The Nyah-Vinifera Park is an important ecological, cultural and social asset for the community of the Riverina-Mallee region. The park includes significant Riverine ecological vegetation classes providing habitat for a range of threatened fauna and flora species. The park is also an extremely significant cultural landscape for the Wadi Wadi Indigenous Nation, with numerous cultural heritage sites.
The fight to protect the Nyah-Vinifera forest from logging and improve its health was fought by thousands of people, hundreds of committed locals and Wadi Wadi Traditional Owners. The forest was finally declared as a Regional Park by the Victorian Labor Government in 2010 after a 15-year fight to protect it. Once this happened, people believed the forest would be safe into the future.
But, the Nyah-Vinifera Park has been severely neglected over the past five years. Under the previous Coalition state government, plans put in place to protect and manage the park under the 2009 Victorian Environmental Assessment Council recommendations were stalled or forgotten.
Sign the petition below calling for traditional owner management and adequate funding for the park.
To the Hon. Lisa Neville, Minister for the Environment,
Wadi Wadi people were promised co-management of the Park in 2010 as well as at least one dedicated Indigenous Ranger for the Park. Five years later, there has been no progress. Wadi Wadi wants to control management on their land through hand back or co-management arrangements and we totally support their aspirations.
The Park has received very little to no funding to manage issues such as weed infestations, dense sapling growth because of lack of regular flooding, protection of cultural sites, illegal logging and biodiversity and threatened species protection. Parks Victoria has had a reduction in staff and are managing the Park without a management plan. The community is calling for appropriate, increased funding for dedicated Park Rangers, and management and biodiversity works for the Park. FoE, Wadi Wadi and the local community are demanding action from Lisa Neville, the Victorian Environment Minister.
We are extremely concerned that the values of this important Park are at risk if action is not taken. We are calling on the Victorian Labor Government to uptake our recommendations to provide funds urgently needed for adequate management of the Park and to re-open negotiations for management of the Park by Wadi Wadi people.