The two faces – of John Brumby

When he was leader of the opposition in 1995, Mr Brumby made this statement in Parliament: “In my remaining 16 minutes I will make a case for why we need an independent commissioner for the environment to ensure that governments honour policy commitments that they have made with other governments. There is no better example of that than in forestry where there have been flagrant abuses of commonwealth and state processes, where there has been an open-slather approach, where the minister’s department is run recklessly and irresponsibly and allows forest practices to occur which clearly breach accepted codes.”

In 1995, John Brumby was the leader of the Victorian Labor party, then in opposition. In a video clip from 1995 we see John Brumby speak with passion declaring that, if elected, a Labor government would end all logging in High Conservation Value old-growth forests, end all export wood chipping in Victoria and move the logging industry completely out of old-growth forests and into plantations.

“that’s what we’ll do when we’re in government – no more export woodchipping, an industry in the future based on plantations and the proper protection of our high conservation value forests”.

In 2006, the ALP promised to
Immediately protect Goolengook and the last significant stands of Victoria’s old growth forests currently available for logging – a 5,000 ha section of State Forests currently available for logging to link the Errinundra National Park to the Snowy National Park…add 2,500 ha of icon State Forest in East Gippsland currently available for logging (Policy for the 2006 Victorian Election).

These are a good start – but forestry interests slashed to billio what was originally on the map for protection. What is claimed to be the last significant stands of old growth are either not old growth at all or are a mere sample of what’s desperately needing protection. What is claimed to have been currently available for logging was quite often not wanted by the loggers, already logged or already in reserves. So if Brumby is genuine about the 33,500 ha of significant old growth, then he must add a lot more to the map yet.

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