The same old ‘Business as Usual’ planning and development practices of the past are no longer a sustainable or equitable way of a healthy future.
Our South Gippsland Shire has declared its vision statement ‘Come for the Beauty – Stay for the Lifestyle’, however, it is now even more imperative the council’s policy and decision making should better acknowledge, endorse and develop a better, modern community driven, vision and planning commitment.
Recently, VicRoads published a statement about their Black Spur realignment of the South Gippsland Highway and documented that over 1 million vehicles annually travel the highway for business or as visitors.
Leongatha is the shire’s administrative and commercial centre and is the hub where our two highways meet.
So much of this road traffic are visitors coming to discover and enjoy beautiful South Gippsland, so if we are to enjoy the economic and wellbeing dividends that these visitors bring and encourage more of them to stay, then we must better appreciate and protect our greatest, natural assets – the last of the priceless Strzelecki Ranges Bushland – remnants of ‘The Great Gippsland Forest’.
The precious, biodiversity rich bushland around Mirboo North has been highly regarded for decades by respected local naturalists and government research, as one of the township’s and shire’s greatest natural and economic assets and that is so accessible, to be enjoyed by many locals and visitors.
These are the essential ‘wild places’ where we can reconcile our need to rejuvenate our community and personal spirit and wellbeing, with an integral appreciation and interaction with nature.
It is urgent for South Gippsland communities to insist that all levels of government develop effective conservation policies that better represent the sustainable, economic wellbeing of South Gippsland’s unique forest, farming and land use practices.
Too much economic development that promises to create local jobs and investment, has often proved to have been expedient, opportunist or destructive.
We must not continue to compromise our bushland assets, which have taken so many human lifetimes to evolve their priceless beauty, diversity and amenity.
A landscape, bushland environment or community that does not represent diversity is diminished.
Let us revisit, learn and reinvest in our cultural heritage and economics by reinventing the inspiring stories and timely lessons of our ancestors, in our Land of the Lyrebird.
Dick Lester, Leongatha.