Bush users fight back on National Park plan

Bush users have ramped up their fight against the Allan Labor Government, launching a parliamentary e-petition opposing any potential closure of public access in Victoria state forests.

The petition is in response to Labor’s review into the future of Victorian state forests and calls on it to guarantee no new nationals parks will be established and the continuation of traditional recreational activities in state forests.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath is sponsoring the petition and will table it in parliament later this year.

Echoing community concern, Ms Bath maintains good forest management practice does not have to mean the exclusion of traditional pursuits.

“The actions of Labor’s misguided green ideology has inflicted significant ecological damage on our public land – The Nationals strongly support active management of state forests and that includes supporting bush users and public access to public land.

“Victoria’s treasured national parks are already neglected, adding more will not improve environmental outcomes.

“60 per cent of Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action staff operate out of metropolitan Melbourne – Labor fails to comprehend that public land is best managed with boots, not suits.

“The Allan Government’s appalling environmental policies have failed and led to overgrown tracks, increased bushfire risk and a boom in invasive weeds and feral animals.

“Locking up public land is not a conservation strategy, it’s neglect.”

Ms Bath said activities such as prospecting, free camping, horse riding, four-wheel driving, trail bike riding, dog walking and hunting would all be banned in any new national park.

“Bush users overwhelmingly respect and preserve public land, their activities stimulate jobs in regional communities and have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.

“Following Labor’s recent public consultations, many community members are adamant that their opinions are being ignored by Labor and the outcome of its consultation is predetermined.

“This petition has been launched to help bush users reclaim their voice from a Labor government who doesn’t want them to be heard.

“Their message is clear, no more new national parks and public land belongs to the people – as an avid bush user I will continue to support them and be their voice in the parliament.”

The e-petition can be signed online https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/get-involved/petitions/stop-the-creation-of-any-new-national-parks/