East Gippsland's forests under threat & a free pass for illegal logging
Email the Victorian gov, moratorium until there's action for threatened wildlife
Despite this summer's terrible bushfires, the government are rushing in to log fire-damaged forests, and precious unburnt areas under the renewed legal exemptions for the logging industry from national environment laws.
Thanks to thousands of Victorian's like you emailing the government and engaging in the RFA review process, important new clauses have been added to the agreements.
In the absence of scrapping the dodgy exemptions, the Victorian government has made commitments to:
1. Conduct risk assessments for all listed threatened species by October this year
2. Consider the impacts of climate change on vulnerable species
3. Review the current reserve system and update state environment laws
4. Conduct a major event review to consider the impacts of this summer's bushfires
We expect all these commitments to be conducted by independent scientific experts, in consultation with the community, and result in strengthened protections for threatened species.
Until the commitments are met, we're calling for an immediate moratorium on logging across Victoria. The government cannot continue logging wildlife habitat and threatened ecosystems after the devastating bushfires before new and stronger protections are implemented. Join us in calling for better protections for wildlife.
Victorian government to log thousands of hectares of fire damaged forests
The Andrews government logging agency VicForests have written to Goongerah Environment Centre outlining plans to log thousands of hectares of forests affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires in East Gippsland, despite the known devastating ecological impacts of salvage logging. The government's own regulator is working with VicForests to give them the green light to salvage log, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that this will cause severe ecological harm. The Age have reported here.
Logging is well underway in fire-affected forests south of the Alpine National Park
"The forests are now silent", short film tells the story of Kuark
Earlier this year we visited the ancient forests of Kuark with wilderness photographer Rob Blakers.
A shocking series of before-and-after shots show the horrific impacts of the fires to ancient and rare cross-overs of warm and cool temperate rainforests.
Environment Victoria traveled to bushfire affected areas and communities to create a series of short films. This part in the series shares the story of Kuark, Rob's journey there, and of long-time forest campaigner and ecologist Rena Gaborov, who lost her home and wildlife shelter in the fires.
It brings home the urgent need to protect forests and wildlife across Victoria in the wake of this summer's catastrophic bushfires. Government logging cannot go on business as usual in burnt and unburnt forests when so much has been lost.
Take action and email Premier Dan Andrews hereRead more
10-year legal exemptions rolled over, State and Federal govs fail to protect threatened species
Legal exemption for the logging industry from federal environment law was signed off on Monday for another ten years in spite of the horrific impacts of the bushfires on forests and wildlife. Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) are agreements between State and Federal governments which give logging a special exemption from Federal environment laws (the EPBC Act). Logging is the only extractive industry which receives legal exemption, and will be disastrous for threatened species and forests devastated by the fires.
Given the extensive impacts of the bushfires on forests and wildlife the agreements should have been left to expire to give species a chance to recover. RFAs have allowed logging in thousands of hectares of threatened species habitat for over 20 years, and this will continue now they've been renewed. This will have devastating consequences for wildlife already on the brink of extinction. The Age have reported here.
Threatened Greater Glider, Federally listed on the EPBC Act which logging receives special exemption through the RFAsRead more
Photos reveal Kuark forest devastated by recent bushfires
After a five year long community campaign, the iconic Kuark forest in East Gippsland was finally protected by the Victorian government. Tragically, Kuark was severely impacted by the devastating fires of 2019/2020. Kuark forest was one of the most bio-diverse forests in Victoria, rich in wildlife, rare rainforest and old growth forests.
After months of wondering with hope and fear of how Kuark had been impacted by the fires, Tasmanian nature photographer Rob Blakers and GECO campaigners returned to the area to document the devastation. Sadly the scale and intensity of the destruction wrought by the fires is profoundly devastating. Read a report from The Guardian Australia here.
Mount Kuark old growth forestRead more
Environment Dept. allow VF contractors to go rogue on roadside clearing
Roadside clearing operations on the Princes Highway are complete, and now along hundreds of kilometres of tracks through burnt and unburnt forests, roadside logging is well underway. VicForests cowboys have been contracted by the Environment Department for hazardous tree removal, and they've been given the green light to ‘salvage’ those trees from the road-clearing effort. But over-zealous roadside clearing and tree removal is happening, and according to reports only a small portion of trees being taken are actually hazardous. It’s very unclear as to what environmental regulations and assessments are being done to ensure that only dangerous trees are being removed. The Age has reported on the issue and the Office of the Conservation Regulator is now investigating.
“We are extremely disturbed at the amount of questionable clear felling of large habitat trees occurring along thousands of kilometres of East Gippsland’s roads... We fear that demands from industry for salvage logging of burnt public forests is already happening under the guise of road clearing operations.”
Over-zealous and unregulated logging of Bloodwood trees in Cape ConranRead more
Logging industry 'suspended' pending closure in East Gippsland
VicForests has cancelled logging contracts in East Gippsland following the catastrophic bush fires this summer.
It's estimated that around 50% of forests previously scheduled to be logged have been burnt by the fires, forcing VF to rethink its plans and suspend logging until at least mid year.
'Salvage' logging operations, unfortunately, still haven't been ruled out by the government at this stage, amid calls by the industry to also log National Parks.
After decades of over logging, the Andrew's government finally acknowledged the industry isn't sustainable last year and announced a transition out of all native forests by 2030, starting in 2024.
Now, with so much forest burnt, our wildlife pushed to the brink and more Black Saturday type fires predicted, industry exit packages should be brought forward to provide immediate protection for threatened species from logging and a just transition for forest workers.
Forests on the Errinundra Plateau thankfully left unburntRead more
Email the Premier to protect forests, and rule out salvage logging
In November 2019 the Daniel Andrews government announced a commitment for all logging in native forests across the state to stop by 2030. Now this summer’s fires have added an urgent need to protect what remains. The ecological devastation of the bushfires has been clearly laid out in a leaked report, species are likely to already be extinct as a result of the fires. Meanwhile the logging industry is calling for funding to salvage log burnt forests.
Take action and send an email to the Premier
Rainforests turned to ashes and logging industry calls to loot burnt forests
Below is footage of Martin's Creek, the largest area of warm temperate rainforest in Victoria that burnt in the bushfires in East Gippsland. Meanwhile the logging industry has been asking for government funding to salvage log in burnt areas. This is essentially further destroying forests that have been burnt despite proven damage to ecosystems and wildlife which urgently need assistance to recover, not further destruction and damage. Logging is still happening in Victoria despite catastrophic losses of forests and wildlife. All forests are now critical refuges for remaining threatened flora and fauna.
Call the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on (03) 9651 5000 and tell him; no salvage logging in burnt areas, and protection of all remaining unburnt forests.