Parks Victoria is developing a state-wide Land Management Strategy “to guide and inform future planning and decision-making across the parks estate.”
VEFN’s submission noted that while the document is described as mainly for internal use, it is proposed to underpin decision-making. It should therefore be applied transparently, that is, it must be accessible to the community so Parks Victoria is accountable.
We believe it is important to craft the right words in this document because it will guide the work of Parks Victoria in future, and be a point of reference for the community, particularly environmental Friends Groups deeply engaged as community custodians caring for their particular part of the Parks Victoria estate.
Our submission included some significant re-ordering of the proposed Principles, to put them in what we see as priority order. The priority should always be preservation and enhancement of the environment entrusted to Parks Victoria by the community.
Our submission highlighted themes that we believe were not articulated strongly enough. These are:
Collaborating with the community in the vision and management of the parks estate, recognising and responding to existing threats (such as invasive species) and changing conditions;
Recognising that connection with nature and community custodianship (not simply physical exercise) provide health, social and wellbeing benefits;
Management decisions and supporting research need to recognise both uncertainty, and the value of diverse knowledge sources as evidence – indigenous, community, academic, practitioner. Quantitative science needs to be combined with qualitative methods; biophysical with social. It should be clear what will constitute evidence and how it will be obtained, and community feedback should be sought on the merit of these approaches;
Using partnerships and co-management approaches with the community, recognising Parks Victoria’s estate as embedded within broader landscapes and ecosystems where community custodianship may run deep and genuine consultation and collaboration, being a “good neighbour”, is important
The full VEFN revision of the draft document can be found here. VEFN LMS draft 14 Oct
We would welcome your comments below.