The Brumby government snuck out a media release at 7pm on Tuesday 10th November 2009. What was in it that they didn’t want the media to make a big deal about? It was about the area of old growth that it had promised to protect 3 years ago – but much reduced. There is now 5,000 ha less than the original offer. It also cut out the intact stands of old growth at Ferntree Creek and Big River. How did they do this and still claim to protect even more? They protected areas that were already protected but under a different name.
In 2006 they had 4,000 ha of protected forest offered for protection. In 2009, the government used this trick again to protect an even greater 12,000 ha of reserves. This is hardly a conservation win when ancient trees at Brown Mt. are still planned for logging.
The dry crappy burnt forest around Buchan has been left in as ‘significant stands of old growth’.
However – one part of the offer is quite good. There’s a decent area of the Yalmy forests protected (too steep to log) and at last Goolengook (what a shame they’d already spent over a million logging the heart out of it earlier).
But the rest?
Page ONE of the ALP 2006 election policy was a clearly worded promise to protect “the last significant stands of old growth currently available for logging” — not cow paddocks — not burnt regrowth — not previously logged areas — not protect areas already protected – but ‘significant stands of old growth currently available for logging’.
This is another attempt by the government to put polish on a turd.
Mr Brumby has caved into the logging brotherhood – again. Three years of negotiations after a solid promise to protect old growth and the Labor government still can’t do what it says it will for forests.
So that means thousands of hectares of publicly owned old growth forest are still on the government logging maps for conversion to industrial tree farms.
The government could have easily and smoothly honoured this promise – saved old growth forests – our 600 year old trees, endangered wildlife and saved the declining logging industry in East Gippsland. How? By helping to provide skilled workers to the plantations in the rest of the state. These plantation companies are screaming out for hundreds of workers.
But Mr Brumby has instead decided to knock down ancient forests, add hundreds of years of stored carbon into the atmosphere, convert public forests into commercial tree crops, maintain the conflict, keep a handful of workers in an insecure industry, while allowing the plantation logging companies in the west to import their labour needs.
Thanks Mr Brumby.