MEDIA RELEASE Campaign continues for Great Forest National Park
Thursday, 18 December, 2014
*New Victorian Legislative Council can prove leadership **by backing Great Forest National Park.*
*Great Forest National Park will benefit economy, environment and regional Victoria.*
Victoria’s new Legislative Council has a grand opportunity to show the state that it can be a constructive force by helping the Andrews Government create a visionary new national park on Melbourne’s eastern outskirts.
“The Great Forest National Park would have major benefits for our environment, our economy, employment, and the amenity of our beautiful state,” said Wilderness Society Victorian Campaign Manager Amelia Young.
“The Great Forest National Park will help save the state’s endangered animal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum, and its home in the Mountain Ash forests, the world’s tallest flowering trees.
“The survival of state’s animal emblem depends on the creation of the Park.
Should a decision come before the Upper House, its response will determine whether or not the Leadbeater’s Possum becomes another sad footnote in history like the Tasmanian Tiger,” Ms Young said.
“The Wilderness Society congratulates all new and returning members elected to the Legislative Council.
“We will actively seek the Council’s support for the optimistic and positive Great Forest National Park Plan; a Plan that will deliver so many benefits to regional Victoria – a key area of interest for many of the newly elected MLCs.
“The Great Forest National Park has been backed by nine out of 10 Victorians (refer: http://vnpa.org.au/admin/library/attachments/PDFs/Surveys/survey-attitudes-parks.pdf) the Royal Society of Victoria, Sir David Attenborough and hundreds of
businesses in the region where the Park is proposed.
“We hope the Andrews government will act on the clear wishes of voters and work to build multi-party support for the Park.
“While we’re disappointed there was no explicit commitment to the Great Forest National Park, the campaign continues, including meeting with all new MPs, looking at the jobs question closely, and shortly releasing a report that shows how the proposed reserve will protect environmental values.
The Great Forest National Park will be a major drawcard for tourism in the Yarra Ranges forests that already attract more than 1 million visitors a year, twice as many as those who visit for the region’s famous wineries, according to Tourism Victoria (http://www.tourism.vic.gov.au/research/domestic-and-regional-research/regional-visitation.htm) figures.
Already the Great Forest National Park plan has attracted many tourism proposals, including a tree-canopy zip-line tour in Toolangi, an elevated tree-top walkway near Lake Mountain to encourage summer tourism, and a world-class five-day overland walking track from Healesville to Marysville to Eildon.
“The ultimate success of these credible proposals hinge on the creation of the Great Forest National Park because national parks boost the numbers of visitors to regional Victoria,” Ms Young said.
*For further comment contact: Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager Amelia Young on 0404 074 577*