Posted on 29. Jun, 2010 in News

More than 143,000 hectares of national parks and regional parks along the Murray River will be proclaimed today to help protect the iconic River Red Gum trees, create new jobs in regional and rural Victoria and secure the future of the Murray River for generations to come.

At Barmah National Park, Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the creation of four new national parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers to protect the ancient Red Gum forests was an historic occasion for Victoria.

Mr Jennings said the Brumby Labor Government had taken the decision to protect the ancient Red Gum forests to secure the Murray’s future and with the parks now officially established, the future prosperity of those parks had been locked-in.

“The River Red Gum National Parks are another way the Brumby Labor Government is taking action to protect Victoria’s precious natural assets,” Mr Jennings said.

“Our national parks are visited by millions of people every year. The River Red Gum National Parks will help millions more visit and experience the beauty of these iconic trees which have suffered through the drought and are battling climate change.

“The parks will not only bring benefits to the natural assets within them but will bring about very real benefits to the local communities that surround them in terms of jobs for people who work within the parks and in businesses visited by tourists when they come to experience the parks.”

The new River Red Gum National Parks are the Barmah, Gunbower, Lower Goulburn River and Warby-Ovens national parks. The existing Murray–Sunset National Park and Terrick Terrick National Park are expanded.

A series of nature conservation and other reserves have also been created. These include Gadsen Bend, Kings Billabong and Nyah-Vinifera parks, Kerang and Shepparton Regional Parks.

Mr Jennings said the Government’s $38 million Red Gum package would create a range of employment opportunities in local communities, including an additional 30 Parks Victoria staff and 10 people to construct fencing and conduct ecological thinning of trees.

“As part of the Active Forest Health Program, Parks Victoria has commenced an ecological thinning trial in the Barmah National Park with two teams of former timber workers,” he said.

“With many trees vying for water, we have removed some of the competition to allow the iconic Red Gum trees a much better chance of survival.

“Rangers are continuing weed and pest animal control programs which are part of a range of actions that will improve the overall health of the River Red Gum forests and floodplains.“

Mr Jennings said that in establishing these parks the Government recognised the Traditional Owners of the land.

“The Traditional Owners will be central to the future care of these ancient landscapes through co-management arrangements that will be established at Nyah-Vinifera Park and the Barmah National Park,” he said.

“The use of traditional knowledge will be a great advantage to the management of the new parks. The approach will be to integrate scientific, traditional, local, conservation and industry knowledge into the management of these forests.

“Earlier this year, five Yorta Yorta rangers were recruited to trial an “Indigenous Business Incubator” model on Yorta Yorta Country. 

“This joint initiative between Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Parks Victoria will build the capacity of Yorta Yorta People to actively participate in co-management of Barmah National Park.”

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