How ironic that the timber industry chose March 21st, International Forest Day, to barricade Parliament with logging trucks and demand accelerated logging of the dwindling mature forests of the Central Highlands! When the rest of the world was reflecting on the benefits of forest wilderness for people, for economies and for the planet itself, we were confronted with a macho display calling for conservation regulations to be weakened. Both industry and union are pushing for increased clearfelling of alpine and mountain ash forests, already devastated by decades of intensive logging and catastrophic bushfires, to keep the Heyfield timber mill profitable.
Forests are not a Magic Pudding and this fact finally caught up with the government and VicForests in January 2017. Knocking down forests faster than they can regrow has been the management standard for decades by every logging agency and overseen and excused by every government (Liberal and Labor). After such cut-throat management, the industry and workers are now screaming that their throats have been cut because the limit has been reached; forests can no longer provide the sawlogs demanded.
Premier Daniel Andrews secretly extended the 20 year RFA logging deal for East Gippsland with no review, assessment or public knowledge, one day before it was due to expire. This is an astoundingly irresponsible move considering that in the week before, VicForests admitted there are not enough forests left to keep the sawlog supply going.