Attentive readers will have noticed the brief kerfuffle in January on the release of the Parks Victoria 2014-5 Annual Report. You can read the report here.
Interest has centred around the fact that Government funding to PV had been slashed by 37% in the time of the Coalition State Government. This statistic should come as no surprise to anyone following the fortunes of Parks and DELWP over the years. The relevant table can be found on page 25 of the report. It shows that Government funding in 2011 was $110 million, in 2012 it went to $122 million, then dropped steeply, to $76 million by 2015.
The result, of course, is that PV is less able to do what it’s supposed to do, in the way of basic land management, weed and feral animal control, research, education and other programs.
In the December issue of Parkwatch, Robert Bender calculates that staff numbers at Parks Victoria have decreased by 6-7% per year since 2011. Making a crude but useful calculation, he finds that in 2011 each Parks employee was responsible for looking after 3700 hectares of land; by 2015 it was 4540 hectares. The obvious increase in workload inevitably means that, no matter how dedicated a given ranger [or support person] might be, the task of doing the job properly is becoming impossible. It’s not surprising that there are press reports talk of increasing pressure, stress and demoralisation in PV.