When The Greens Don’t Have A Mortgage On the Environment

When The Greens Don’t Have A Mortgage On the Environment

Victoria Shadow Minister for Environment & Climate Change Mary Wooldridge

Coalition To Restore Community Input On The Environment

Victor P Taffa

Local Communities, Environmental Managers and VEAC will have a much stronger say in Land and Water Management Issues under a Liberal Nationals Coalition Government, Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change Mary Wooldridge said today.

The Coalition will Retain Victoria’s Ten Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) ensuring local input and representation in decision making about our catchments.

“As part of this commitment we will also preserve the three coastal boards, ensuring that specialist expertise and local knowledge in marine and coastal issues are kept at the forefront of decision-making.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“An important feature of Regional Catchment Management Authorities is the knowledge and expertise of local communities which has critically informed decision-making.”

 

“However, not only has the Brumby Government allowed the Federal Labor Government to strip away vital funding from CMAs, but in 2009 they announced an Amalgamation of Victoria’s Ten CMAs and Three Coastal Boards into Five New Authorities.”

“Under the Proposed Amalgamation, each Authority will manage much Larger Regions that are coping with vastly different issues.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“For example, in Northern Victoria the three existing CMAs will become the Northern Rivers Natural Resource and Catchment Council. The Council will be responsible for managing a region stretching from Tom Groggin at the Murray River’s source to Swan Hill in the West and Macedon in Central Victoria.”

“There is no way the board can manage such a huge area with the same level of local knowledge as the three boards currently managing the North-East, North-Central and Goulburn Broken Regions.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“Victoria Premier John Brumby’s decision undermines more than a decade of community input and ownership into environmental management and centralises control away from local communities.”

“The Coalition is genuine about maintaining the valuable work of CMAs and coastal boards and we will continue to support them in achieving improvements in land and water management issues, such as salinity, erosion, pest plants and animals, waterway and floodplain management, rural drainage and biodiversity.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

This commitment builds on the Coalition’s announcement earlier this year to provide $12 Million to substantially contribute to additional funding for Landcare co-ordinators across all 10 CMAs.

The Coalition today is also announcing its commitment to maintaining the independence of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) as an effective independent adviser to the State Government on issues of Land Management and Natural Resources.

The Coalition will also initiate two important VEAC investigations which will:

1. Examine the outcomes from the establishment of existing marine parks and any ongoing biodiversity threats or challenges.

2. Examine the condition and management alternatives for freshwater-dependent ecosystems, such as rivers, wetlands, estuaries and groundwater.

“The Coalition will ensure that VEAC can continue its vital role in the protection of Victoria’s Diverse Habitats and the Sustainable Management of our Land, Parks and Coastal and Marine Life.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“Labor was forced last month to back-flip on its 2009 Plan to amalgamate and essentially abolish this important institution.”

“Only a Coalition Government will preserve local knowledge and independent advice in managing and protecting Victoria’s Unique Environment.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

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Under the provisions of the relevant Electoral Act responsibility for all election comment is assumed by Editor Victor P Taffa. The Registered office of The Southern Thunderer is at 4/69a Darvall Road, West Ryde NSW 2114.