In a devastating move that will surely sentence the Fairy (also known as Leadbeater’s) Possum to extinction, the Victorian state government is attempting to change logging legislation to implement twenty year logging contracts.
Clearly, the amendment intends to remove VicForests' liabilities for things it hasn't done that it should have, and for things it shouldn't have done that it has.
On top of this appalling news for the future of our native forests and our state’s animal emblem, proposed amendments to existing laws were surreptitiously printed on the pages of the state government’s Gazette publication yesterday. If realised, these proposed amendments will dramatically erode the liability of VicForests to responsibly manage our publicly-owned native forests in the best interests of all Victorians.
So what’s really behind this shameless move?
Put simply, as public scrutiny and opposition of Victoria’s unprofitable and unsustainable logging industry gathers momentum, the government wants to change the laws to clear them of any fault and lock in longer logging contracts before they’re forced to abandon the agency altogether.
To remove oversight from logging our native forests at a time when pressure to end an operation that not only destroys our remaining stands of native forest but also wastes taxpayer’s money only highlights the obvious shortcomings of this terminal industry.
The draft amendments to the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act (2004) would be a monumentally large step backwards for the state of Victoria.
The regressive nature of the proposed amendments is clearly evident in the dangerous power it gives to VicForests in terms of development and implementation of the logging agenda. It’s like putting Gina Rinehart in charge of a carbon reduction scheme. Quite frankly, it’s outrageous.
The draft recommendations propose to entrench the unsustainable native forest logging industry in this state. They are a short list of the industry and VicForests’ wish lists.
These are not recommendations that are for the environment; nor are they recommendations that will promote the protection of the values of Victoria’s public native forest estate.