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The Department of National Parks Victoria published a proposal on their website entitled ‘Mount Howling to Pleasant Peak Alpine Crossing 2017 Master Plan’ that examines private investors to financially support the redevelopment of the Alpine National Park. The use of optimistic statements, coupled with clear statistics, figures and graphics, is intended to highlight the necessity for immediate action in order to profit from this opportunity.
In contrast, Katherine R’s passionate plea, submitted to the ‘Community Input’ section of the Department’s webpage, she rejects this proposal for its focus on economics rather than on the needs of walkers and the preservation of the landscape. She evokes a peaceful, attractive image of the area as it is currently, and aims to foster a sense of community among walkers, urging them to work together and protect the area from turning into a tourist landmine. In a considered and uplifting tone, the Master Plan report presents the argument that commercial development of the Alpine National Park is a necessity for economic growth in the region.
The use of positive and encouraging statements filled with affirmative calls to action, such as ‘critical opportunity’ and ‘tap into this economic development’, reinforces to readers the importance of immediate action, positioning them to feel anxious about missing out if the proposal were to fail. The proposal describes in detail ‘Victoria’s premier hiking experience’, with ‘serene mountain peaks’ and ‘high-quality accommodation options. The use of complimentary language helps to summon feelings of luxuriousness, positioning readers to imagine a more extravagant version of the region that will appeal to more people and attract more money. T
his is reinforced by the two images of the ‘roofed accommodation’, which indicate the high-quality facilities that could be created in Victoria. These images highlight the comforting, modern additions associated with development, with nature being neglected to the background. Consistent use of terms such as ‘comfortably immerse’, ‘safety and comfort’ and ‘fully relax’ are intended to appeal to tourists’ expectation of creature comforts when travelling, even in nature. Painting such a picture of the newly developed Alpine Crossing is an attempt to modernise the antiquated notion of ‘bushwalking’ and appeal to a new and more mainstream market that otherwise might have little interest in visiting the region. Accompanying the Master Plan, the graphic depicting estimated benefits and costs is used to inform readers of the potential societal and major positives of the proposal.
The projected windfall of ‘$10 million p.a.’ to the region, as well as the ‘creation of 80 ongoing fulltime jobs’, strongly demonstrates the plan’s overwhelming positives. This is reinforced by the inclusion of the ‘benefit: cost ratio of 7:1’, which aids readers in comprehending the merit of this plan. The use of evidence and statistics positions the proposal as well thought out and researched, inspiring confidence in readers that success, in terms of increased revenue and visitor numbers, is guaranteed. The drafters of the Master Plan recognise that environmental groups might take issue with the proposed changes to a natural space, and therefore seek to assuage any uncertainties by affirming that ‘the design of the lodging will be to the highest environmental standards. Phrases such as ‘smallest ecological footprint’ decrease the readers worries about the environment impact of the Master Plan.
The response to this Master Plan from concerned bushwalker Katherine R fiercely dismisses the proposal, which she believes will prevent ‘ordinary Victorians from enjoying’ their parks. She implores readers to stand up against this injustice. By identifying herself as a ‘long-time bushwalker in the High Country’, she positions herself as a reliable source whose concerns are motivated by environmental problems for the landscape and for other bushwalkers like her. In an assertive tone, she rejects the proposed changes and states, ‘I do not give … permission to sell my land to private operators’. By suggesting that any proposed changes would need the support of the residents, Katherine aims to elicit support from readers, who are positioned to feel concerned about the impact on those who live in the region and enjoy the natural features of the park. Furthermore, the use of passionate language such as ‘alarmed’, ‘devastated’ and ‘fear’ evokes a sense of sympathy towards the writer’s trouble, while also inciting fear in readers at the possibility that the beautiful landscape will be ‘devastated by the building of tracks and accommodation’ and ‘overrun with package tour groups’.
This encourages readers to resist the proposed development. Both of these texts contend opposing contentions regarding the implementation of the Master Plan for Victoria’s Alpine National Park. The Department of National Parks Victoria’s plan relies on optimistic language and statistical evidence to persuade readers of the desirability of the proposed development to the Alpine National Park and its surrounding areas. In stark contrast, Katherine R employs a passionate, personal tone to appeal to readers’ sense of injustice and anger. Her rejection of this capitalistic venture elicits support through its active engagement with the reader and its use of rhetorical questions, emotional language and second-person voice.
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