News

Push to keep access to public land

By Corowa Free Press

Bush users converged on State Parliament recently against a plan to lock up more of Victoria’s public land.

More than 77,000 hectares of public land will be locked up if the Andrews Labor Government adopts recommendations from the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council’s Central West Investigation final report.

Nationals Member for Ovens Valley, Tim McCurdy said bush users and their families, from both country Victoria and the city, were on a unity ticket against losing access to public land.

“Daniel Andrews must park his plan to lock up more of Victoria’s public land,” Mr McCurdy said.

“Public land should be exactly that – for the public – but under Labor, all Victorians who enjoy recreational activities like camping, 4WDing, horse riding, prospecting or hunting are being pushed out.

“If the Andrews Labor Government adopts VEAC’s recommendations access for many of these activities will be severely restricted or stopped altogether.”

A petition, tabled today by Shadow Minister for Public Land Use and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath, received nearly 4500 signatures in support of public land staying for the enjoyment of the public.

Ms Bath said if adopted, VEAC’s recommendations would significantly limit the activities of bush users, including fire wood gatherers, recreational miners and prospectors, horse riders, four wheel driving enthusiasts, hunters and bush walkers.

“Bush users want to preserve their ability to go bush and take part in activities they have enjoyed for many generations,” said Ms Bath.  

“The bush is a way of life in Ovens Valley, and across country Victoria, and responsible bush users make sure they leave our state forest in a better state than they found it.  

“Conservation and bush access do not have to operate exclusively.”

The Victorian Government has until February 2020 to consider the recommendations of the Central West Investigation final report.