Victoria can ‘take a leaf’ from Tasmania
On 19th October, an historic Tasmanian forest agreement showed the way that eastern Victoria’s long-running logging conflict can be solved.
One of the country’s most battle-worn states has seen the logging industry, Gunns and conservation groups agree to settle the conflict in a way that keeps everyone happy.
“This is a courageous move by the Tasmanian industry, responding to both market demands and public opinion. It is securing a conflict free future for workers, industry and government” said Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland. “This is the path down which Mr Brumby should now follow and help get similar negotiations going in eastern Victoria.”
“In Victoria’s west, plantations are now supplying millions of tonnes of woodchips a year. The majority of Gippsland’s forests are going into the woodchip market. The answer is clear.”
“Plantation products dominate the sawn-timber market with only about 2% of native forest sawn timber being for products that can’t be substituted with pine or other products” said Ms Redwood. “These high quality feature grade timbers could still be taken from our forests at a much more sustainable rate and method than landscape clearfelling that has created so much conflict.”
“There are 4 million tonnes of woodchips being produced from western Victoria now. The companies are so desperate for workers, they are even employing people from overseas.”
“In East Gippsland, the overcutting of the past 30 years has almost come to a brick wall. The shortage of forests to log is forcing the Brumby government to move loggers into highly contentious areas like old growth and designated Protection Zones for rare wildlife. This is provoking more conflict. Here is a solution we should copy that will be a win-win for all”.