Environmental activists calling for the Victorian Government to establish a type of quota system for the creation of national parks are being naive, Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young said.
“A small group is relentlessly pushing an ill-conceived agenda to place an additional 355,000 hectares of land that would become a national park in the Central Highlands under the management of Parks Victoria, which is struggling to maintain the current parks system,” Mr Young said.
A member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Mr Young’s comments are in response to a recent article by the Victorian National Parks Association critical of the rate at which the Andrew’s Government has created national parks since 2014.
“The criticism is that for each term of government more and more land should be locked up as a national park,” Mr Young said. “There is no justification to create national parks for the sake of creating national parks.
“The state already manages 18 percent of Victoria’s land mass, including 45 national parks. It is naïve to think the government can and should continue to amass public land holdings without a feasible or sustainable plan to maintain them.
“The Victorian taxpayer should not be burdened with the cost of creating a new national park when the current park system has a number of problems that should be addressed and fixed first.”
Within the Central Highlands area being targeted by the Victorian National Parks Association there already exists thousands of hectares of national parks, state parks, state forests and reserves.
“A national park caters to a small demographic but excludes access to certain users,” Mr Young said.
“There is currently a reasonable balance of multi-use parks within the Central Highlands area that are under threat by activists.
“I support the view that any additional money allocated to Parks Victoria should be used to enhance and properly maintain the abundance of land already available for all sorts of users, not the creation of a new mega national park full of pests and weeds.
“To triple the size of national parks in the Central Highlands is not feasible, and risks creating more problems the state lacks funding to fix.”