The Baillieu Government did very little but still managed to scrap just about every environmental protection law it could find. Now the Liberal/National Party – Napthine Government with the support of Australian Labor Party is about to remove all controls on logging what’s left of our native forests. The Government and its agencies lost lawsuits brought by community groups to force
it to stop ignoring the lax existing laws to protect the forests and the species that live in them. The Government lost and its response is not to ensure the laws are complied with but to scrap the laws and give unlimited powers to the loggers.
The lone voice in the Parliament was the Greens member that spoke of the madness of giving away our great forests and subsidizing a loss making industry, producing a product that its one customer is saying it doesn’t want. Paper manufacturing is turning to plantation timber because of public pressure and the quality of the timber.
The changes would:
1. Promise unlimited logging contracts (currently licenses have 5 year reviews).
2. Remove government oversight of VicForests’ activities.
3. Effectively privatise the exploitation of the state’s most valuable public natural asset.
4. Promise to supply logs into the future that may not exist, due to fire, drought regeneration failure and so on.
5. Expose the tax-payer and government to paying hundreds of millions in compensation when/if the trees can’t be provided .
6. See forests managed by purely commercial interests with token to no concern for environmental, tourism, heritage, aesthetic or water values.
7. Make it impossible to alter the law if the wood/trees have been promised to a private company by VicForests. The government must provide the logs or pay massive compensation.
8. Allow VicForests Board of Directors to decide when, where and how much it will clearfell .
9. Override and ignore the Auditor General’s current audit of VicForests’ management and the recommendations that will come from it.
10. Remove environmental oversight of logging in native forests.
Environment East Gippsland Inc
Locked Bag 3
ORBOST Vic 3888
(03) 5154 0145
EAST GIPPSLAND – our breathing space