As a prospector I am concerned that the proposals in the Environment Conservation Council’s Report on the Box Ironbark Region will cause further unnecessary limitations on my prospecting activities.

I would like clarification of the following matters:

Are you aware that the main economic benefit claimed by the ECC is a ‘non-use’ benefit of $2 million per year? This is the ‘value’ given to the warm and fuzzy feeling that the people of Victoria are supposed to get from just knowing that the parks and reserves exist – even if they never visit them.

Are you aware that if the ECC’s proposals are adopted it will be at a huge social and economic cost, including many job losses, to the people of central Victoria?

Are you satisfied that the ECC has considered forms of land management other than the ‘lock out’ method of creating parks and reserves? The Regional Forest Agreement process created Special Management Zones to satisfy Government criteria – was any other management process considered by the ECC?

Is the Government prepared to adequately fund the new parks and reserves, their establishment and upkeep, their promotion and care etc?

Why are our current parks and reserves in such poor condition – as identified in the recently published Parks Victoria audit?

Why can’t prospecting be permitted throughout the region, except in limited areas where it can be demonstrated that it is not appropriate?

The consultant who prepared the economic and social assessment recommended that there be a review of current restrictions on prospecting. Can you ascertain why this was not adopted by the ECC in their recommendations?

Are you satisfied that the ECC has provided proof that current land uses are not sustainable?

Are you satisfied that the ECC has provided proof that parks and reserves enhance habitat or biodiversity?

Has the ECC provided proof that bird numbers will increase when prospecting is banned in the new parks?

Why are small-scale miners being hounded out of existence by the ECC even though they always rehabilitate their sites, never leave holes open and vegetation is always re-established?

Do you believe that Government should pay adequate compensation to those who will lose economic opportunities if the recommendations are adopted?

Are you sure that the ECC has followed fair and proper processes during its investigation? Is there adequate science behind the recommendations? Why hasn’t the public been given the opportunity to adequately comment on the revised recommendations?

I look forward to receiving your response to the above questions.

Yours sincerely