The Andrews Labor Government is declaring the You Yangs Regional Park a mining free zone, with additional protections to be placed over the landmark hills just north of Geelong.
Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes today announced that due to the park’s environmental and cultural importance, Earth Resources Regulation will place an exemption over the area, restricting it from minerals exploration licencing.
Surrounded by the growing communities of Geelong and western Melbourne, the You Yangs support a wide range of outdoor recreational activities including bushwalking, picnicking, orienteering, horse-riding, rock-climbing and mountain-biking, with state and national mountain bike events hosted in the park.
Managed by Parks Victoria, the You Yangs are home to koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, brush-tail possums, echidnas and lizards, as well as more than 200 species of birds.
The regional park supports a rich variety of plants, including tall eucalypts like Manna Gum, Yellow Gum and River Red Gum, and wattle, she-oaks, and an undergrowth of native shrubs.
Taking their name from the Aboriginal words meaning ‘big hill’, the You Yangs are significant to the region’s traditional owners, the Wadawurrung people. Rock wells created by the Wadawurrung to collect rainwater are still clearly visible at the park’s Big Rock.
The exemption will provide clarity for exploration companies, who are encouraged to direct their efforts towards areas of the state that are more prospective for new mineral discoveries.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes
“The You Yangs are important to many local people, the Indigenous community and visitors across Victoria – and we’re proud to be protecting it from mining so people can enjoy the area for many years to come.”
“We’re striking the right balance between attracting investment in our earth resources, boosting local jobs, and protecting Victoria’s most important natural locations.”
Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren
“The You Yangs are a special place that the Geelong community values greatly along with being a great drawcard for tourists and recreational users. It’s good news for everyone that the You Yangs will now benefit from better protections.”