When you visit The Drip you may think that this stunning area, with its cliffs, unique flora and surrounding groundwater dependent ecosystem is fully and completely protected. But not so!
A Goulburn River State Conservation Area (SCA) was created in March 2018. It covers an area of 9.7ha. However, this is not the full extent of the promised SCA.
MDEG has been advised of the following steps that have occurred in the journey to a complete handover and protection of the land in The Drip Gorge:
- 2015 – an initial 23.35 hectares of land was transferred to National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and reserved as an addition to Goulburn River National Park
- 2018 – Crown Land providing the main point of visitor access was reserved, including 9.2 hectares added to the Goulburn River National Park, and 9.7 hectares added to the Goulburn River SCA.
According to a spokesperson for the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Hon Rob Stokes MP, “the NPWS have advised there have been some delays in completing the final transfer of the remaining land due to complexities relating to land tenure. I am advised that these matters are being finalised and a further 32.79 hectares is expected to be transferred shortly to NPWS for inclusion in the Goulburn River SCA.”
MDEG is looking forward to that day!
BUT – how much protection will it provide? The NPWS provides the following definition of a SCA:
“State conservation areas are lands reserved to protect and conserve significant or representative ecosystems, landforms, natural phenomena or places of cultural significance. They provide opportunities for sustainable visitation, public enjoyment, and research.
The main difference between the management, objectives and principles of national parks and state conservation areas is that mineral and petroleum exploration and mining may be permitted in state conservation areas.”
If Moolarben Coal Operation were serious about ensuring protection of The Drip, they would extinguish Exploration Licence EL 6288, which covers land on the northern side of The Drip and the Goulburn River.
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