Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (17:52): (684) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Environment in the other place, and it relates to a number of queries that I have had from constituents and other members of interest from the Bush User Groups United organisation, a volunteer organisation who are passionate about retaining the activities that occur in our state parks. Indeed Bill Schulz is a wonderful person who has moved into my electorate only recently, and his query relates to the VEAC CWI, which is the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council central west investigation. Members who have been around a little while will remember that Minister D’Ambrosio back in around 2017 I think it was instigated this investigation to look at tasking VEAC with what to do about state forests, and it is particularly in that Lerderderg western region area. Certainly the VEAC report came back with recommendations to turn three separate state parks into national parks and lock up 770,000 hectares. My constituent has gone on to say that of the various submissions during that inquiry – there have been 2700 submissions – 67 per cent were actually against the creation of new national parks.
The issue that I have and the conjecture that seems to be out in the community is that there are some saying that the tabled report recommendations have all been accepted by the government but the government is now undertaking and using somewhere in the vicinity of $4 million to make assessments and surveys about creating those three national parks. My constituents would like a status update. Has the minister somehow made recommendations or accepted recommendations and told certain people that these parks will be instigated? Has there been a nominal amount of money of $4 million for surveys? I am asking for an update, an honest update, from the new minister as to the status, the funding and whether surveys have happened. Or is this just community conjecture and there is nothing to the rumour?