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Parks package will help protect Melbourne's open space

plenty_river.jpgEnvironmental group Friends of the Earth has welcomed the announcement that the Andrews government will create more than 6,500 hectares of parkland across Melbourne if re-elected.

“Melbourne will soon pass Sydney as Australia’s most populous city” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “The urban sprawl that is happening to accommodate this growth is putting enormous pressure on the livability of our city and is encroaching on remnant vegetation and open space. At this rate of growth, we are running out of time to future proof our city against sprawl”.

“We welcome this announcement, which would see new urban parks and walking and bike trails created across the metropolitan area”.

“This is a great outcome in terms of delivering new public open space for people living across suburban Melbourne".

"The government knows it must also deliver on nature conservation outcomes. This must include the creation of the Great Forest National Park on the cities’ eastern doorstep. Climate science makes it abundantly clear that protecting intact and connected ecological systems is essential. The forests of the Central Highlands, Strathbogies and East Gippsland must be included in a pre election announcement, and we urge all parties to ensure we safeguard our water supplies and biodiversity”.

“At this point Sydney far surpasses Melbourne in terms of nature protection: it has fantastic parks right on its doorstep (1,094,207 hectares versus Melbourne’s 168,891 hectares). Melbourne has a fragmented park network. The GFNP will profoundly increase protection for wild nature around our city”.

Urban sprawl also threatens farmland and hence Melbourne’s long term food security. “We welcome the ALP’s commitment to re-write planning rules through a public process to clearly define permitted land uses and protect the green wedges and agricultural land, and put a cap on the size of developments. Placing strategic agricultural land overlays over important farm land and permanently protecting these areas is sensible and forward thinking policy.”

Further comment
Cam Walker 0419 338 047

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