"The area we visited today was once habitat for the extremely endangered Spot-Tailed Quoll. Now it is gone. Not many people know that East Gippsland occupies only 5% of the state of Victoria yet its forests contain 273 rare and threatened plant species and 43 rare and endangered animals. These areas are under threat, due to old growth logging," said spokesperson for the group, Fiona York.
"As women we are particularly concerned about raising community awareness about this issue, and think that Threatened Species Day is the perfect opportunity to do so. East Gippsland has so much biodiversity in such a small area, yet it is only seen as a timber resource. We would hate to see the unique species of East Gippsland go the same way as the Tasmanian Tiger," she concluded.
Photos available. For more information
30 August 2004
Today, in East Gippsland twenty conservationists stopped work in a logging coupe in Martin's Creek, 65 km north of Orbost. The area is part of a rainforest site of significance in the Yalmy River catchment. Today's protest highlights that despite the government restructure of forestry, old growth and rainforest are still being logged. The logging will impact on the biodiversity of this forest, and dry up this part of the Snowy River catchment.
"We are dismayed to see that despite the claims made by VicForests that logging operations are now sustainable, rainforest and old growth forest such as this remains unprotected and is being destroyed daily in areas throughout East Gippsland," said spokesperson for the conservationists, Rena Gabarov.
"The logging regime under VicForests promises to be more of the same, with even less public scrutiny than before. The Timber Release Plan is just a rehash of the old Department's discredited methods, yet with less public consultation and no scientific research. The Department of Sustainability has lost 90 staff members to the new VicForests, but there is still no jobs for research and on-going auditing of logging operations.Who is monitoring this logging of rainforest? It is up to us," said Ms Gabarov.
"It is up to Bracks to fix this before it is too late," she concluded.
Protests are expected to continue.
For more information,
Goongerah Environment Centre