National parks questions ignored by Min for Environment

Questions raised in state parliament on Labor’s plans to establish the Central West National Parks by The Nationals Melina Bath are now months overdue and remain unanswered.

Ms Bath who is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use sought an update from Labor’s Minister for Environment, Steve Dimopoulos on the status of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) report that recommended locking up 77,000 hectares of three separate state forests and turning them into national parks.

Under parliament’s standing orders Minister Dimopoulos is required to provide an answer to Ms Bath within 30 days, however despite respectful requests and reminders the Minister has flouted parliamentary process.

Ms Bath said bush users are undoubtedly concerned about Labor’s lock up and leave agenda for Victorian state forests.

“They are also justifiably perturbed about Labor’s secrecy when it comes to its national parks plan, particularly in the case of the Central West Investigation.

“VEAC’s recommendations were for the establishment of three new national parks despite 67 per cent of the 2,700 public submissions being against their establishment, it also fast tracked its closure of Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry.

“Labor has consistently shown it prioritises green ideological policy to the detriment of our regional and rural communities.”

In 2021 Labor accepted VEAC’s recommendations to create three new national parks.

“Minister Dimopoulos refusal to provide transparency to the community shows Labor has zero regard for our bush users despite asserting “people have a right to have a say” on the national parks issue,” said Ms Bath.

“There’s speculation Labor has already spent $4 million on surveys and assessments to create these new national parks, but the public is being kept in the dark.

“Our bush users deserved transparent communication and an honest update on the status of the Labor government’s plans.

“Bush users who love the outdoors and access our state forests deserve to know if Allan Government have accepted the VEAC report recommendations and are ignoring their views.”