River Red Gum National Parks
The River Red Gum forests and wetlands of the River Murray are enjoyed by many people around the State and around the world. The region is highly valued for its natural, aesthetic, cultural and economic values and uses.
The River Red Gum forests are coming under increasing pressure from climate change, drought and reduced water flows in the northern rivers. Protecting this precious environment relies on balancing the region’s economic activities with preserving its natural beauty and values.
Four new national parks have been created in the region:
Victoria’s new River Red Gum national parks will provide tourism opportunities across the State’s iconic Murray River region. Residents and tourists alike will soon enjoy the unique natural beauty of these magnificent parks which will feature some of the worlds’ largest River Red Gum forests and wetlands.
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Investigations and reports
The Victorian Government asked the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) to undertake an investigation into the River Red Gum Forests of the River Murray and its Victorian tributaries in 2005. The purpose of the investigation was to formulate recommendations regarding the conservation, protection and sustainable use of the red gum forests and wetlands. The final report was tabled in Parliament in September 2008
The Minister established a Community Engagement Panel in 2008 to consider VEAC’s recommendations, specifically to look at the recommendations within the context of continuing community and economic activities that are consistent with the ecological health of the region.
On the basis of VEAC’s recommendations and the advice of the Community Engagement Panel the Victorian Government has made several important decisions to ensure the long-term protection of the red gum region and continued sustainable social and economic activities.
River Red Gum Community Engagement Panel Report
Details of the VEAC investigation and a copy of the final report can also be found at www.veac.vic.gov.au/investigation/river-red-gum-forests-investigation-veac- .
Recreation in the new river red gum national parks
For local residents, these tranquil and beautiful national parks will remain much as they’ve always been: simply great places to camp, relax and escape the stresses of everyday life.
New visitors to the Murray region will find endless stretches of the world’s largest River Red Gum forests - forests that are as accessible as they are beautiful. And this increased visitation will boost the region’s economic growth.
A whole range of activities will continue to be enjoyed in the national parks. Camping, fishing, watersports, horseriding, four wheel driving, trail bike riding and the use of campfires will all continue to be permitted. And families will be able to walk their dogs along the majority of Victorian River Murray frontage.
Campers will still be able to choose where they camp in the new national parks. And in the most popular areas, waste disposal facilities will be improved to enhance the camping experience and protect the environment.
Campers and day-visitors will be allowed to light campfires throughout the year except on total fire ban days, subject to any future legislation or government policy about fire.
Horseriding and camping with horses
Horse riding will still be permitted on roads and tracks within Victoria’s new national parks and camping overnight with horses will also generally be allowed.
Trail bike riding and four wheel driving
Trail bike riding and four wheel driving will continue to be permitted on existing roads.
For many people living in the Murray River region, firewood is an important fuel for heating and cooking. The government recognises how important this is and will develop a strategic approach to firewood collection in consultation with the local community.
Protecting the new parks and reserves
Several important decisions have been made regarding the future management of the new national parks.
Cattle grazing will not be permitted on public land. For remaining water frontages areas, grazing exclusion will be voluntary and encouraged co-operatively.
Commercial timber harvesting licences will cease in the new national parks, with timber harvesting to continue in the Gunbower, Benwell and Guttram State forests.
Through its Our Water Our Future program, the Victorian Government will endeavour to provide long-term protection for all floodplains within the new national parks. However, this will depend on water availability across the entire Northern Victorian water system, as detailed in the Draft Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy.
Victorian Government Response to VEAC's River Red Gum Forests InvestigationIn accordance with the Victorian Environmental Assessment Act 2001, this response addresses each of the VEAC recommendations, incorporating the Community Engagement Panel report and its accompanying map. The response, tabled in Parliament in March 2009, reflects the structure of VEAC's Final Report and is divided into:
- General recommendations
- Thematic recommendations
- Public land use recommendations.
Related linkParks and Crown Land Legislation Amendment (River Red Gums) Bill 2009
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