After much blood, sweat and tears, the Forest Taskforce finally gave birth to the long awaited agreed position called the Statement of Claim on Friday 9th September. The basic details are… there needs to be 2 VEAC enquiries – one on our forests and their natural values and one looking at what ‘resource’ is left for industry. There needs to be carbon accounting, law reform and a changed future plan for industry (based on plantations we hope).
This first report sees agreement between industry and enviro reps that:
- biodiversity values and threatened species need to be appropriately protected across the forest landscape, including by establishing new parks and reserves
- methods for measuring carbon are required for accounting for carbon abatement in native forests and plantations
- there needs to be a review and reform of the current regulatory system around forests and logging (laws) to ensure certainty for both the environment and workers.
- a secure future wood supply from a mix of sources that best supports investment and jobs in the industry, and that the establishment of new plantations and agroforestry are crucial elements to growing future wood supply
- forest landscapes and forest products industries support direct and indirect employment and businesses which are vital to local and regional communities, that opportunities exist for growth, and where employment changes arise, an orderly and just transition for workers is required.
As such, the Taskforce will now continue with its work to progress to final recommendations, including:
- A Future Industry Plan
- A Future Conservation and Parks System Plan
- An initial Victorian Environment Assessment Council assessment of forest conservation values
- An initial Victorian Environment Assessment Council investigation into the viability of fibre and wood supply
- Methods for valuing carbon in plantations and in native forest
- A regulatory review and reform process.”
Loose cannons from the logging industry have slammed the agreed points claiming it could wipe them out. The Greens on the other hand have asked why bother having a process to sort out forest destruction while the destruction continues? The ongoing clearfelling the forests that will be investigated by VEAC for protection, is a major issue still to be thrashed out. If this flashpoint is not resolved, the good intentions that Daniel Andrews had, might also be trashed. It seems that VicForests is doing its darndest to maintain the status quo and keep obliterating our most highly valued forests.