Further to Michael Norris' recent email.
The Environment Conservation Council (ECC) has just released its
recommendations for the use of public land in the Box-Ironbark region of
Victoria last week. As Michael pointed out these recommendations can be
found at www.nre.vic.gov.au/ecc/index.htm .
This region covers approximately 3 million hectares of the state of
Victoria, between the Great Dividing Range and the Murray River. Public
land in the Box-Ironbark region represents 14% of this area. The
Box-Ironbark Forests of Victoria contain the highest number of threatened
birds of any habitat in the State and a disproportionately high number of
declining bird species. Species such as Grey-crowned Babbler, Regent
Honeyeater, Barking Owl, Bush Stone-curlew, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin,
Crested Bellbird, Apostlebird, amongst too many others, have declined
dramatically in this area and local extinctions are becoming more widespread.
The ECC recommends that a series of National, State and Regional Parks be
established in Central Victoria to protect these ecosystems. These larger
of these parks will be created at Bendigo, Rushworth-Heathcote, St Arnaud,
with a large extension to the existing Chiltern National Park.
Even if all of the recommendations of the ECC are implemented this will
only protect 6.5% of the original extent of ecosystem, much better than the
current 2.4% but still much less than the government promise to protect 15%
of each forest type. It is unlikely that this level of protection will be
adequate in the long term. However the ECC recommendations are likely to be
strongly contested by the timber and mining industries and other
self-interest groups. It is vital that the government is made aware of the
support that these recommendations have or there is a very real chance that
this legislation could be defeated in parliament with NO new conservation
created. This is the best chance we will have to see a system of
conservation parks created in this area. If you are interested in the
conservation of the woodland birds of Victoria please make your views known
by contacting State politicians and media outlets. I have listed some
addresses below. Letters and submissions do not have to be lengthy or
technical, this is to some extent a numbers game, the more proconservation
letters the better. I would be happy to provide further information to
anyone who requires it.
VicGroup Conservation Officer.
WRITE or EMAIL:
The Age Newspaper
Letters to the Editor
The Honourable Steve Bracks
Premier and Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
1 Treasury Place, Melbourne 3002.
Phone 9651 5000. Fax 9651 5054.
The Honourable Sherryl Garbutt
Minister for Environment and Conservation
Level 17, 8 Nicholson St,
East Melbourne 3002
Mr Victor Peron
Shadow Minister for Environment and Conservation.
Suite 1, 861 Doncaster rd. Doncaster East 3109.
Phone 9840 1566. Fax 9840 1534.
Mr Denis Napthine
Leader of the Opposition
PO Box 293, Portland 3305.
Phone 9651 8512. Fax 9651 8426.
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