LABOR TO DELIVER HEALTHY PARKS AND ENVIRONMENT

LABOR TO DELIVER HEALTHY PARKS AND ENVIRONMENT

Posted on 19. Nov, 2010 in Election Media Release, Greening Victoria

A future Brumby Labor Government will build new iconic wilderness walks, create a new coastal park, boost parkland visitor facilities and provide more support for the people and programs that help keep the environment healthy, Premier John Brumby announced today.

In the Grampians National Park with Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings and Member for Ripon Joe Helper, Mr Brumby announced that a future Labor Government would invest $116.3 million to protect Victoria’s environment and make parks more accessible to families.

It will include constructing two new wilderness walks in the Croajingolong and Grampians National Parks, creating a new 1300 hectare Bunurong Coastal Park along 40 kilometres of Victoria’s coastline between San Remo and Inverloch, and locking-in the future of Mount Cole State Forest.

The wilderness walks will become part of Education for Life: the Year 9 Experience and provide young people from schools with an opportunity to learn life skills such as outdoor challenges and leadership programs.

Labor has already identified the Grampians for a brand new residential student leadership camp as part of the Year 9 Experience.

A future Brumby Labor Government will also develop a new Frankston Greenbelt along the Peninsula Link Freeway, build new visitor facilities along the Barwon River Parkland and continue to fund 65 park rangers to maintain national parks and conservation reserves.

This builds on a network of 15 state-of-the-art adventure playgrounds that Labor has committed to delivering across the State to provide Victorian families in Melbourne’s suburbs and regional areas with new recreation opportunities.

“Victoria has a great lifestyle that really sets our State apart. We are fortunate to be surrounded by areas of extraordinary natural beauty that Victorian families can enjoy,” Mr Brumby said.

“Labor understands that our parks are where people go to exercise, get some fresh air and relax with family and friends, and we will keep the jobs coming because we know how important our parks are to attracting the tourists that generate local jobs in local communities.

“That’s why Labor has created 11 new national parks and 13 new marine national parks which have expanded the area of Victoria covered by national and marine parks to 15 per cent, and that’s why we have invested in equipping our parks with world-class visitor facilities. 

“But we know there is always more to do. We want more Victorians to have the opportunity to stay active, we want to give more families access to the fantastic experiences our parks provide and we want to protect our stunning natural environment for future generations.”  

A future Labor Government will invest $116.3 million in the future of Victoria’s parks including:

  • $6.9 million to develop a four-day East Gippsland and Wilderness Coast walk through the Croajingolong National Park, stretching from Marlo to Mallacoota. It will take in the historic Point Hicks Lighthouse, the naturally-diverse Sandpatch Wilderness Area, along with the inlets and waterways of the region, and deliver significant new job opportunities for jobs and small business development in Orbost, Marlo, Cann River and Mallacoota;
  • $3.9 million to build the southern section of the Grampians Peaks Walk and promote it as one of Victoria’s iconic walks. The first stage of the Grampians Peaks Walk, a three-day and two-night looping track from Halls Gap, is already under construction and the next stage will involve building the walk from Dunkeld to Yarram Gap including four new campsites through the Grampians National Park;
  • $8.9 million to create a 1300 hectare Bunurong Coastal Park, extending the George Bass Coastal Walk along 40 kilometres of coastline between San Remo and Inverloch. This coastline is home to rare or threatened species of plants and animals, including the Spot Tail Quoll, Orange-bellied Parrot and Hooded Plover, and is rich in Indigenous post-European settlement cultural history;
  • $5.6 million for the development of a Frankston Greenbelt comprising a ‘chain of parks’ which will be linked by a shared-use trail of about 25 kilometres long and running through the landscaped land along the Peninsula Link Freeway from Seaford to Baxter, including a major new bike trail to link existing trails along the corridor and new visitor facilities at Frankston Reservoir Park;
  • $4 million to create more green open spaces for the community of Kingston that will be linked by shared trails as part of the vision to create a ‘chain of parks’ from Moorabbin to Springvale, including upgrades to sports facilities as new park areas are created;  
  • $6 million to purchase and develop land at Armstrong Creek to enhance the experience of the Barwon River Parkland. Four years ago, Labor set out the vision for the Barwon River Parklands from Buckleys Falls to Barwon Heads. The parklands will be developed with new recreational infrastructure, including picnic facilities, boardwalks and fishing platforms at Barwon Heads, river trails from Wandana Heights, landscape works at Breakwater Bridge and support for weed and pest control;
  • $1.8 million to protect Mount Cole State Forest, the gateway to the Pyrenees wine area and the Grampians, which is home to over 130 species, many large native trees and plants such as the rare Mt Cole Grevillea, along with native orchards and wildflowers. The project will involve revitalising current walking and four-wheel drive tracks and family-friendly picnic sites, upgrading existing camp sites with new visitor facilities and walking track signage and environment works to control pest animals and plants;
  • $30.9 million to support Victoria’s park ranger services through continuing the successful Park Ranger program, funding 65 park rangers across regional Victoria to even better maintain national parks and conservation reserves, including assisting visitors with services such as education, interpretation and cultural management and their work in fire management, planning and recovery;
  • $7 million to the successful Habitat 141 initiative to plant native vegetation corridors and reconnect ecosystems and habitats over a 500 kilometre stretch of land that straddles the South Australian, New South Wales and Victorian borders;
  • $10 million for a statewide roll-out of the ecoMarkets trial to support and encourage landowners to improve the native vegetation on their land with vegetation management agreements expected to be reached with more than 230 landholders, covering 12,500 hectares across Victoria and delivering around 1400 hectares of new healthy habitats;
  • $10 million to combat weeds, pests and wild dogs on Victoria’s farms and public lands by stepping up biosecurity actions, including a trial of night-time aerial baiting of wild dogs  and new funding for Good Neighbours grants;
  • $6 million to undertake beach re-nourishment programs around Port Phillip with a focus on managing foreshore erosion and improving the quality of bay beaches so that is remains a Victorian treasure; 
  • $4 million to improve boating safety at Mordialloc Creek, Patterson River and in the Yarra River by maintenance dredging to ensure boaters can safely launch their boats and visitors can enjoy its natural beauty;
  • Provide free entry to the Australian Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne to coincide with the opening of the $20 million expansion of the Australian Gardens in 2011;
  • A study to determine the most appropriate land management arrangements to improve protection of critical habitat and access to the parks along the Woori Yallock Creek;
  • Supporting Victoria’s wildlife carers by establishing an $800,000 grants program for those protecting native animals that could cover the cost of equipment needed to care for animals such as enclosures, fencing and bedding and storage; and
  • New partnerships with urban and regional communities to increase Victoria’s ability to deliver co-ordinated land, water and biodiversity conservation results and build up volunteer numbers.

 

Mr Jennings said the Brumby Labor Government had delivered a healthier parks environment and would build on its record by creating more parkland, protecting more native vegetation, eradicating weeds and pests and supporting more conservation volunteers.

“We’ve worked in partnership with communities to produce great results in our parks and we will continue to support the people and programs that keep our parks healthy and make them so enjoyable for Victorian families,” Mr Jennings said.

“Labor understands that one of the best ways to protect our environment is to enjoy it and a future Brumby Labor Government will not only make our environment healthier, we will make it more accessible to Victorians.”

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