A comprehensive review of the management of the Hanging Rock precinct is about to begin.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, joined Macedon MP, Mary-Anne Thomas, at Hanging Rock last Thursday to announce the first stage of the review.
The review, to be undertaken by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, will ensure the best arrangements are in place to protect Hanging Rock.
Extensive engagement with key stakeholders and the local community will be conducted by an independent consultant during the next three months.
Hanging Rock Action Group spokesperson, Luke Spielvogel, said the action group was excited and encouraged by the launch of the review.
"We've long advocated a proper, earnest conversation with community about the future of Hanging Rock," Mr Spielvogel said.
"This is a great opportunity for council and the community to evaluate the different aspects of Hanging Rock and assess how we can together achieve the best possible outcomes.
"By initiating this review and continuing the previous funding commitments, Minister Neville has listened to our concerns and reinforced just how significant Hanging Rock is to the broader community."
Ms Neville said the review offered a chance for the community to influence what management structures it wants, what values it wants to protect, and what vision it wants to put in place and entrench - both through a policy process and also through legislation via the planning process.
"It's your review, embrace it, make the most of it ... I'm pretty sure you're going to get an amazing outcome for this really important precinct," she said.
BEGINNING THE BIOLINK
Also during her visit, Ms Neville was enthusiastically shown the beginnings of a biolink project in Newham by members of the Upper Campapse Landcare Network.
Despite temperatures struggling to reach four degrees, the Minister walked the paddocks with landcare volunteers to view the planting and learn how the biolink would eventually create a corridor between Macedon Regional Park and the Cobaw State Forest.
Network representatives explained to the Minister how landcare in the region was not only about sustainable agriculture but also about conservation and protecting the many threatened flora and fauna species in the area. They spoke of their plans for linking remnant vegetation and creating wildlife corridors.
"It was wonderful that the Minister made the time to meet with our group, so we could let her know of the many fantastic projects that landcare commits to in our area," said landcare facilitator, Sandy Scheltema. "It gave us a chance to let her know how important it is to continue funding the work that is being done by the many landcare volunteers in the Upper Campaspe Region, and how these works help in creating a better environment not only for our farmland, but also for our rivers and native flora and fauna."