The Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV) is warning that bush users will not sit by and watch the creation of a Great Forest National Park, as recently recommended by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC).
The VEAC report suggests converting around 75 per cent of the Central Highlands region into “a large protected area such as a national park.”
The proposal, if implemented, would mean locking up the largest area of forest close to Melbourne.
“The lock up and leave it approach does not work,” President of the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV), Cass McCormack, said.
“Get in the car and go for a drive right now, go spend a day in one of our so called ‘pristine’ National Parks – you won’t see the landscape for blackberries and weed growth, let alone be able to access the picnic areas because the roads are in such terrible condition.
The MCAV has warned that they, along with many other bush users, will not sit idly by and watch the creation of another National Park to be left to grow into a bushfire tinderbox.
“The forest belongs to us all and that includes hunters, loggers, families, four-wheel drivers, bushwalkers, fisherman. We all want the landscape to be maintained and the evidence clearly shows National Parks are not.
“I am confident when I say that no-one who genuinely knows and uses the landscape thinks this is a good idea,” Ms. McCormack said.
“This is just another example of a report carried out by those who sit behind a desk.
These reports have no value in the real world and I hope the government will recognise that.”
The proposal has gained traction following the end of native forest logging and will be considered by an expert panel next year.
“We are watching this situation very closely and you can be assured there will be a huge outcry if a Greater Forest National Park is created,” Ms. McCormack warned.
“We will not sit by and watch another park be locked away from all of us who use and love the bush.”
For more information on the MCAV go to www.mcav.com.au.
This article appeared in the Corryong Courier, 11 January 2024.