marram baba Merri Creek Regional Parklands - have your say!
28th April 2023
The consultation on the draft Future Directions Plan went live on the marram baba Merri Creek Regional Parklands Engage Victoria site on 6 April and will be open until 8 May 2023. An online information session will be delivered in the late afternoon/early evening on Tuesday 2 May 2023. This is an opportunity for FoMC members to comment, so we encourage you to join in the process.
2018 Election Committment
The marram baba Merri Creek Parklands plan follows a 2018 election commitment by the Andrews government to connect existing reserves to create a continuous parkland along Merri Creek from Campbellfield to Beveridge.
The importance of the parklands
The Parklands will protect important conservation areas in the middle Merri catchment, between the Ring Road and Donnybrook. A Partnership Group is overseeing the preparation of a Future Directions Plan for the Parklands. The group is led by the Suburban Parks Program in the Department of Energy Environment & Climate Action (DEECA, formerly DELWP). The group includes three councils, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, Merri Creek Management Committee and the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Corporation, represented by three Elders.
In the view of the FoMC Committee, the Draft Future Directions Plan is a thorough, well-balanced guidance document for future site planning and management of the Parklands. It emphasises the protection of ecological and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung cultural values, while providing for visitors.
We encourage submissions from FoMC members that express general support for the Parklands and the draft plan, while also referring to the issues below.
We are keen to see the Parklands established as soon as possible. Melburnians shouldn’t have to wait until 2050 for them to be completed! (See p11 of the Plan.) The ecological values on the 57% of future Parkland that is currently privately-owned will be lost without active conservation management.
It is good to see the volcanic cone of Bald Hill included in the proposed Parklands, along with a link to the Merri Creek corridor. FoMC suggested this in our submission last year. However there are sections of the Parklands where the open space corridor is too narrow to function as habitat and a movement corridor for wildlife – for example, in developing industrial areas in Somerton and Epping, and beside Lockerbie’s planned major activity centre. In addition, parkland along tributaries such as Aitken and Malcolm Creeks in Craigieburn needs to be connected to the marram baba Parklands.
Putting more pressure on conservation values, the draft Plan shows the Merri Creek Regional Trail extending along both sides of the Creek. Major walking and cycling trails like this shouldn’t go through areas intended to protect endangered flora and fauna species, which is the primary purpose of the Parklands. Additional public open space is needed for facilities like major trails.
There needs to be a designated government agency or organisation – preferably a continuing Suburban Parks Program in DEECA - that is responsible for overseeing, driving, and securing resources for implementation of the Future Directions Plan.
We welcome the expressed goal of future management of the Parklands by the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. Adequate funding and capacity-building will be essential to meet the challenges and pressures on these special areas of high cultural heritage and nature conservation value.
Context of the marram baba Merri Creek Regional Parklands, DEECA, Future Directions Plan, p.3