Around the Traps

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - With Daniel Young MP

The 58th Par­lia­ment of Vic­to­ria ended last month and we now head into the State Elec­tion on Novem­ber 24. As this will be my last col­umn be­fore the elec­tion, I would like to thank ev­ery­one who of­fered sup­port and en­cour­age­ment dur­ing my first term in of­fice. As many read­ers know, two months be­fore the 2014 elec­tion I had never con­sid­ered a run for of­fice, much less had I en­vi­sioned hold­ing a seat. I did not make the de­ci­sion to run lightly, but I saw an op­por­tu­nity to stand up for what I be­lieved to be in the best in­ter­ests of coun­try Vic­to­ri­ans. To that end, it has been an ab­so­lute plea­sure rep­re­sent­ing the con­stituents of North­ern Vic­to­ria, as well as the in­ter­ests of fel­low hunters and out­door recre­ational en­thu­si­asts. I would like to think my ac­tions in Par­lia­ment brought at­ten­tion to the widen­ing gap be­tween the needs of coun­try Vic­to­ri­ans and those liv­ing in and around Mel­bourne. At ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, we tried to speak on be­half of ru­ral and re­gional Vic­to­ri­ans, who so of­ten feel ig­nored by the city-cen­tric ma­jor party Gov­ern­ments.

Threats to pub­lic ac­cess

One con­stant is­sue of con­cern I have raised dur­ing my term in Par­lia­ment is the sys­tem­atic drive by the An­drews Gov­ern­ment to block or di­min­ish pub­lic ac­cess to Crown land. The most re­cent at­tack comes in the Gov­ern­ment’s ap­par­ent sup­port of the re­cent ‘Cen­tral West In­ves­ti­ga­tion’ by the Vic­to­rian En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment Coun­cil (VEAC), cur­rently open for com­ment un­til De­cem­ber 10. The VEAC re­port in­di­cates a plan to sig­nif­i­cantly de­crease the size of State Forests and in­crease the size of na­tional and state parks, which have the ef­fect of lock­ing out or re­strict­ing many cur­rent user groups. To il­lus­trate my point, I asked the Gov­ern­ment last month if it would guar­an­tee that no recre­ational pur­suit cur­rently tak­ing place on th­ese pub­lic lands would be banned be­cause of the VEAC rec­om­men­da­tions to cre­ate na­tional parks. The ini­tial re­ply was that the aim is to en­sure ‘there is an ap­pro­pri­ate balance’ be­tween use and ac­cess. The writ­ten re­ply listed some of the ac­tiv­i­ties that na­tional parks will ac­com­mo­date, be­ing four-wheel driv­ing, trail bike rid­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, horse rid­ing, car ral­lies, camp­ing, bee keep­ing and dog walk­ing. How­ever, there was a dis­claimer that some of th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties will be lim­ited to cer­tain ar­eas or spe­cific times. The list also makes no men­tion of hunt­ing, which cur­rently takes place in state forests. If the aim is to in­crease ac­cess to pub­lic lands, shut­ting out thou­sands of cur­rent users and deny­ing them an abil­ity to con­nect to the land as they have over gen­er­a­tions does not pro­vide balance. It skews the re­sult to sup­port this Gov­ern­ment’s true ide­ol­ogy of stop­ping a large seg­ment of cur­rent Crown land users. To strike a balance, we need a Gov­ern­ment that pro­motes and prop­erly main­tains the cur­rent pub­lic lands sys­tem. We need a Gov­ern­ment that recog­nises that cur­rent users do not need to be re­moved from pub­lic lands, for which ac­cess has al­ways been and should al­ways be avail­able to all Vic­to­ri­ans. From now un­til the elec­tion, I will con­tinue to travel around the North­ern Vic­to­ria Re­gion elec­torate to lis­ten to vot­ers’ con­cerns in the hope I can raise them in Par­lia­ment next year. One of the events I will be at­tend­ing is the El­more Field Days, which runs from to­day through Thurs­day. Visit me and my staff at our stall in the Agribusi­ness Pavil­ion, site AP123A.

El­more Field Days

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.