Creating more national parks is not feasible: MP

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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.”


9 Responses

  1. Tom White
    | Reply

    This whole National Park thing is pure lunacy.
    When National Parks are created, more management is required. More management means more cost.

    Parks Victoria (who will be charged with managing this park) is already struggling to cope. How will they cope if the area to be managed by them is doubled? – They won’t and other National Parks will suffer due to resources being spread too thinly.

    None of the land proposed in this park is privately owned. It is all State Forest or existing National Park. State parks are also managed by gov’t departments, but at a lower cost to the tax payer.
    This proposal won’t change the quality of the air we breathe or reduce climate change. It won’t even do much to save local fauna or flora. The only thing that will change is that the people who currently use the area will be excluded and the cost to manage it will go up.
    Us, the taxpayer, will then be charged a daily fee if we want to enter these parks (as in other National Parks) and much of the recreational value of the area will be restricted. Recreation is part of a healthy lifestyle and reducing access to it will therefore be unhealthy to our population.

    If not managed correctly, these huge National Parks become a monumental fire risk (I have already heard from a prominent member of the CFA that this will be the outcome if this proposal goes ahead). It is not people using these parks that start most bush-fires but poor management (read less fire management practices) leading to greater possibility of fire from lightning strikes.

    In 2003 & 2009 we saw 2 of the worst bush-fires the state has ever seen (with exception to 1939 which is beyond memory for most of us) and if we have massive forests locked up (such as with this plan), tackling such fires will be impossible. What will happen to the local fauna (& flora) if we have another massive fire of these proportions.

    The massive Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash) is one of the most prolific trees of this area and grows across much of the southern slopes in our state from Bonang in the east to the Otway Ranges in the west of the state and even down in Tasmania. Don’t be fooled by the greenies who want you to think otherwise.
    The main threat to this species is bush-fire. Swathes of forest across our state are now dead because of fires in 2003/2009. If you get around our state’s forested areas you will see thousands of hectares of dead forest that did not recover from these and other fires (grey and lifeless tree trunks) and it will be considerably worse if less access is available to fight fires where fuel has built up because of less fire reduction management (forests becoming overgrown).

    These parks are funded by our taxes. That means they should be there for the public to enjoy. But no, we will have to pay to use them in the future (just take a look at what’s happening on the Murray River camping areas and other N.P’s.).

    If you want to stop logging, you do not have to create a bloody huge National Park, it just needs a little bit of legislation to do so. I would be happy to see logging shut out of this area (particularly in the Snob’s Creek catchment).
    The problem is not the sawmills producing timber but the companies (and particularly VicForests – an arm of the state gov’t.) who do the clear felling mainly for wood chips to go to paper production (this is where about 80% of logs end up) and are sold for a song.
    Selective logging for timber production (which was practised right up until the 1970’s) should be investigated as an alternative to clear felling in sensitive areas. It is way less damaging for the environment but more costly to practice. If the public then need to pay more for quality timber products then that is a cost for them to bear. Victorian timbers are way cheaper than those from other states anyway so a bit of additional cost will help sustain the forest and the industry. This (clear-felling) practice is what gives logging such a bad reputation.

    To add insult to injury, this is not the only National Park these people want created. They also want to turn the Wombat Forest (between Woodend & Daylesford) into a National Park. Most of these people wanting these parks live in the city and think what a “great idea” and know very little about our country regions.
    If they had their way, the whole state would be a National Park.

    As an avid angler, I am also a conservationist and believe that our streams and associated habitat are most important. (Healthy water = healthy fish).

    I grew up in regional Victoria near the Wombat Forest (although I now live in Melbourne) and have also worked in the timber industry for most of my life. I am proudly a member of both Native Fish Australia and Australian Trout Foundation and here to tell you all that recreational angling groups across the state are working diligently in conjunction with relevant gov’t. bodies in restoring our damaged waterways back to good health. Shutting us out will not be without its consequences.

    If local communities think creating this National Park will bring in extra tourism, they need think again. People who enjoy getting out in nature are probably already using these areas and many of the current visitors are hunters or fishers. If they are excluded, then some towns in this region may well collapse as some are dependant on such visitors to survive.

    Don’t be fooled, this proposal is not a good thing for the state.

  2. brenton rittberger
    | Reply

    More National park rangers. More school excursions to the parks, more national parks, no more logging old and mixed growth native forest. Plantation timber and hemp now. Ban fracking forever . If the lib/nats blackmail Victoria into CSG , march on Parliament, succeed !!!. Hand back the water to the community. Bust the Cubby Station dam, remove Harrison’s pumps permanently.Water for the rivers and environment, Water for local food and drinking, Then water for our own community gardens and domestic use and swimming pools and sports fields. Then local manufacture. The greed driven broken a amoral capitalist state can argue that Coca Cola and plonk are of higher need for water than the environment. Similar greed based argument to why we support negative gearing , so that our own young people who need a home are denied by investors buying 3rd 4th etc…. properties. And we all know that without stable housing creating a home is not possible and we all know the consequences of that.Take the investment properties off the rich , this is an emergency.

  3. Sandra Hawkins
    | Reply

    These areas of land need the protections afforded them by National Park status. The services provided to us by our natural areas are grossly underestimated and largely unrecognised. Clean air and water, climate regulation, even genetic material for medical purposes are provided by protected places for our native fauna and flora.

  4. Abbey Ellsworth
    | Reply

    Are you looking for and excuse to minimise our national parks by stating that the Victorian government cannot afford what we have or, are you looking to the public for ideas on how to keep and improve, not only what we have, but to come up with some effective ideas on how we CAN afford to keep it all going? I totally agree with your statement about weeds and feral pests but, are you suggesting that we all throw our hands up in the air and say – this is all too hard, so we’ll just take the easy way out and make this into yet another lovely barren country. I’m not sure what you are getting at.

  5. Eleanor Fitz
    | Reply

    I am with you Daniel, there are other more pressing issues that need government attention

  6. Anthony Lunken
    | Reply

    Of course there is an element of truth that more money should be spent on caring for the land that is already designated as National Parks. That does not rule out the need for further nurture of our natural resources as a way of mitigating climate change. Governments spend billions of dollars on building roads that only increase pollution, but pay little towards protecting and nuturing the land that provides us with clean and healthy air.

  7. John Bowman
    | Reply

    More national parks should be set up for indigenous flora and fauna to enjoy not people.

  8. David Rothfield
    | Reply

    To appreciate the need for national parks, you must first appeciate that the land the water and the ecosystems that inhabit those spaces and on which we humans depend for our health and well being are all eing degraded due pressures from human civilisation and from climate change, also a prodct of human civilisation.

    National Parks provide the space needed to protect natural ecosystems and provide us with fresh air and fresh water on which life depends. Providing funds for national parks is a good investment for our future.

  9. Judith Mann
    | Reply

    Congratulations on taking this stand as the existing National Parks are deserving of more protection and resourcing rather than stretching funding even further. National Parks should be set up for people to use and enjoy.

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