f passed the Bill will formalise a new ‘cut-out-and-get-out’ style of forest management in the short term as well as pay millions to the logging industry in the long term.
The proposed Amendments to this law governing native forest logging will hand full powers to VicForests (the profit-driven semi government entity in charge of logging public forests) and it will expose the state of Victoria to payouts to the industry players of hundreds of millions. This change to the law mirrors closely what the logging lobby group, AFPA’s submission demanded.
The changes would:
1. Promise unlimited logging contracts (currently licenses have 5 year reviews).
2. Remove government oversight of VicForests’ activities.
3. Effectively privatise the exploitation of the state’s most valuable public natural asset.
4. Promise to supply logs into the future that may not exist, due to fire, drought regeneration failure and so on.
5. Expose the tax-payer and government to paying hundreds of millions in compensation when/if the trees can’t be provided .
6. See forests managed by purely commercial interests with token to no concern for environmental, tourism, heritage, aesthetic or water values.
7. Make it impossible to alter the law if the wood/trees have been promised to a private company by VicForests. The government must provide the logs or pay massive compensation.
8. Allow VicForests Board of Directors to decide when, where and how much it will clearfell .
9. Override and ignore the Auditor General’s current audit of VicForests’ management and the recommendations that will come from it.
10. Remove environmental oversight of logging in native forests.
Environmental regulation of the native forest logging industry should be increased as VicForests has been found to be consistently over-logging, logging unlawfully, unaccountably and in the face of enormous and escalating community opposition.
This proposed change of the law is a desperate attempt to maintain a dying industry that is losing its traditional markets for sawn hardwood timber and export woodchips. It hopes to encourage even more destructive industries to use forests as a feedstock for biomass burning for electricity and processing into fuel. (Timber Industry Action Plan. Dec 2011). Hence this ‘overkill Bill’ to entice prospective investors and industries that want wood as a raw material.
UPDATE on the Law to gift our public forests to private profiteers
On Tuesday (7.5.13) there was a presence all afternoon from 1-5pm on the steps of Parliament House. But the appalling new logging law Bill went through the upper house without amendment. It will now be sent to the lower house possibly in the week of 28 May. It will likely pass without any difficulty – unless someone crosses the floor.
John Lenders (Labor) moved that it be referred to committee but the vote was split 18-18, so failed. He then tried to propose 3 amendments but each was defeated.
Greg Barber (Greens) spoke strongly against it and asked questions that the Lib/Nats couldn’t answer. Lenders spoke up too. Greg thanked all the forest supporters who attended. He says it’s rare to get such public interest and he really appreciates it.
People who tried to get into the PUBLIC gallery were told only friends of Dr Napthine’s could get in! The Greens sorted out security and about 40 supporters sat and heard the debate.
Please keep promoting the petition (www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/defer-the-bill-that-would-lock-in-long-term-native-forest-logging) – we have almost 4000 signatures. Hitting double digits will help convince Geoff Shaw to cross the floor.
If people are in Geoff Shaw’s electorate – we desperately need you to gather friends/family and go see him, write a letter or call him. This could be the only chance to stop this Bill going through.