Central West forests: on the whole, a good outcome

You wouldn’t know it from the thunderous silence in most of the media, but last Thursday the Victorian Government tabled its long delayed response to the recommendations of VEAC on the Central West forests. (see our reports on this saga here and here ).

The government has accepted the VEAC recommendation for a new Wombat-Lerderderg national park.

Here’s an abridged report from the VEFN:

‘The Government has committed to create a new Wombat-Lerderderg National Park; Mount Buangor National Park and the Pyrenees National Park and a number of other parks and reserves throughout the region.

‘The Government’s response comes just over 2 years after the VEAC Final report was released on 21 June 2019. The response was tabled in parliament without any explanation of the extensive delays.

‘Environment groups such as Wombat Forestcare and VNPA  who have long campaigned for the creation of these National Parks, welcomed the Government report, but expressed caution that the fight is not entirely over.

‘Government legislation is required to give effect to the key recommendations and this could take at least 12 to 18 months. While exploration and mining will naturally be excluded in the new National parks, this will not apply to continuing operations within existing permits and licences. A number of companies have moved to peg exploration licences across the area since the release of the VEAC recommendations in June 2019.’

Full details on this matter will emerge as the legislation is developed.

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2 Responses to Central West forests: on the whole, a good outcome

  1. Wendy Radford says:

    Unfortunately the government response for the Wellsford State Forest on the doorstep of Bendigo is inadequate to protect it into the future, or ensure biodiversity maintenance.
    The area has been declared Regional Park only, thus allowing mining and continued firewood cutting until 2029. The response ensures us that outfits like Fosterville Mines and Outback Mining (Canadian) will only be allowed to cause “minimal damage” to the surface of the mines. But there is no definition of “minimal damage”, and no stated provision for Special Protection Zones. Whilst the Regional Park will be administered under the National Parks Act, and thus have more sympathetic management than with DELWP, it is still open to the damage that firewood collection does. Vehicles rolling over the fragile undergrowth, chain saws removing habitat, unsupervised illegal taking of trees both within and without designated firewood collection coupes, no permit system, no monitoring of populations of endangered flora and fauna either before or after coupes are exhausted. This is a very poor outcome for the last large block of Box and Ironbark forest in good condition, right on Bendigo’s doorstep. If left as is the government decision will diminish the values that made VEAC recommend the National Park in the Wellsford.

    • fobif says:

      You’re right Wendy: that was the gist of our ‘on the whole’…There are other problems, too. But ‘on the whole’ the decision was a positive one.

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