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Outrage Grows Over Victorian National Parks Plan

Outdoor enthusiasts across Victoria are expressing growing outrage over the Labor Government’s plans to establish new National Parks in the Central Highlands and Gippsland regions. This initiative, led by the Allan Labor Government, aims to expand the Central Highlands National Park and create the long-debated Great Forest National Park (GFNP).

The proposed parks have sparked concern among a diverse group of outdoor activity aficionados, including hunters, 4WDers, fishers, and horse riders. These groups fear that the new parks will effectively lock them out of large swaths of the state’s cherished outdoor recreation areas.

In response to these concerns, a Parliamentary e-petition has been launched, garnering 5,124 signatures to date. Supported by Narracan MP Wayne Farnham, the petition urges the Legislative Assembly to reconsider the park plans, as reported by the Sporting Shooter.

The petition reads, in part: “Communities are concerned that this will mean areas of state park, forest, and bush are not accessible and will lock out users from a range of activities, including bushwalking, 4×4, motorbiking, horse riding, hunting, fishing, camping, and other similar activities.

The petition highlights the potential negative impact on user groups and local communities, noting that restricted access could significantly reduce tourism and visitation. 

“The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Assembly call on the Allan Labor Government to not create any new national parks and keep our forest regions and bush open for public access and enjoyment,” it concludes.

Jeff Bourman, MP for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, has been particularly vocal in his opposition. He argues that public land should remain open and accessible, criticizing the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) for its perceived bias towards environmental conservation at the expense of recreational users. 

Bourman has called for VEAC to be defunded, suggesting that the funds be allocated to a new body that considers all land use options. “We don’t need VEAC and it should be defunded with the money going to a body that will consider all land use, not just the ‘lock it up and leave’ option,” Bourman said.

According to data from the Victorian Government, the proposed GFNP and other new parks are intended to protect biodiversity and preserve natural habitats in the face of increasing environmental pressures. Proponents of the parks argue that these measures are essential for conserving wildlife and ensuring the long-term health of the region’s ecosystems.

However, the debate over the proposed parks underscores a broader struggle between environmental conservation efforts and recreational land use. Critics emphasize the need to balance conservation with public access, arguing that outdoor enthusiasts should not be excluded from enjoying natural spaces.

The legislative process for establishing new National Parks involves significant community consultation and governmental review. The current e-petition will remain open until August 12, providing an opportunity for Victorian residents to voice their opposition to the government’s plans.

The outcome of this debate could have significant implications for future land use and outdoor recreation policies in Victoria. As the controversy continues, the Victorian community remains divided over the best approach to managing the state’s natural resources

The ongoing discussion highlights the importance of finding a solution that supports both environmental conservation and public enjoyment of these natural spaces.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Outrage Grows Over Victorian National Parks Plan! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/australia/outrage-grows-over-victorian-national-parks-plan/