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Balance needed, input sought for Grampians plan

BY DYLAN DE JONG 

Parks Victoria has stressed a major management plan for Grampians National Park will need to find balance between culture, environment, tourism and recreation. 

Eastern Maar, Barengi Gadjin and Gunditj Mirring traditional owner groups and Parks Victoria will seek public feedback on a draft Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan over a 10-week period.

The plan, unveiled last week, highlights future access and management of the national park.



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Parks Victoria regional director Jason Borg said the 15-year plan set framework to ‘celebrate’ and ‘protect’ the cultural and environmental values of the national park, while assessing what recreational activities could take place.

Mr Borg said it would be crucial traditional owners’ 22,000-year history in the Gariwerd landscape was protected. 

“The region itself, including the Grampians and Black Range, have the majority of Victoria’s rock art,” he said. 

“We need to put in a lot of effort to protect that, out of respect for the traditional owners and their connection with country, so it can be celebrated by all Australians and people who visit.”  

More than one-million people visit the Grampians each year to pursue recreational interests such as rocking climbing, abseiling, hiking, fishing, camping and sightseeing. 

As part of the plan, 89 areas have been identified where rock climbing can take place, while 66 areas will be permanently restricted from climbing. 

Future assessments will classify a further 126 climbing areas and also identify where bouldering can take place.

The draft plan also outlines management of threats to the landscape such as over-grazing, weed invasion, ‘inappropriate fire regimes’, visitor impact and water use.

It also sets out to minimise noise and light pollution and aims to reintroduce dingoes and other native animals. 

Mr Borg said reintroduction of native species needed ‘extensive’ research and consultation with nearby landowners. 

“We have already reintroduced rock wallabies and we’re investigating reintroducing quolls into the Grampians as well as dingoes that are all native to the area,” he said. 

“However, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done before any species is reintroduced into that landscape.

“This is about trying to return the landscape to some semblance of what it looked like prior to colonisation.” 

Mr Borg said the plan aimed to protect native animal and plant species for future generations. 

“The Grampians is home to about one third of Victoria’s flora and fauna,” he said. 

“Many of those species aren’t found anywhere else in the state. It’s really important that these pockets of biodiversity are protected.” 

Mr Borg said community consultation sessions would take place until January 24, 2021. 

“We expect we’ll hear from a variety of people who value the park in different ways, and we’ll take all that into consideration in finalising the plans in partnership with traditional owners,” he said. 

Parks Victoria encourages people to attend an online information session to learn more about what is in the plan. There will be an online webinar from 5.30pm tomorrow afternoon. People can register at: www.eventbrite.com.au/o/parks-victoria-29144363397?s=125718799.

The entire November 18, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!