The AG met in July, and the Round Table in August.
AG meeting. We heard updates on the flood and fire recoveries. All work on the flood recovery should be finished by the end of August. The walking track crew, who have done such a good job, finished at the end of the financial year. This work was relatively well-funded, in contrast to the fire recovery work, which received no extra funding. They have some insurance money for built assets, and some for rehabilitation of fire lines and damaged roads, but almost nothing for the cultural heritage surveys needed, and other important work.
We also had an update on the staff situation. PV is still cutting staff state wide. Long term ranger here, Geoff Pitt has decided to take one of the redundancy offers and will finish up in August. We thanked him for his work and wish him well in retirement.
We had some discussion of on park development proposals, but despite ideas being floated, there were no firm proposals to consider. We will be informed promptly when that happens. A business case for the proposed long distance walk (Grampians Peaks Trail) is under development. The first version of that was for tent sites, toilets, and a small basic weather shelter. Whether the new legislation will mean a push for cabins etc remains to be seen.
A major part of our meeting was taken up with a discussion on future directions for the AG. What skills and experience are useful for the next AG? How can we better support our park in these days of lessening staff and money? This discussion will be an ongoing thing.
At the Round Table meeting on August 6, I was wearing two hats, as AG convener, and as FOGG rep., neither Wendy nor Proo being available. It was a fascinating meeting and I’ll report on the individual topics below. We looked at the research being done on the effect of wild fire on the park, we heard about the cultural heritage surveys being undertaken, we heard about the experimental winter burn, and looked at some of the dilemmas in drawing up Fire Operation Plans. We didn’t actually get to look closely at the current FOP, but were encouraged to comment via the website or by phone.