Minerals regulator supports new national parks

Earth Resources Regulation has taken steps to support the staged implementation of new national parks in central west Victoria.

Earth Resources Regulation has taken steps to support the staged implementation of new national parks in central west Victoria.

In June 2021, the Victorian Government announced the creation of more than 75,000 hectares of new parks and reserves in the central west area, including three new national parks and seven new and expanded regional parks.

The decision to create the new parks was made following a detailed investigation conducted by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC), which considered the natural and cultural values, recreational activities and other uses on public land in the area.

New mineral exploration licences will no longer be granted in areas of the central west where national parks are being created.

In areas that will become national park, Earth Resources Regulation has exempted that land from new licence applications under Victoria’s minerals law to provide immediate certainty for local communities and the minerals sector.

The exemption supports the creation of national parks by the government and covers areas to be included in the proposed Pyrenees, Wombat–Lerderderg and Mount Buangor National Parks.

Twelve current mineral licence applications will be impacted by the exemption. The regulator has contacted these applicants directly to discuss options to amend their applications for areas outside the boundaries of the new parks.

Mineral exploration is not permitted in national parks unless an exploration licence was issued prior to the park being established. Existing licences will not be impacted but will be subject to stringent regulatory requirements to protect the environment and public safety.

Recreational prospecting, unlike exploration, will not be impacted by the exemption and can continue prior to the creation of the national parks but will not be permitted once the national parks are in place.

Quotes attributable to Earth Resources Regulation’s Executive Director Anthony Hurst:

“Exempting these areas now provides certainty to locals and explorers about where exploration can take place.”

“We’ve contacted the twelve licence applicants impacted by the exemptions and will continue to liaise with them on potential areas where a licence could be granted.”

“Victorians can continue to go recreational prospecting across most of the state’s 3.1 million hectares of state forest as well as other public land, including in central west Victoria.”

Contact: Mark Farrugia

Phone: (03) 8392 6913