VicForests turns 10 today. In that time it has received $25million in grants and subsidies to help it haul $300million worth of free logs from public forest which it still owes Victorians $74million in unpaid dividends for. This debt to the public could build 10 new schools, pay for 96 additional teachers or deploy five additional Erickson Skycranes each summer.
“Today VicForests celebrates its decade of logging, but environment groups will be celebrating the anticipated end of a decade of looting, debt and destruction” said EEG’s Jill Redwood.
“VicForests is the ultimate entity of entitlement, yet is still unable to ‘operate its business … as efficiently as possible consistent with prudent commercial practice’, as its Charter states it must”, said Ms Redwood. “The Napthine government is also finding it increasingly difficult to justify the financial losses and the legal shielding it needs.”
“If this was a private business it would have been bankrupted years ago. A decade of irresponsible, reckless and unsustainable logging of public property all the while bludging off tax-payers is not something to celebrate”, said Ms Redwood.
“VicForests would have to be the State’s most brazen ‘entity of entitlement’ yet could cease to operate in East Gippsland after December due to the Japanese woodchip buyer, Itochu and Nippon, deciding to not renew woodchip contracts ”
“VicForests has controversially clearfelled and chipped at least 2/3rds of our forests to supply the export woodchip company at Eden. This will now see local sawmills suffer. Most Gippslanders though will celebrate the anticipated end to VicForests’ reign in the east and an end to the decade of sending our rich forests into the woodchip pile and waste paper bin”.