Woodlands or mines: our line in the sand
The last strip of significant woodland left in Bass Coast Shire is under threat from a surge in sand mining activities.
Under the Victorian Government's Strategic Extractive Resources Areas proposal, sand mining would take precedence over conservation of this fragile habitat and the wishes of local communities.
But it’s our call, and we’re drawing a line in the sand. This rare woodland is too precious to lose.
With the support of 14 environmental and community groups, plus the Bass Coast Shire Council, we call on the Victorian Government to preserve this fragile coastal corridor from the ravages of sand mining.
The Government's own research reveals 700 years' supply of suitable sand, almost all of it outside woodland areas.
We can win this “once in forever” opportunity. (And tell our children how we won.)
Save Western Port Woodlands
Our campaign began in early 2020 as Save the Holden Bushlands, in response to GM Holden’s decision to sell the Holden Proving Ground, one of the largest privately owned patches of remnant vegetation in the south-west Gippsland region.
A vital part of the Western Port forest corridor, the 880-hectare site provides habitat for several threatened or endangered species, including the southern brown bandicoot and the regent honeyeater.
Throughout 2020, however, it became clear that the entire forest corridor, from the Adams Creek Conservation Reserve near Lang Lang to the Grantville Conservation Reserve, was under threat from sand quarrying.
Most of the sand quarries along the forest corridor operate under work authorities granted in the 1990s. Other work authorities issued during the same period have not yet been acted on.
But this is not just a historical hangover. In 2020, the Victorian Government's Strategic Extractive Resources Areas draft report identified large parts of the forest corridor as “Extractive Industry Interest Area”. Sand mining in these areas would take precedence over conservation of fragile habitats and the wishes of local communities.
We are advocating for the gazetting of all reserves within the forest corridor and enduring protection of the remnant vegetation currently in private hands, either by public purchase or covenant.
Our longer term dream is that the entire forest corridor should become a Western Port/Bass Coast national park.