide for the areas between Myrtleford and Mt Beauty to Dinner Plain and back to Harrietville. Operating through the ‘Bright & Surrounds‘ tourist info program, the guide offers descriptions for walks in and around key towns plus wilder destinations like the Alpine National Park, Mt Bogong and the Buffalo Plateau.
Paper copies are available from tourist information centres in north eastern towns or online here.
This excellent resource aims to get more visitors to the region out on walking tracks, and makes it easy for first timers by providing full details on the distance and difficulty and notes for more than 65 walks.
The resurrection of the landmark Mount Buffalo Chalet is a step closer to reality after the state government agreed to help a local community group develop a plan to redevelop the building.
The government will give it a 12-month deadline and $200,000 to develop a viable business model that will redevelop and operate the 100-year-old chalet. The building is Victoria’s first ski lodge and was a plum holiday destination for Melbourne’s wealthy.
The community group, known as the Mount Buffalo Community Enterprise, has 16 shareholders, including well-known local business figures such as John Brown of Brown Brothers Wines and Tom O’Toole from the Beechworth Bakery. But the biggest name among shareholders is former deputy prime minister and current ambassador to the Vatican, Tim Fischer.
The group pledged that if it revived the chalet, it would distribute 51 per cent of profits to a community foundation, with the balance to be shared between investors.
From the article Mt Buffalo’s ‘grande dame’ wins powerful new friends by Darren Gray, The Age, October 29, 2010.
For the full story, check here.