We must return federal environmental protections to native forests.
"When an area of our pristine, irreplaceable forest is logged, it is cut down and bulldozed." Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Last Friday was a chance to restore balance to the way our native forests are managed -- a chance that was wasted.
Over the past 20 years, areas designated for logging have been exempted from Australia's national environment laws. Even open cut mines don't get that sort of special treatment. These logging laws, known as 'Regional Forest Agreements', were meant to protect jobs and protect the environment. They have failed on both counts.
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.
After EEG launched a 10 month Supreme Court battle, the government’s logging agency VicForests, has agreed to await further surveys and put in place protections for wildlife and plants before logging. The court orders made on 23rd December detail VicForests obligations regarding the high value forests.