Rural Victorians are applauding the government's decision to support a new wetlands tourism project at Lake Tyrrell. The tiny town is now predicted to see visitor numbers increase from 42,000 to 192,000 per year by 2025, bringing a massive revenue boost to the area.
Given the state of Victorias rural economies, it's great to see the government hopefully getting on board with the growing and highly lucrative trend of nature tourism.
The recent Auditor General’s Report followed by SGS Economics and Planning analysis 2016, stated Victoria’s rural towns slipped backwards financially for the fourth consecutive year. Victoria was the only state who’s rural towns went backwards 2016 financial year.
Nature Tourism brings thousands of jobs and billions in revenue to other parts of Australia already. “ Birding” in particular is known for it’s affluent and well educated participants, likely to stay longer and spend more in, the environments they visit.
Wetlands (lakes and waterways man-made or otherwise) are disappearing faster than any other ecosystem in the world, yet many Victorian rural towns are lucky enough to still have them, many home to unique and endangered species of birds and some even recognised Internationally for environmental significance.
This is our economic lifeline.
All our wetlands have something special and unique to offer nature tourists. All should be open to nature tourism and “birding”as soon as possible for the sake of our rural towns jobs and revenue.
One of urgent importance would be Kerang, a truly stunning RAMSAR site, home to many unique and endangered species of birdlife.
We could have our own Victorian Kakadu.
Unfortunately, In March this year Kerang featured in the news for a different reason. Hundreds of native waterbirds were shot by duck shooters and left flailing on the wetland or buried in pits, including significant numbers of endangered species. Unfortunately this happens every year; a real travesty not only for our dwindling number of waterbirds, but surely our duty of care for critical RAMSAR sites.
The recent Auditor General's report stated Victoria was failing in it's international obligations to care for RAMSAR waterways.