Major planned changes to logging rules would protect industry but allow destruction of rare wildlife in the most brazen and contemptuous move we have seen.
Can plans to give the logging bullies unregulated access to forests get any worse?!
VicForests is facing constant legal battles as community groups are forced to sue them in courts (currently 8 cases are active). This is because the government refuses to properly regulate their logging. But rather than force VicForests to clean up its act, the Dan Andrews government now plans to:
* Weaken or do away with environmental laws,
* Weaken protections for fire impacted wildlife,
* Undermine legal challenges against VF lawless logging.
And all of this through an extremely blatant process of maladministration (some call it corruption) to allow them to quickly ‘tick the box’ of community consultation.
It is clear to us that behind the scenes, industry interests are influencing govt policy and the law.
All through July 2021 people studied the 350 highly technical pages and 3,000 proposed structural changes – many needing in-depth legal interpretation. It’s been a massive task.
The VNPA has put together a quick and easy message for you to send to the Environment Minister. It takes no more than 30 seconds, including the fun part of devising your own short punchy heading.
Environment Minister: Don’t dilute wildlife protection or democracy
If these plans go ahead, hundreds of dedicated zones designed to protect habitat of threatened plants and wildlife won’t be governed by enforceable rules under law as they are now, but just wishful targets or aspirations left up to logging agencies and vested interests.
This is one of the most outrageous plans in years!
The timing of this opaque attempt to undermine laws that apply to logging is almost deliberately rushed to save VicForests from the multiple court cases they look set to lose. If rulings are made against them it could see many unburnt refuges, old growth, glider habitat, buffer zones and other valuable areas remain standing and protected.
During the supposed transition from native forest logging by 2030 (too late for most forests), planned new changes will give loggers access to threatened wildlife habitat. These areas are now even more critical to protect after the bushfires.
These reforms are aimed at silencing community rights to hold illegal logging to account.
If all this sounds familiar, it’s because a similar proposal to water down “the Code” emerged in 2019. Concerns and some serious legal questions were raised by the conservation community and the Environment Minister quickly withdrew the flawed plan.
The Andrews government seems immune to community backlash and they appear to be showing blatant corruption in order to rush this through.
In the wake of a global extinction crisis, climate disruption and the devastating bushfires, strengthening logging laws and a rapid transition out of native forest logging is the only way forward.
The Environment Minister should strengthen the Code, not dilute it.
The below PDF is a the official submission we put together in the short time frame allowed. It doesn’t comment on the 3000 changes to weaken the logging code, but more on the govt’s see-through agenda and contempt for community groups. The Andrerw’s government and its industry and union buddies don’t want to protect the forests but the forest pillagers; they want to annihilate even the weak laws we have, undermine current legal cases against VicForests and take out the last 20% of East Gippsland’s forests that weren’t burnt in the horrific bushfires of 2019-20. You can see why we used the above cartoon as the main response to this appalling plan.