Carol West To: Veac.firstname.lastname@example.orgâ¨cc: Subject: Re: Submission 06/10/2007 10:15 AM VE.AC-RTF > Please find attached my VEAC submission in RTF format.â¨Lawrie West jv Su 3 SUBMISSION TO RIVER RED GUM FORESTS INVESTIGATION DRAFT PROPOSALS PAPER. ATTENTION: Director Victorian Environment Assessment Councilâ¨Level 6/8 Nicholson Stâ¨East Melbourne 3004. Dear Sir/Madam, I wish to register my objections to a number of the proposals outlined inâ¨VEAC's 'River Red Gum Forests investigation Summary' document. As resident of the township of Rochester and a frequent visitor to many of theâ¨rural areas mentioned in and likely to be affected by the document'sâ¨recommendations, I put forward my most vehement objections. I have camped, hunted and fished along the Murray and many of its tributariesâ¨for some 40 years now and at the same time have played an active role inâ¨their protection and preservation. I certainly have no confidence in an alreadyâ¨depleted National Parks (or other) Service being better able to 'manage' theseâ¨environments. In fact, through the local (Echuca Moama) Field & Game branch we haveâ¨been active stakeholders in the redevelopment plans for the Kanyapellaâ¨Basin. Having only recently seen the final management plan prepared by theâ¨various local and other stakeholders of the Basin, none would want to seeâ¨their many years of meetings, planning and hard work overridden by an alienâ¨outside party. Especially one which would ban many of the recreational pursuits long carriedâ¨out in the Kanyapella Basin and included in current management plans, e.g.,â¨hunting. Individuals and sporting groups have held organised feral animal (fox,â¨hare, rabbit, wild pig) hunts in this region for longer than I can remember, asâ¨well as harvested ducks and quail in season. I know similar activities have traditionally been carried out for generations inâ¨many of the other wetlands along the river, as well as in the many swampsâ¨and lakes around the Corop area, closer to where I live. I have assisted Fieldâ¨& Game Kyabram with their tremendous maintenance and conservation workâ¨in swamps such as the Mansfield at Stanhope over recent years. -2- The main thing swamps like these need is water; not a restrictive and differentâ¨outside management regime. Consider the following questions: What is theâ¨current status of the swamps in areas like Corop and around Kerang, and whoâ¨owns them? The answer is plain and clear cut. Most are State Game Reserves purchasedâ¨by fees collected from licenced duck shooters like myself. In the late 1950s Field & Game actually recommended the introduction of licence fees for duckâ¨shooters so that appropriate areas could be purchased and preserved for thatâ¨very reason. I have no doubt that with one decent water flow, or the return of one averageâ¨rainfall year, local economies of many communities in the Goulburn Valleyâ¨and around Kerang will benefit considerably from the influx of thousands ofâ¨duck shooters. By the way, on what basis does VEAC claim that3,950â¨duck hunters would potentially be affected...."? There are well over 20,000 licenced duck shooters in Victoria, plus temporaryâ¨shooters from other states in a normal Victorian duck season. Whether theâ¨number affected is 3,950, 20,000 plus or a number in between, what aboutâ¨their rights? Especially given the commitment by the former Premier (Mr Steve Bracks)â¨that his government stood by the rights of hunters and would be doing nothingâ¨to further erode their opportunities to engage in duck shooting. Wouldn'tâ¨condoning the conversion of State Game Reserves into National Parks seemsâ¨just a little hypocritical? The Government's promise in this regard was actually signed off by (former)â¨Minister John Thwaites in the 2007 Victorian Game Management Initiative. As you can see should be able to do this in the wetlands we already 'own' and look after. Theâ¨alternative is that hunting will become an elitist sport. love to hunt and I think I, and thousands of others like me, It will be available only to those who own or have access to private propertyâ¨as more and more public land falls under the dubious control of governmentâ¨bodies already struggling to manage what they currently control. (How do Iâ¨know; ask any landholder sharing a common boundary with a National Park?) -3- Let me add that I also love camping and fishing trips to local lakes, the Murray River and its tributaries. I know I share this interest with thousands of others,â¨especially those who camp regularly along the Murray. Check it out anytimeâ¨over the summer holiday period, Easter, any long weekend (Victoria or NSW),â¨school holidays, Melbourne Cup or 'Southern 80' weekend or when theâ¨'Moama RSL Club' Fishing competition is on. This a people's area; an area for public leisure and recreation. Fishing,â¨craying, boating, camping, yarning around the campfire and just being thereâ¨are everyday pleasures enjoyed by thousands and thousands. Instead of banning ordinary citizens from legitimate things they enjoy doing (orâ¨turning them into criminals for continuing to do these things), why not workâ¨co-operatively with them. Yes, there are some aspects of management that,â¨can be improved in the regions covered by the VEAC proposal. Do it in conjunction and consultation with current users. Do it in unison with those who know the areas and what is best for them. Don'tâ¨close up our play grounds. Don't restrict our lifestyles. My comments above relate to matters very important to me and to my lifestyle. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg. Countless otherâ¨district residents depend on the region for both their leisure pursuits and theirâ¨livelihoods. Many of these people are already hurting and angry about misleading andâ¨broken promises from a very Melbourne focused government andâ¨bureaucracy. As recently as last year's state election period, Mr Bracksâ¨belittled the concept of water desalination plants for Victoria and promisedâ¨water would never be taken from the north of the state to supply Melbourne. What a turnaround a few months later when, with the election behind him,â¨desalination (minus community consultation or environmental impact review)â¨and a north-south pipeline were gleefully presented to stunned Victorians byâ¨Mr Bracks from a costly, unnecessary helicopter. What hypocrisy, fromâ¨someone who has since seen fit to quit!! Yet his replacement continues with the same unsound and panic drivenâ¨policy. Take water from a low rainfall Stage 4 water restrictions region to aâ¨higher rainfall region on specially created Stage 3A restriction. -4- No wonder residents of the area covered by the VEAC proposals areâ¨suspicious and distrustful. Yours Sincerely,â¨Lawrie West.
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