Just some of the vast areas affected by plans that may lock hunters and other bush users out of Victorian public land

Growing outrage over Victorian National Parks lock-up plan

Plans by the Labor Government in Victoria to establish National Parks in the Central Highlands and Gippsland regions of the state are being opposed by a range of outdoor pursuit enthusiasts, including hunters.

In addition to the Central Highlands National Park expansion, a proposed Great Forest National Park (GFNP) has been in various stages of planning for at least a decade now, and there is considerable concern from everyone — from hunters to 4WDers to fishers and even horse riders — that these new National Parks will essentially lock them out of a significant part of the state’s outdoor recreation areas. 

As part of that opposition, a Parliamentary e-petition has been started, supported by Narracan MP Wayne Farnham. At time of writing it had 5124 signatures.

The petition reads:

“This petition of residents of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Assembly the current consideration being given by the Allan Labor Government to establish more national parks in Victoria, particularly in the central highlands and Gippsland regions. 

“Communities are concerned that this will mean areas of state park, forest and bush are not accessible and will lock out users from a range of activities, including bushwalking, 4 x 4, motorbiking, horse riding, hunting, fishing, camping and other similar activities. 

“This could significantly impact both these user groups and the communities where these parks may be established, limiting tourism and visitation.

“The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Assembly call on the Allan Labor Government to not create any new national parks and keep our forest regions and bush open for public access and enjoyment.”

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Jeff Bourman has been a vocal critic of plans to expand National Parks in Victoria, and steadfastly believes public land should always remain open and accessible to the public.

He recently took aim at the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC), calling for it to be defunded, and accusing it of being biased towards environmental causes; he further said VEAC’s advice to the state government pushed this environmental agenda at the expense of other bush users. 

“We don’t need VEAC and it should be defunded with the money going to a body that will consider all land use not just the ‘lock it up and leave’ option,” he said.

The petition is open until August 12 and can be signed by Victorian residents here: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/get-involved/petitions/national-park-creation-in-central-highlands-and-gippsland-regions/




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.