… and cut for firewood.
Barjarg Flat coupe contained some of the highest quality forest left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges and was home to the highest ever documented Greater Glider numbers in Victoria. So, how does the Victorian government manage habitat of this EPBC Act and FFG-listed species? Easy – they let Vicforests loose.
Most of the trees cut from the Barjarg Flat coupe were cut into sub 6m lengths, loaded onto B-doubles and taken to Midway’s in Geelong for export to China. We know this, because forest supporters watched the coupe for many days. The truck carrying the export logs, the ‘white Iveco’, passed the properties of several SSFG members on it’s way to the Hume Fwy and then forest supporters caught up with it at Geelong and documented it’s arrival at Midway. Midway exports lots of Victoria’s native forests. None of the logs on any of the B-doubles were graded saw-logs, but some of them sure looked the part!
We estimate that at least 60% of timber from the coupe was exported to China via Midway.
Sometimes, the truck went to a fumigation facility at Williamstown first, suggesting at least some loads were put into containers to be exported as whole logs. Exporting whole logs might be better than chipping, but none of those trees should have been logged in the first place.
Vicforests’ claim that this “… operation is important to the local economy as it will support around 25 direct jobs and many more jobs down-steam” is clearly misleading. The jobs on-site equate to 1-2 FTE! But perhaps the ‘down-stream’ reference refers to ‘down-stream and across the oceans’, to China!
And clearly, China values the “…unique hardness, strength, durability and beauty that only slow grown native hardwood can produce…” more so than local mills, because China got most of it.
What happened to the rest? A smaller number of loads went to at least one, possibly several, regional mills. Most of that timber was cut and sold as green hardwood, but it’s hard to say how much. What’s clear, is that the ‘red truck’ that transported ‘saw-logs’, was generally only half-full of graded logs (with stickers). What happened to the ungraded logs on the red truck?
Then there’s firewood. As we know, logging prime threatened species habitat for firewood is celebrated by Vicforests. Well, the Barjarg Flat logging contractor is also a firewood merchant (sound familiar?). The stacks of firewood logs at the coupe landing give an indication of the amount of firewood coming out of the forest and observant folk in nearby towns have let us know that the firewood truck was often unloaded at 11 pm at night, under lights (to avoid prying eyes?).
But just in case some of those beautiful messmates were milled and kiln dried, we’d be keen to hear where the high quality furniture, flooring, trusses and staircases, that they’ll be turned into, can by purchased. Post a comment below if you can help.
Thanks to everyone that volunteered their time and kilometers to collect this information.