Media Statement - Damper Creek dog on-leash

Published on 30 December 2022


Query from 7 News

Monash Council’s Off-Leash Policy was endorsed at the 29 November 2022 Council meeting following 3 months of consultation (9 July – 30 September).

We had 80 submissions via email and 693 contributions online, including 61 submissions.

Like other Councils, Monash is experiencing population growth and pressure on our public open spaces. With a continued increase in the number of registered dogs in Monash, planning and managing off-leash areas for people to walk and exercise their dogs is important.

Council was careful and thorough in considering all views, feedback and advice before deciding that Damper Creek, like other conservation reserves within the municipality such as Valley Reserve, warrants an approach which maximises protection of the flora and fauna within it.

Damper Creek Conservation Reserve is an important ecological corridor and refuge for native fauna in an otherwise heavily urbanised area.

Preserving areas such as this is critical. Council wants to minimise the potential impacts domestic animals have on the native flora and fauna in this reserve.

Melbourne-based company Practical Ecology was commissioned by Monash Council to assess the impacts that domestic animals and invasive pest animals have on the native flora and fauna throughout Monash’s bushlands reserves with particular focus on Damper Creek Conservation Reserve.

Domestic animals can be disruptive to native ecosystems if unrestricted and can cause damage to flora and fauna.  The Practical Ecology report found that as dogs currently have unrestricted access to all areas within Damper Creek Conservation Reserve when ‘off leash’ it is likely that they have had a negative impact within the conservation reserve, in particular within the remnant and revegetation areas.

The remnant vegetation within the Damper Creek Conservation Reserve has been assessed as having high quality biodiversity values based on the mature revegetation and floral diversity present and should be protected wherever possible.

Dogs will still be permitted on-lead within the reserve generally and off-leash in pockets of the reserve (near Norman Court and near Warren Court). We have created those two additional pocket areas in response to feedback that was received during the consultation process.

Additionally, there is an existing dog off-leash area nearby at Federal Reserve (approx. 300m from Damper Creek) and a new off-leash area to be provided at Bowman Reserve, also nearby (approx. 400m). 

We know our decision won’t please everyone but believe it provides the correct balance between the protection of Council’s limited and valuable conservation reserves and the needs of dog owners.