A new plan to protect and improve the Prom
Friday 19 May, 2023
Community consultation begins on new landscape management plan
Parks Victoria is inviting public input on a new management plan for Wilsons Promontory National Park and its surrounding marine areas.
To be developed with Traditional Owners, and with ideas and information from visitors, community and stakeholders, the plan will outline how this unique area of land and sea should be protected, visited and celebrated for the next 15 years.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of Victoria’s most special places – an Aboriginal cultural landscape and dramatic natural environment brimming with native plants and animals. It’s also hugely popular with visitors, with its mountains, forests, beaches and accommodation drawing hundreds of thousands each year.
The park is surrounded by a collection of important marine protected areas. This includes the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, which was the first in Australia to receive a Global Ocean Refuge award (now ‘Blue Park Award’) in recognition of its marine biodiversity protection.
Together, this landscape provides essential habitat for native plants and animals, with a geography that offers climate change refuge as temperatures increase.
It’s an Aboriginal cultural landscape and contains physical and intangible heritage. It’s a significant place for the Boonwurrung, Bunurong and Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner groups, which maintain connections to these lands, waters and places.
This major piece of work to deliver a new management plan comes at a time of rising challenges for the Prom – and indeed all of the state’s parks and reserves.
Climate change presents multiple management challenges. The increasing risk and intensity of storms, bushfires and coastal erosion will affect how the Prom’s environment, park infrastructure, cultural heritage places, and emergency responses are managed.
Similarly, increasing visitor numbers and interests requires an updated management approach. The plan will explore how to balance sustainable recreation and access to nature with conservation priorities.
Meanwhile, there are great opportunities to work with Traditional Owners to better identify and protect Aboriginal cultural places and celebrate the landscape’s cultural stories and heritage.
The first stage of community consultation to develop a draft plan will run until 16 July. Across the eight-week stage there will be online and in-person workshops where the community can hear about key management considerations and information about the Prom landscape.
Early ideas and feedback will be gathered, including through an online survey at the Engage Victoria website. Later this year, and then into 2024, these early ideas will be refined and then a draft management plan developed for public feedback.
For further information about the Prom landscape, key issues, and details on the consultation process and how to get involved, visit Engage Victoria: https://engage.vic.gov.au/project/wilsons-prom/page/landscape-management-plan
Quotes attributable to Kerri Villiers, Regional Director – Parks Victoria:
“The Prom landscape is one of Victoria’s truly special places. Through this consultation we’ll be discussing how it can be protected, visited and celebrated for future generations.”
“Much loved locally and by visitors far-and-wide, we look forward to discussing the many different challenges, opportunities and views on how to manage this landscape.”
“We’re delighted to be working on this new plan in consultation with the Boonwurrung, Bunurong and Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner groups.”
What is a landscape management plan?
A management plan brings together all the elements of park management and outlines the vision and directions for managing a park for 15+ years. It describes what we are managing (the values of the park), what is putting those values at risk, what we want to achieve, what we will do, and how we know we’ve achieved it.
A landscape management plan is a multi-park plan, including an area of interconnected parks and reserves. Parks Victoria has shifted to creating landscape management plans because it ensures we think about the shared challenges and features, and the interactions, of parks and ecosystems and visitation.
The new Wilsons Promontory Landscape Management Plan will cover Wilsons Promontory National Park and Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, Marine Park and Marine Reserve, Corner Inlet Marine National Park, coastal areas and islands.
Why are you developing a new plan?
Since the existing plan was released in 2002, we’ve improved our understanding of climate change impacts, seen changes to visitor behaviours, and sharpened our focus on conservation through a goal to turn the park into Victoria’ largest conservation sanctuary.
Our understanding and respect for the cultural landscape and Traditional Owner’s right to care for Country has evolved.
The new plan will address these, and other, aspects on a contemporary landscape level at a time of great challenges and opportunities at the Prom.
These specifically include: coastal hazards, climate change impacts, visitor use now and in the future, visitor management, environmental and conservation values and risks, and fire management.
What is the process to develop the plan?
The creation of a management plan is a multi-year process that involves research, assessments, and community engagement.
The process will focus on some key areas, including: coastal hazards, climate change impacts, visitor use now and in the future, visitor management, environmental and conservation values and risks, and fire management.
During the first stage of public consultation, we will share and discuss the challenges and opportunities for the Prom landscape. Early ideas and information will be sought from the public and stakeholders to inform proposal and options that will be assessed and tested, before helping form a draft plan. This draft plan will be released for a second round of public consultation and feedback during 2024, ahead of updating and finalising the final plan.
When is the public consultation?
The first stage of public consultation is now open and will run until 16 July 2023. Information about this and future stages of consultation is available on Engage Victoria: https://engage.vic.gov.au/project/wilsons-prom/page/landscape-management-plan
Who are you consulting with?
We’re developing the new management plan in consultation with Traditional Owners connected to the Wilsons Prom landscape.
Across an 18-month period we’ll be consulting with park visitors, the local community and general public, and key stakeholders across areas including local and state government, conservation and the environment, cultural heritage, tourism, and recreation.
How are you working with Traditional Owners?
The Prom is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape and contains physical and intangible heritage.
It’s a significant place for the Boonwurrung, Bunurong and Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner groups, which maintain connection to these lands, waters and places.
We’re developing the new management plan in consultation with Traditional Owners connected to the Wilsons Prom landscape, through the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and the Boon Wurrung Land and Sea Council.