Goongerah Environment Centre Office (GECO) has welcomed the state government’s announcement that some old growth forests in East Gippsland’s Kuark forest will be protected, but has raised concern over continued logging in environmentally sensitive forests under the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).
Forest in the Kuark that will now be protected from logging
The state and federal governments have extended the contentious logging deals for another two years today after the East Gippsland and Central Highlands agreements reached their used by date.
The RFAs provide the native forest logging industry with an exemption from national environment law and have been heavily criticised by environment groups since they were signed in the late 1990s.
“We welcome the government’s announcement that parts of the Kuark forest will now be protected. This is a good step in the right direction and we look forward to working with the government to ensure the Kuark forest is formally incorporated into the Errinundra National Park along with other forest areas of high environmental value, within this term of government,” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.
“Today’s announcement does not provide full protection for the iconic Kuark forest, some areas have not been included, we will continue to advocate and campaign for their protection,” said Ed Hill
“Many other areas of high conservation value and old growth forest across East Gippsland remain open to logging and need to be formally protected.”
“This is a good start by the Andrew’s government and we congratulate them, but a lot more needs to be done. Logging continues in old growth forest and critical habitat for threatened species like the Greater Glider, these forests urgently need protection,” said Ed Hill.
“We cautiously welcome the government’s commitment to a pre logging survey program. Any such program needs to be based upon the needs of our threatened wildlife and rigorously and thoroughly ensure that legal obligations to protect threatened species are met, this must take precedence above providing operational certainty for VicForests. We look forward to examining and scrutinising the details,” said Ed Hill.
“The two-year extension of the Regional Forest Agreements has extended the logging industry’s legal exemption from national environment law, whilst some protection of Kuark forest is welcomed, overall Victoria’s forests and wildlife deserve more. Habitat for species like the nationally threatened Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum will continue to be logged with legal impunity and the special treatment given to the logging industry will continue,” said Ed Hill.
Media contact – Ed Hill – 0414 199 645