|The Baillieu Government wants to give prospectors and fossickers more freedom to dig up our most treasured national parks.
The government has directed the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to recommend that prospectors and fossickers should be permitted to expand their activities into the Alpine, Yarra Ranges, Baw Baw, Croajingolong, Errinundra, Lake Eildon, Lind and Mitchell River national parks, as well as the Lerderderg State Park.
Fossicking is already allowed in a number of Box-Ironbark parks in central Victoria. But despite a requirement that park managers monitor the impact of this damaging activity, no assessment has been carried out.
Our national parks are there to conserve our precious natural environments.
Please join us. VEAC cannot recommend that prospecting not be permitted in all of the parks, even if that is what its evidence shows.
PLEASE send your comments to the VEAC investigation by the deadline of Monday, 18 February 2013.
There are two easy ways to send a submission:
1. QUICK SUBMISSION
Just add your comments to our online submission and click SEND.
2. PERSONAL SUBMISSION
In your own words, tell the government why our national parks should not be used for damaging activities like prospecting and gold panning.
- Fossicking (metal detecting, digging holes and panning for gold) causes unnecessary damage to streamsides, and can threaten rare species such as ground orchids.
- Our national parks are set aside to protect our natural areas for future generations. They are there for passive recreation, not exploitation.
- Many of the rivers that flow through these parks are already listed as Heritage Rivers, and Natural Catchments. These additional levels of protection should be respected.
- Fossicking is already allowed in a number of Box-Ironbark parks in central Victoria. But there has been no monitoring of their impacts as required by park management plans.
- Fossicking and panning damages streamsides, causes erosion, and silts up rivers. In old gold-bearing streams, already worked over many years ago, mercury and other pollutants can be released into streams when soil is disturbed.
- Fossicking and gold panning can damage the many important Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in the region.
- While prospectors insist they behave responsibly, many don’t. The parks in the investigation area are in relatively remote areas, and fossickers’ activities will be difficult if not impossible to supervise or monitor.
- Managing prospectors and fossicking will take park rangers away from other essential activities, at a time when staff numbers are already well below what’s needed for park management.
- Many rivers, streams and catchments are important for rural, regional and city water supplies. We should be aiming to improve their condition, not compromise it.
- There is already plenty of opportunity to fossick for gold in the extensive State Forest areas in eastern Victoria, outside national parks.
- VEAC should have the opportunity to recommend no prospecting in parks, but the government has already decided that prospecting will be allowed in nine new parks (Alpine, Yarra Ranges, Baw Baw, Croajingolong, Errinundra, Lake Eildon, Lind and Mitchell River, and Lerderderg State Park).
Send your submission by Monday 18 February 2013 to:
Or if sending by mail address your submission to:
Level 6, 8 Nicholson St
East Melbourne 3002
The VEAC website has lots if useful information including maps and park overviews.
Read Phil Ingamells’ analysis of this issue in his article ‘Prospecting in Wonderland’.