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It's time for the Great Forest National Park, but Minister Noonan is missing in action


Words: Francesca Dina

Wilderness Society volunteer, Francesa Dina, describes the approaches made to Victorian Industry, Employment and Resources Minister, Wade Noonan, by Victorians living in his electorate of Williamstown about the Great Forest National Park.

Since November last year, locals have been trying to meet up with their Williamstown MP Wade Noonan about the Great Forest National Park.

The campaign to protect the magnificent Mountain Ash forests right on Melbourne’s doorstep is one I am personally involved in, and have been for the last year.

The Great Forest National Park will protect native wildlife and create more jobs for the community than the Heyfield sawmill provides with its unsustainable logging that is driving wildlife to extinction.

This is an urgent issue that myself and others clearly feel strongly about.

Local Williamstown resident Andrew Gilbert, says: “We want our local MP to know that, according to an independent report, The Great Forest National Park will create 760 new jobs, attract an additional 400,000 visitors annually, and return more than $71 million to the economy annually.”

I have noticed the frustration in the community that our democratic right to raise issues of concern to us, and to receive a response from our elected representative, is being denied. Local Williamstown resident Jodie Gregson is asking why this is. “Many of us have been sending emails, making calls and even walking in to Wade Noonan’s office with requests to meet and talk to him about the creation of Great Forest National Park. I am disappointed as to why we have had no response at all, given he was elected to listen to us.”

We needed to do something to break Minister Noonan’s silence, so we went down to his electorate office with Captain Planet, asking Minister Noonan to be a hero and get behind the Great Forest National Park. The receptionist said she would pass on our message and he will be in touch.

We want him to know that there is a strong demand in the community for the creation of the Great Forest National Park because it will clearly benefit the environment, create jobs and boost the regional economies.

We are waiting, and will not go away.