Creation of Great Forest National Park could hand inner Melbourne seats to the Greens

VOTERS in three inner-Melbourne electorates overwhelmingly want the Victorian Government to stop logging native forest in favour of the proposed 355,000-hectare Great Forest National Park.

Polling conducted by Lonergan Research for the Greens shows that 96 per cent of voters in Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote believe the State Government has an obligation to protect Victoria’s native forest.

More than one third of respondents said the decision to create a national park, from Kinglake across the Yarra Ranges to Mt Baw Baw and north to Lake Eildon, would have a large influence on their vote

And more than 90 per cent of those polled said they supported the proposal to create the Great Forest National Park even though it would kill off the Yarra Ranges timber industry, costing hundreds of jobs.

The State Labor Government — which risks losing inner-Melbourne seats to the Greens at the next election — is continuing to negotiate with industry, unions and environment groups about the development of a new national park in the Central Highlands.

Greens state forests spokeswoman, Samantha Dunn said the issue could see voters in the seats of Northcote, Richmond and Brunswick change their vote.

“Labor could lose all three seats to the Greens and that’s enough to put us in the balance of power in the lower house,” Ms Dunn said.

The poll of more than 1200 people also found that the main reason voters supported the creation of a Great Forest National Park was to protect the state faunal emblem, the leadbeater’s possum.

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