Saturday, 23 February 2013

Raping yet another National Park in Victoria - Baillieu Govt excises important land to satisfy Falls Creek Alpine Resort. Money before nature.

Across the eastern seaboard, the LNP (Liberal-National Party coalitions) are destroying our national parks. In Queensland its development and quad bikes. In New South Wales, it is letting in hunting. In Victoria, it is development, prospecting and grazing cattle.  

Australia has a long and proud history of national parks.  The first national park in the world was/is Yellowstone in the USA.  The second national park in the world was/is the Jenolan Caves in New South Wales.

Australians have strongly supported nature conservation and national parks for almost 150 years.  The charge has, in the main, been led by middle-class environmentalists: bushwalkers, amateur scientists, educated people.  The working class had little leisure way back then and certainly little income to support an exit from the urbs and suburbs to the bush.  A lot of the people supporting nature conservation were, more than likely, conservative voters who, after Menzies initiated the Liberal Party in the 1940s, voted for a moderate Liberal Party.  

To-day the Liberal Party is no longer moderate. It is moneyed and libertarian.  The National Party is the conservative agricultural socialist brigade who rely on down and dirty rentiers and agripolitical (should that be aggropolitical?) organisations for their support.

Almost two years ago, a meeting was held at the Box Hill Town Hall in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to protest grazing in the Alpine National Park.   On past experience, it would be expected that such a meeting would be held in the Melbourne CBD.  The Box Hill Town Hall seats approximately 500-600 people.  This meeting was standing room only.  People came to that meeting who were not politically oriented.  Many came because they just love and frequent national parks and they don't want them vandalised or destroyed.  The Baillieu Government of Victoria doesn't seem to understand that there are votes for national parks.  And who votes for their degrading?  Rentiers and property developers.

Maria - that great friend of The Network has written to the Minister - the quiet, shy, retiring and little heard of Ryan Smith.
22 February 2013

Dear Minister Smith,
Victorian Minister for the Environment and Climate Change

I simply cannot understand how you can rezone 10ha away from the Alpine National Park system in an area that has some of the most fragile ecosystems in Australia and the fragile important moss beds that play a part on delivering water into the Murray river system. You have forgotten why this area was included in the National Park system.

Victoria, as I am sure you would know, has the most cleared land and the most loss of species in all of Australia. You simply cannot believe that yet another 10ha taken from the Alpine National Park will not have an avoidable impact.

Perhaps consultation with environment groups (as well as the rest of Victorians and in fact Australians) who know more about this system than a developer at Falls Creek who has a vested interest, thus is blinded by money, would be beneficial and indeed logical, especially since you are the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change and the impacts of yet another 10ha cleared, is totally irresponsible and unwelcome and unnecessary.

This area is put aside for nature, for not only this generation but for the next, to be marvelled at in its natural state. It is NOT for a developer to reap monitory short term gain from. It belongs to all of us! The activities that the developer mentions can be done elsewhere, in a state forest or on other lands that have NOT BEEN set aside for a National Park. For goodness sake!

You are the Minister for the Environment and your decisions so far have been in favour of developer, in favour of graziers and in favour of miners and irrigators and cities and of course loggers.

Approving cattle in the high country, indicating that prospecting does no damage in the National Park system, that so called 'thinning' of trees in National Parks does not have an impact, this decision excising 10ha in an area that feeds the MDB system is plainly illogical and has been made by you and the person at Falls Creek WITHOUT any input from the community who has every right to "participate in decision making" because you must or rather should, remember we live in a supposedly democratic country. Or is this government intent on destroying the little (and i mean little ) that has been set aside for future generations, and set aside to ensure that there is an ecological balance, not just a tilted avalanche biased towards developers, loggers, miners, prospectors, urban areas and this without any consultation what so ever...just in case we don't agree with you and the developer at Falls Creek.

The next thing I will hear is that you have approved hunting in National Parks like your counterparts in NSW. Ridiculous.

I ask that you return to the definition of the National Parks system, that you look at the reasons why they were originally set up in America and then think about what you are allowing to happen. And that as the Minister for the Environment!

I join the other voices of reason who say leave well enough alone, and in fact can you please just add that 12ha to the park system you suggest you will do anyway, because if it is as precious as you say and that developer person says, then it should Be happening anyway.

Can't you understand that the balance is simply weighted towards humans, towards governments who are in there for a short while, wreak havoc and then absolve themselves of responsibility, this instead of understanding that a healthy ecosystem means a healthy environment for us?

I ask that for once you take a leaf out of Mr and Mrs Hammer's book, because they too were Liberals, but they actually cared about the environment, they understood the need to protect and conserve because man cannot live on coal, wood, concrete, gold, we need a healthy functioning ecosystem and all that it entails. Eg the Green belt around Melbourne for one is because of mar Hammer's recognition that people need a healthy nature to escape to to be healthy.

Enough already with pleasing developers, miners, loggers, hunters, prospectors and urban people and farmers!

Remember that you are the Minister for the ENVIRONMENT, not the Minister for development!

And I haven't even talked about your climate change portfolio, which is also you role. What on earth do we need our National Parks to be whittled away for just so developers can squeeze dollars out of them?!

I ask that you immediately withdraw your decision to excise that 10 ha from the Alpine National Park system, (it is a joined system, not to be fragmented yet again) because as Minister for the Environment in a democratic state and country, you owe us, the community, a voice and a chance to point out that WE care about our National Park system even though you DON'T because you are a politican.


Maria Riedl

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