Wilderness Society Welcomes Victoria Coalition Position On Assessment Councils

Wilderness Society Welcomes Victoria Coalition Position On Assessment Councils

Victorian Wilderness Society Campaign Manager Gavan McFadzean

Victoria National Parks Association Executive Director Matt Ruchel 

Coalition Commitment To Independent Environment Council And Marine Inquiry Welcome, But More Needed

Victor P Taffa

The Victorian National Parks Association and Wilderness Society have welcomed the Coalition’s Commitments to retain the independent Victorian Environmental Assessment Council and initiate a new investigation into the marine environment, marine national parks and the state of rivers and wetlands.

The Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) has been a key Victorian institution for 40 years yet there has been uncertainty over the Council’s future.

“We applaud the commitment now given by both Labor and the Coalition to retain this important institution.” Gavan McFadzean, The Wilderness Society’s Victorian Campaigns Manager said today.

“Thanks to VEAC, Victoria has the best process in Australia for dealing with public land and natural resource management. VEAC ensures that community consultation is thorough and decisions are scientifically based.”

“The Coalition’s Promise to initiate new VEAC inquires on Marine National Parks, Rivers and Wetlands are a Welcome Commitment.” VNPA Executive Director, Matt Ruchel said.

“Even though both the ALP and Coalition have ruled out new Marine Parks in the next term of government, undertaking a detailed independent investigation of the threats to the marine environment, and options for its protection, is an important step to ensure an informed debate about the management of our ocean.”

“It been over decade since a comprehensive assessment of marine & coastal environment and need for marine national parks has been undertaken, and the time is right for new independent inquiry to assess the latest science and the many benefits of marine national parks.” Mr. Ruchel said.

While the Coalition has supported Local Marine Boards, it has not supported the Independent State-Wide Victorian Coastal Council, which plays an important role in providing a State-Wide response to issues.

The environment groups called on the ALP to also commit to initiate inquiries on marine and freshwater ecosystems, and for all major parties to deliver more for Victoria’s natural environment during the State Election Campaign.

“2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. Going by the Policy Commitments Labor and Liberal so far, you wouldn’t know it. Neither Party has grasped the seriousness of the biodiversity crisis in Victoria and urgent need to protect ecosystems and habitat for rare and endangered wildlife across land and sea.” Mr. McFadzean said.

Background

A detailed scientific report by leading independent ecologists, commissioned by the VNPA, was released earlier this year. It analysed significant threats to Victoria’s Marine and Coastal Environment Region by Region, identified at least 20 priority areas for further investigation for conservation, and investigated the State’s Current Marine Protected Area System to identify gaps and make recommendations for improvements and additions.

Responsibility for Election Comment

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.

Victorian National Parks Association

Victorian National Parks Association