We are pleased that the Strengthening Parks review is being undertaken and hope the results will lead to substantial improvements to the operation and future of parks in this state, particularly those managed by Parks Victoria.
We have focused our response on issues and opportunities specific to Friends groups. We appreciate the close relationship our network has with Parks Victoria through the ongoing support and involvement of staff like Leesa Riley and look forward to continuing and building on this relationship.
The discussion paper, Strengthening Parks, acknowledges the significant economic contribution that volunteers make, particularly through 104 Friends groups and placed a value of at least $6.6 million on this for 2015-16.
This is a significant contribution by any measure that needs to be better recognised by both Parks Victoria and the Victorian government.
An important form of recognition is to ensure that volunteers, particularly those organised through groups like Friends have some ownership and control of what they contribute. This requires a much greater degree of ongoing consultation by Parks Victoria than is usually the case.