Our plans this year have been somewhat disrupted by the large fire, which burnt approximately 25% of the Grampians National Park in the beautiful Victoria Range on the western side. This now means 75 % of the Grampians National Park has been burnt in the last seven years. If the requirement to control burn 5% of the park annually regardless of what other burns have occurred is going to be implemented again this year, then I believe this will be of great concern to members, as soon there will be very little long-time unburnt habitat left in the park.
It was excellent to catch up with so many members at the Ian Mc.Cann reserve for Clean Up Australia Day. Much of the rubbish that was collected had been dumped in the reserve quite a number of years ago so hopefully the reserve will remain clean with no repeat of this type of dumping in the future.
Issues which we will need to continue to be vigilant about this year are firstly the Government’s intention to allow private development in the park, See Margo’s “From the Editor” for information about the government policy release which interestingly occurred on Easter Sunday. Is it possible they didn’t want people to know about it??? Secondly the plan to sand mine and establish a tailings dump very close to the northern edge of the park, see Wendy’s article for more information.
I look forward to catching up with everyone for the walk with Ben in the Brim Springs area to explore further our indigenous heritage on Saturday 13 April. I’m sure it will be a fascinating day as previous ones have been with Ben.
FOGG AGM 15th September 2012 held at McCanns Dam near Stawell.
13 members met at lunch time after our wildflower walk nearby.
- Minutes from last AGM were circulated and passed,
- Proo gave her president’s report saying that things have settled down from the natural disasters experienced over the past couple of years. The big issues over the last year have been the attack on the environment by the current government and their policies. The cutting of biodiversity staff, the relaxing of rules on firewood collection, cleaning up rivers, increased burning regimes as a result of the Black Saturday Royal Commission and recently the proposed relaxing of rules to allow commercial developments within National Parks. Membership numbers have stayed about the same and we have had some good activities with good attendance during the year.
- In Mabel’s absence Janbert presented the treasurers report which was kindly audited by Ron Goudie free of charge. The report was accepted. Balance is $6,676.95
- Election of Office Bearers – All position were declared vacant, and all were elected unopposed.
- President: Proo Pyke, (It is noted that Proo had specified that she would only be president for 2 years and this is her third year so we need to find someone new next year.)
- Vice President: Leigh Gunn,
- Treasurer: Mabel Brouwer,
- Secretary: Wendy Bedggood,
- Webmaster: Frank Vanderpeet (Subject to his acceptance) If he is too busy Korny Sietsma could also help.
- Newsletter editor: Margo Sietsma .
- Committee Members: Those at the meeting were co-opted to the committee with the addition of Gail Pollard. Committee:- Janbert Brouwer, Ben Gunn, Win Pietsch, Thelma Argyll, John Fisher, Alison White, Ewen Johnson, Jack Loats and Noushka Reiter.
The AGM was closed and we proceeded to a General Meeting.
Minutes from the meeting at Cooinda Burong on 14th January 2012.were accepted.
Cooinda Burong, Parks would like us to continue some monitoring of large fenced areas. Proo, Margo and Wendy visited these plots and one lot of fencing is beyond repair and another requires quite a lot of work. The one we normally do the Ptilotus count in, is probably the only one worth continuing with. Ryan was going to get someone from Parks in Melbourne to come and have a look at the plots and discuss with us possibilities. Proo had asked David Lockwood who monitors Cydelia about helping with our enclosures, so she will let him know we are still unsure of what is happening yet. Margo was involved with students doing volunteer work earlier in the year and they removed fencing from smaller plots and spray painted pegs around the outside of the large Ptilotus enclosure.
Private development in parks
The Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) put out a report recently. While actually suggesting that the priority for developments should be outside the parks, it said for some types of investments the park may be a superior location, opening the door for some developers to get into parks. Proo was contacted and interviewed by the ABC radio, and the Age came to Halls Gap and interviewed Margo and Dot Hoffman.
The VNPA had a couple of articles in their recent newsletter and had included a postcard for members to fill in and send to the premier. The post card opposes the opening up of parks to private development.
ACTION 1 Wendy will contact VNPA to see if we can obtain more of these postcards for our members to send off. She will also ask what other things VNPA are planning to do in opposition to these government moves. (But no more postcards were available, so we haven’t been able to distribute these)
ACTION 2 Proo will contact Will Flamstead from Halls Gap tourism to suggest that environmental groups are also represented on the sub committee steering the development of the Grampians North South walk.
ACTION 3 Proo will contact David Thompson to find out about other groups opposing the proposal.
ACTION 4 Wendy. We will start writing letters suitable to send to the papers and politicians expressing our opposition to private development in Parks. Letters to Premier, Hugh, the Age, Herald Sun and local papers.
Proo sent some comments on behalf of FOGGs, on the scoping study for the WIM 150 mine. The deadline for comments was before our AGM. (see letter on p10).
October 27th was proposed for our Red Gum walk working bee. (which didn’t go ahead, postponed to May)
Some time in last week of November we will meet at the Moco gallery for a break up and planning for next years activities.
Win and Thelma donated us a scrapbook of local newspaper cuttings from the period surrounding the opening of the Grampians National Park which had been compiled by the Stawell Field Naturalists. It makes fascinating reading. It is good to see how some of those most resistant have now become staunch advocates for the Park. We will consult with the Halls Gap History Association as to where to keep it. (Subsequent discussion : Museum Victoria are interested in scanning it and giving copies to us, the local Parks Office and the History Association).