Last week we submitted reports to the Department of Environment detailing the presence of protected rainforest, a rare and protected plant and a large population of protected Yellow Belly Gliders in areas scheduled for logging in Kuark forest.
The Department confirmed they will investigate our reports, but they have allowed logging to commence before they investigate!
We reported this before logging started. Instead of issuing a direction to VicForests to not log until the investigation had taken place, the Department has allowed logging to start before they investigate.
The government are allowing VicForests to log forest that may have to be protected under the law, pending the gov investigation. VicForests are logging the evidence we provided before the government investigate. It's the equivalent of a the police ringing a thief and saying, 'we are about to investigate so you better wipe your finger prints off the stolen goods'.
On January 29th we submitted a report to the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) detailing the presence of rainforest within a VicForests logging coupe. The report also provided information on the presence of a very rare and protected plant called Blackfellows hemp which is scattered throughout sections of the logging area. Rainforest and Blackfellows hemp are protected under law and are required to be given buffers.
Where the rare plant is found, the law requires a 250m Special Management Zone be created by biologists to ensure it is adequately protected. Logging had not commenced when we submitted out report of to the Department. Instead of putting a hold on logging to implement legally required protections, they allowed VicForests to commence logging here this week. Evidence of this very rare and protected species could be destroyed before the gov investigates!
VicForests clearly can't identify this species as they nailed their "Timber Harvesting" sign to one of them. You know there are pretty major problems when VicForests nails their logging signs to a rare species that requires protections under the law.
We would like to think the Department of Environment would actually do something good for the environment but once again they're prioritising logging over legal protection of rainforest and threatened species. To read our report on Yellow Belly Gliders and rainforest click here http://www.geco.org.au/reports
Above right - rainforest within the coupe
right - rare plant Blackfellow's Hemp
below- Logging sign nailed to rare and protected plant