Happy New Year! I hope you have all had time to enjoy the holiday season, however you and your family may celebrate.
Biodiversity is the theme of this edition of the magazine. It features stories on the diverse work Landcare and environmental volunteering groups and networks are doing to improve biodiversity.
The Victorian Government recognises the vital importance of biodiversity. We are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment. Since we came to government in 2014, we have invested over $500 million into our biodiversity, with a further $270 million invested into our waterways and catchments in the last two State Budgets. This is the largest ever investment into our biodiversity by a Victorian Government.
In 2017, I was proud to launch Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037, our 20-year strategy to stop the decline of biodiversity. This strategy will ensure our natural environment is healthy, valued and cared for actively through our long-term vision and goals with specific targets.
We have also delivered over 250,000 hectares of biodiversity protection. That includes 65,106 hectares of new national parks and reserves in the central west, the cessation of logging in old growth forests across 90,000 hectares and the creation of 96,000 hectares of Immediate Protection Areas in Mirboo North, the Strathbogie Ranges, Central Highlands and East Gippsland.
Our $62.2 million bushfire recovery program is re-seeding 11,000 hectares of mountain ash forest and controlling pests across 565,000 hectares. These actions give our native species the best chance of recovery.
We acknowledge that there is more to do. We are resolute about protecting our environment and we have the track record to prove it.
Our 2021–22 State Budget allocated $52 million over four years to deliver unique biodiversity protection through community action. This includes the Victorian Landcare Program.
The work of Landcare and environmental volunteering groups and networks is crucial to improving our natural environment.
The stories in this issue showcase the range of biodiversity projects that you are doing.
It covers everything from local projects to save a single species to large-scale bio-links that reconnect the landscape.
I thank you all for your dedication to improving Victoria’s biodiversity.
The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Minister for Solar Homes