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Calls for VicForests to be abolished after forest theft exposed

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and Friends of the Earth are today calling on the next Victorian government to abolish state owned logging agency VicForests and formally protect Victoria’s forests from logging after a special investigation by ABC news has revealed hundreds of areas of native forest have been logged in areas that VicForests is not permitted to operate.

Tonight on 7:30 the ABC will detail widespread and systematic unlawful logging occurring across eastern Victoria under successive governments. 

Logging in one of the areas not allocated to VicForests

Key points:

  • Victorian Government determines where VicForests can log by creating an "allocation order"

  • Only trees within that allocation can be harvested for sale

  • VicForests is taking trees from outside allocation areas at hundreds of locations across the state

Legal experts have likened VicForests logging to an act of mass theft, as trees have been taken from land not allocated to VicForests for logging.

Friends of the Earth and GECO spokesperson Ed Hill said:

“The native forest logging industry is out of control. This massive breach of the law is just one of dozens of examples of a rogue industry flaunting the law to destroy precious forests and wildlife habitat.”

“How the next government deals with VicForests and what steps they take to protect forests from logging will test their commitment to acting in the interests of their constituents who overwhelmingly support the protection of forests from logging.”

“The Andrews government has demonstrably and catastrophically failed to protect forests from logging and appropriately regulate VicForests. Breaches of environmental codes are common, the environment department consistently fail to enforce the law, and VicForests acts as a law unto themselves.”

“Despite an independent review into the environment department’s regulatory activities, illegal logging continues under their watch. Reviewing this broken and dysfunctional regulator is not enough, we need action not talk and we need to protect forests as a matter of urgency.”

“This disgraceful and lawless logging should prompt the Andrews government to take immediate action and commit to protecting Victoria’s forests from logging now, before the election.”

“VicForests should be abolished, it has shown itself to be an incompetent, untrustworthy and law breaking agency. Whoever forms the next government must make the abolition of this rouge agency a top priority.”

“The native forest logging industry urgently needs to be wound up. Victoria’s forests are running out of wood to supply the industry. Endangered wildlife is on the brink of extinction, water supplies are threatened, and our most valuable carbon stores are being destroyed. Victoria’s forests need immediate protection and the government must urgently transition the logging industry into plantations and non timber sources of fibre.”  

“Victoria’s forests must be placed into legislated protected areas immediately and within the first 100 days of the next government a rapid transition out of native forests must be well underway.”

“Statewide polling has consistently shown Victorians overwhelming support the protection of native forests from logging through the creation of new parks and reserves. The Andrews government has just a few days left to act in the interests of all Victorian’s and take decisive action to protect forests from logging.”  

“Logging native forests has to end, there’s no question about it. It is incumbent upon whoever forms the next government to take strong steps to deal with the systemic problems that have plagued this industry and commit to protecting forests from logging and a transition into plantations and non timber sources of fibre.”  

Media contact:  Ed Hill 0414 199 645  / [email protected]

Photos of logged forest in areas outside of the allocation order that VicForests is not permitted to log are attached.

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