On 6th June, Minister D’Ambrosio responded to the parliamentary question lodged in May by David Limbrick MP and the response certainly has many of our members, the climbing community and everyone at ACAV headquarters exceptionally concerned.
Either the Minister has been misinformed by her staff and Parks Victoria, or she is deliberately obfuscating.
Mr Limbrick’s original request was via a parliamentary question which aimed to get to the bottom of the reasons for the bans which were initiated by Parks Victoria in February 2019. Mr Limbrick asked the question, directly to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change during Parliament. ACAV worked with Mr Limbrick to structure a question which aimed to finally bring some clarity to the bans, as reasons for the bans appeared to be incorrect. Parks Victoria had quoted that climbers specifically were causing damage to cultural art and the environment and this was the basis for implementing the largest bans to climbing in the world. There is no question that any interaction with nature will have some impact. However, ACAV are adamantly contesting the impact that is underpinning these bans. Our friends over at Save Grampians Climbing undertook a #FactChecking mission which dispelled the “evidence based” reasons for the exclusion of rock climbing across large parts of Gariwerd. The evidence simply does not exist.
Off the back of this week’s meeting with the minister’s office (see report here), ACAV conclude that Minister D’Ambrosio has been misinformed.
David Limbrick – Two Further Questions to The Minister, 7th June 2019
David Limbrick MP has submitted two further parliamentary questions yesterday June 7 and now we are awaiting answers from the Minister’s Office. The questions were put forward by ACAV and then perfectly framed in the political context by Mr Limbrick.
The questions asked by Mr Limbrick can be found here.
The second question (are the bans legal, Minister?) targets very specific items of the Ministers responsibilities in respect to correct execution of the National Parks Act. The Gariwerd Special Protection Areas either impose a ban on climbing or they do not. ACAV has prepared a research paper on this subject. The Minister would be well advised to seek legal counsel before answering this question.
ACAV has asked for a meeting with Minister D’Ambrosio directly to discuss our concerns about how this issue is being managed. ACAV advised the Ministers Office at the meeting on Wednesday that we are working on a GARIWERD CLIMBING MANAGEMENT PLAN which draws in best practice climbing site management from established rock climbing locations around the world. This plan will ensure that climbing activities promote and enhance care for the environment and cultural heritage now, and into the future for generations to come. The opportunities for Reconciliation are plain to see with rock climbers as stewards and allies in the protection of cultural heritage and environmental values.
ACAV has engaged with Aboriginal Victoria and a senior staff member from that organization is now assisting ACAV to understand and navigate the cultural landscape with Traditional Owners.
The government respondent to Mr Limbrick’s powerful questions yesterday was fortuitously the Hon. Gavin Jennings, Special Minister of State, Minister for Priority Precincts and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. We look forward to assisting Minister Jennings along with Minister D’Ambrosio and we have requested a meeting to discuss these issues.