Two years on from the June 2021 storms, public access to the Morwell National Park remains limited due to unrepaired infrastructure.
Three access bridges in the 560 hectare Morwell National Park suffered extensive damage, as did walking tracks, picnic tables and the barbecue facilities at the Kerry Road car park.
Speaking in State Parliament, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use, Melina Bath called out the Andrews Government’s lack of response in repairing damaged Morwell National Park infrastructure and called for an expedited time frame for its completion.
“For over 50 years the Morwell National Park has been a jewel in Latrobe Valley’s crown – a tranquil place for locals to visit and an area of significance attracting visitors into our region.
“Currently bushwalkers are being forced to detour through steep terrain on private property, wade through creeks or struggle along unmaintained tracks.
“In an ironic twist, Parks Victoria recently erected signage pointing to national park infrastructure that is no longer there.
“Access to public land and national park infrastructure should be maintained to useable standard – and after two years the state government should not have an out of sight, out of mind mentality.
“The priorities of the Andrews Government are disappointing – it has squandered billions of dollars to cancel projects in Victoria, yet it refuses to address urgent repairs to storm damaged infrastructure in our national parks.”
Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron said Friends of the Morwell National Park have for years diligently volunteered and cared for the park.
“They are justifiably frustrated by government inaction that’s prohibiting safe access and visitor experiences.
“Volunteers want to showcase their treasured park, but the state government is dragging the chain on simple repairs that stonewalls our visitor economy, risks environmental damage and public safety.”
Ms Bath said the damaged Morwell National Park is not an isolated case – East Gippsland communities have also been waiting for many years for the Labor Government to replace tourist infrastructure lost in 2019/2020 bushfires.
“Labor’s track record on national park infrastructure in regional Victoria needs an overhaul – repairs should not take years to complete.
“The Labor Government must expediate funding and allocate the resources to repair Morwell National Park’s assets and let local families and visitors enjoy its beauty.