A new report has recommended protection of the forests of the Strathbogie Ranges in new conservation reserves. The report has been funded by local communities in north-east Victoria frustrated at the lack of action by the Andrews government.
Download the Media Release
Local trucking company owner and spokesperson for Save Our Strathbogie Forest, Shirley Saywell, said ‘the Strathbogie Forest is being wrecked by logging and local communities and businesses have had enough. The Andrews government is not listening to regional communities, and we fear the loss of forests and threatened species which support local tourism and visitors to our region’
The report recommends the following:
● That the Andrews Government enable the formal protection of the Strathbogie Forest under the National Parks Act, encompassing all of the existing State Forest and other associated public land, as part of its election commitments in 2018.
● The statewide significance of these forests for meeting National Reserve System targets, Victorian Government protection commitments and for the future survival of the nationally endangered Greater Glider possum population requires their urgent protection in a conservation reserve.
● Formal protection of these forests for nature conservation also helps demonstrate the commitment of the Andrews Government to land settlement agreements being negotiated with the Taungerong Clans.
‘The Andrews government has the worst record of any Victorian Government over the past sixty years in declaring new national parks’, she said. The Government has been in a forests policy vacuum for 4 years, in the meantime allowing known habitat for threatened animals to continue to be trashed by its state-owned forestry business. It’s time to protect the Strathbogie Forest as part of a comprehensive policy to protect wildlife, forests and valuable tourism economies in our region.
A decision to protect the Strathbogie Forest by the Coalition or Labor, as part of a forests and conservation policy, prior to the November election would receive strong support from communities across our region. It will demonstrate furthermore that regional communities’ forest concerns are being listened to. It will also provide opportunities for new jobs and economic growth in regional Victoria.
● The Victorian Coalition committed to a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council investigation into Strathbogie forests before the 2014 election.
● 74% of native forest in the Strathbogie Ranges has been cleared, with less than 2% of the Strathbogie Ranges permanently protected in formal conservation reserves.
● At 24,000 ha, it is the largest block of Public Land in the Strathbogies.
● The Strathbogie Forest is of statewide significance for the Greater Glider possum, listed as a threatened species under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. The forest has one of the healthiest Greater Glider populations known in all Victoria.
For comment Shirley Saywell 0427 246 900, Bertram Lobert 0409 433 276
Members of the Save Our Strathbogie Forest campaign get their first look at the new report.
And this is what’s worth protecting.
Ancient Messmate eucalypts of the biggest olderst trees we’ve found anywhere in the forest!
Mountain Gums that predate European arrivals
Exciting granite landscapes
Granite tors in heathland
Threatened species, like this Greater Glider(Image Lance Williams)
A vision for the future
The Strathbogie Forest has been ignored for too long. The Victorian Government has the opportunity to capitalize on the strong community support and compelling weight of policy, which underpin the significant benefits of protecting the Strathbogie Forest.
Though modest in size, the statewide significance of this forest is now beyond argument. Its protection in a conservation reserve is urgently required for meeting National Reserve System targets, Victorian Government protection commitments and for the survival of iconic national and state endangered fauna species.
Forest protection will provide, not only significant biodiversity outcomes, but demonstrable support for regional communities, a genuine commitment to people caring about nature, improved visitor experience, and increased tourism opportunity. Regional communities and businesses want protection of the natural environment and the benefits of sustainable economic development, particularly the burgeoning economies around nature-based tourism – these will return real benefits to regional Victoria.
Local communities and many thousands of Regional Victorians are calling on the Victorian Government to protect the Strathbogie Forest as a conservation reserve.
The most recent example of “No logging in the Strathbogie Forest for the next two years”. The logs in the background are headed for export to Asia.
Reflecting on our ‘engagement’ with Vicforests over the last couple of years, a pattern emerges where things just don’t add up – repeatedly. It’s only by looking at the detail and compiling a list such as this (and this is the tip of an iceberg), that one realizes that the public (the actual owner of the land and the resource!) is seen, not as a legitimate stakeholder, but as an obstacle, to be sidelined, dismissed, or won over. Those institutions responsible for managing this ‘public land’ on behalf of the actual public, are selling us all down the river and further eroding confidence in public institutions and politics. We hope, by documenting our experience, it will be useful to other communities facing similar challenges. Here are some examples.
In late 2016 Vicforests gave this commitment to DELWP and the Environment Minister’s Office, but by June 2017, they had abandoned this intention. The statement was made at the time Parlour’s Creek coupe (home to Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders and Koalas) was being logged. There was considerable concern about this logging from the local community, environment groups, scientists and the Environment Minister’s own Scientific Advisory Committee. The timing of the Vicforests commitment suggests its purpose was to deflect criticism of the logging. More details here – link.
Lesson: When you’re in a tight spot, just say what people want to hear, to get the monkey off your back. If you get caught out, just say you were misunderstood, misquoted, or that circumstances have changed.
With Greater Gliders in the news last week, we’ll take you back to a video released two months ago.
We know that the bulk of the logs from Barjarg Flat in the Strathbogie Forest went to China, either as whole logs or chips. Vicforests’ assurance that the timber would go to “mills throughout the state” was clearly misleading – somehow the Vicforests press release forgot to mention exports to China! Or perhaps “mills throughout the state” is Vicforests code for Strathbogie trees being pulped for paper.
It’s also known that 90% of the Mountain Ash forests of the Central Hiighlands is woodchipped, turned into sawdust, or pulped for paper – not that the industry advertises it.
To make ethical choices about the products we buy and the businesses we support, share this brochure.
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The Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) certification mentioned in the brochure, has changed it’s name to, wait for it, ‘Responsible Wood‘! Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more perverse, an industry that is proud of forest management resulting in ecocide:
Mountain Ash forest in the Rubicon Valley, Victoria, after clear fell and burning.
.. starts calling itself Responsible Wood! The hypocrisy, the arrogance, the greed, the blindness. ‘Save me, save me, save me from tomorrow. I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools!’ And without doubt, we will pay tomorrow.