More Mining for the Wombat Forest
Another mining licence (MIN5460) was approved on 3 May 2014 for the Wombat State Forest covering 37 hectares near Spargo Creek. The proposed work program includes hard rock open cut and underground mining and bulk sampling.
Wombat Forestcare considers such activity to be totally inappropriate in an area that is a catchment for the Werribee River. Residents in the area pay a special levy for the protection of the water catchment, which seems totally at odds with allowing a mining venture a few hundred metres from the Werribee River.
The State Government is promoting Victoria as an "excellent investment opportunity" for mining and in this rush to allow these ventures they are overlooking critical ecological values and community concerns.
The Minister makes the decision to approve mining licenses and although there is an opportunity for the public to make a submission, the actual decision rests with the Minister. A "community consultation" process occurs at the time of mining however the community has no power to effect change and the process can be as little as informing the public via a website.
The Wombat Forest is slowly recovering from massive previous exploitation and is important habitat for many threatened species. Endangered Powerful Owls and Greater Gliders are recorded in the area of the proposed mine.
The protection of our catchments, our ecosystems and our flora and fauna are incredibly important. The Wombat Forest is public land and therefore belongs to the people of Victoria. We suggest that the Victorian Government is not managing it in a way that the majority of the community expects.