The Brumby government is playing the walnut and pea trick with our reserves. After protection was offered to some areas of old growth in the lead up to the ’06 state elections, our government might now be offering other reserves as a trade off for their protection.
We wrote to the Environment Minister Jennings, asking for clarification on how they intended to meet their promise to both protect the areas identified (though not all of it was old growth, controversial or even available for logging) and maintain the same volume of logs to the industry.
We asked for assurances that they weren’t considering an exchange of currently protected forests in Special Protection Zones for the newly identified areas. “Freeing up” or clearfelling SPZs would keep the rate of logging at a steady pace, but it wouldn’t offer any net gain for the conservation of old growth forests.
The response avoided any mention of SPZs. The letter did say that the RFA is still a significant part of what informs the regions forest management and protection.
A major part of that agreement dated 3rd February 1997 says:
“The RFA promotes the transparency and accountability of forest management with:
five yearly reviews with public input to monitor progress under the RFA
We’re still waiting for the reviews 11 years on, let alone sustainability indicators, threatened species monitoring and other promises.
Forests are now an accepted antidote to tackle climate chaos. They are water, soil and soul nurturers. Now is the time for this government to bite the bullet, get rid of the plundering pulpwood monster, tell Michael O’Connor to go to hell, and do a serious overhaul of the management and use of our native forests.