What to do
Premier Daniel Andrews
Deputy Premier James Merlino
Hon Lisa Neville
Hon Jaala Pulford
Hon Gavin Jennings
Hon Matthew Guy
Hon Brad Battin
Hon Cindy McLeish
Cut n' paste this letter
Dear (insert name),
I, (insert name), am writing to oppose outright, the additions to the current timber release plan (TRP) proposed under the amendment advertised by the state logging agency (VicForests). There are several well-founded reasons underlying this objection, including:
· Logging has been identified as the biggest avoidable threat to Leadbeater’s possum, and has significantly contributed to its population decline and consequently its uplisting to “Critically endangered”.
· Logging is driving the collapse of the unique Mountain Ash ecosystem of the Central Highlands, which is critically endangered in its own right (assessed under the IUCN Red-list Ecosystems criteria).
· Logging releases carbon into the atmosphere and reduces the carbon storage and sequestration capacity of our native forests (the most carbon-dense forests in the world), which is critical to the mitigation of climate change.
· Recent logging (between 7 and 40 years) can increase the severity of bushfires; elevating the hazard to vulnerable communities and to natural biodiversity.
· Logging destroys natural assets and amenity, weakening the long-term prosperity of regional economies by detracting from current tourist ventures and discouraging potential tourist opportunities.
· Logging is loss-making and costs Victorian tax-payers in unpaid dividends to the state, road damage from heavy trucks and lost water.
· Logging is reducing water run-off from our catchments impacting on agriculture and reducing the supply of affordable, clean drinking water to Melbourne.
· Logging in Victoria’s native forests is not supported by the majority (86%) of Victorians evidenced in the most recent opinion polling registering community support for the protection of native forests. A balance between conservation and the native forest logging industry has not been struck and the industry does not have social licence to continue to fell Victoria’s public forests.
The Labor government is in the process of establishing an industry taskforce to address the issues around native forest logging. The purpose of this taskforce is to negotiate a consensus between stakeholders. However, this purpose cannot be fulfilled while the forestry industry continues controversial logging operations at the expense of the ecosystems that conservationists seek to protect. The state government must not abdicate its responsibility by deferring action to the taskforce without first ensuring the interim protection of the forest.
Under changes made by the previous Victorian government, VicForests, the agency that conducts the logging operations in our native forests, both requests and approves the addition of new areas of forests for logging. Under such a regime, there can be no faith that Victoria’s native forests are being managed objectively or for meaningful conservation outcomes.
In this context, the government must intervene to prohibit the addition of new logging coupes to VicForests’ timber release plan, as proposed by their amendments.
Further, the entire current Timber Release Plan having also been approved without effective oversight in light of the reasons outlined above, should be revoked until proper review, at least, has occurred.
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