The Australian Climbing Association Victoria (ACAV) recently wrote to the Parks Victoria Chief Conservation Scientist, raising concerns that the widespread bans on climbing in the Grampians have not addressed the central issue of protecting cultural heritage in the region. Climbers were excluded from three quarters of the park as convenient scapegoats, representing illusory “protection”. We believe that Parks Victoria is mismanaging the situation to the detriment of all and we request a review by the responsible Minster.
These are our five questions raised in the letter to the Chief Conservation Scientist. For those interested, more detail on the history of this situation is available in the full 7-page letter. We await a response from Parks Victoria.
Q1: How was it scientifically determined that historic quarry sites must be protected from climbers but not from tourist vandalism, feral animal damage and bushfires?
Q2: Are any further protections planned for the hundreds of quarry sites, or will you proceed at risk of harm from tourist vandalism, feral animal damage and bushfires?
Q3: Do you propose the same, minimal protection for cultural art sites in the region?
Q4: Are you confident that your protection strategies are fully compliant with the ATSIHPA 1984 and the AHA 2006?
Q5: How have you managed any contradictions between the ATSIHPA 1984 and the AHA 2006?
Furthermore, the Chief Conservation Scientist has been put on notice:
“We contend that your present cultural heritage protection strategies are not compliant with the ATSIHPA 1984 and the AHA 2006. Please consider this letter as notice, confirming that, under AHA 2006 Division 1: 27 (1) you are now aware that your omission to act accordingly is likely to cause irreparable harm to cultural heritage artefacts.”
This matter has recently been taken up in the Victorian Parliament and we will report on progress in a follow up communication.
ACAV remains available to assist in the implementation of the Victorian Climbing Management Guidelines.
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