In 2016 the Victorian Auditor General released a report on Victoria’s management of Ramsar Wetlands concluding that, ‘There is limited evidence that all Ramsar sites are being effectively managed and protected from decline’.
Frustratingly, the Report’s findings should have not come as a surprise to the Victorian government as most of these problems have been previously pointed out by past performance audits.
One of the major threats to Ramsar sites in Victoria is the lack of an integrated and coordinated effort to promote the wise use and preserve the ecological character of Ramsar wetlands, as correctly identified by the Auditor-General. But this problem runs deeper and presents a bigger threat to these unique ecosystems than as stated in the Report.
We would welcome increased funding for Ramsar Wetlands preservation and improved monitoring and reporting of their ecological values.
However, these changes need to be accompanied by a greater commitment to prioritising protection of Ramsar sites.
Photo: Stacey Chilcott