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2004 Winter - June, July & August  
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Park Protesters descend on Apollo Bay
17 August 2004

Despite threatening weather a large crowd from around Victoria made their way to Apollo Bay on Sunday to protest against the expansion of the Otway National Park. While the date for the final submissions to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) has passed, the aim of the protest was to send a message to Premier Bracks that many in the community oppose the expansion of the Otway National Park and have no confidence in the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC).

Bob Richardson of the Bush Users Group led the meeting from the back of an articulated truck parked at the Apollo Bay foreshore. Amongst the guest speakers was Terry Mulder of the Liberal Party who delivered a scathing attack on the arrogance of the Brack's Government, Cyril Mariner from Bimbi Park Trail Rides and the very capable Four Wheel Drive Victoria President Michael Coldham.

Many locals living around Apollo Bay and the Otway region, feel they have been disenfranchised by the political process put in place by the Brack's Government. They feel their submissions have in large part been ignored because the government has already decided upon the outcome.

Unlike Anglesea and Lorne, who's economies are heavily reliant on tourism, those at the southern end of the Otways and inlaying areas are largely rural farming communities who also draw income from forestry activities, whether that be logging, timber milling or seed and plant collection amongst other things. Tourism is there but is a small part of their economies. Their argument is that the creation of a National Park will lock up large sections of land denying them job security and a future for their families.

They are also aware of the fact that National Parks in other parts of the State are under-funded and mismanaged, leading to serious fire risk, weed infestation and unabated growth in vermin numbers.

Lavers Hill resident, Rosie Vulcz argues Park visitation figures being used by the government are inaccurate and misleading. "What they don't tell you is that visitor numbers have actually been falling in this part of the world for some time," she explains. "Its only when you add in the Angahook Park visitation figures that you get a rise."

Beekeepers will also lose the right to place beehives in the Otways National Park. John Edmonds of Edmonds Honey relies heavily on the coastal area because its flora and mild winter climate. These areas are suitable for overwintering honeybee hives preparing the bees for pollination service in Almond and fruit orchards of Victoria.

"The Australian public is looking for the unique flavoured honey produced from these clean and green areas. Beekeeping has occurred since the mid 1800's with no affect on the environment," he said.

The final report from VEAC is due to be presented to the Victorian Government on 3rd September after which the government will decide the fate of the Angahook-Otway Parks.

by Nicholas Soames

Audio Grabs:

While at the meeting I recorded several of the guest speakers. I have prepared the audio grabs as mpeg3 files and by clicking on the links you can download these files and listen to what thay had to say.

The rally was supported by:

Contacts and Links

Bush Users Group
Bob Richardson - 0402 658 012

Local Resident
Rosie Vulcz - 03 5237 3216

Timber Communities Australia
Steve Lawson - 0427 375 257

Four Wheel Drive Victoria
Michael Coldham - 0419 500 223
Casey Shepherd - Public Relations Officer
Four Wheel Drive Victoria
Ph: 03 9704 0028
Mob: 0401 001 312
Web: www.fwdvictoria.org.au

Otway Ranges Environment Network
See the OREN website for more information: http://www.oren.org.au/

Victorian Environmental Assessment Council -VEAC
Contact Details:
Address: 3rd Floor, 250 Victoria Parade,
East Melbourne 3002. Victoria, Australia
Phone: 03 9412 5100
Phone (Free Call): (Victorian country callers) 1800 134 803
Fax: 03 9412 5153
E-mail: [email protected]
WWW: http://www.veac.vic.gov.au/index.htm

Click to visit a photo gallery of the day


VEAC's public consultation process for the Angahook-Otway Investigation.
Click image below for a larger version of the process.

 

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Ash Wednesday

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End of a Voyage:
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William Buckley:
A Timeline

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Local History:
Now & Then

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Xanthorrhoea:
our local Grass Trees

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Coastal
Gardening

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Anglesea
Wildsound

 
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