Wildlife more imperiled than ever – as Gillard kow-tows to env exploiters

Just two years ago, the hard-won River Red Gum Parks along the Murray River were declared. Now they’ve just been handed to loggers.River Red Gums

As Gillard is poised to hand the states almost total control over Australia’s environmental gems, the Baillieu Government along with the NSW government, declares they will re-introduce logging into the Barmah and Murray Valley National Parks under the guise of ‘ecological thinning’ trials. If they shamelessly give us this example of the level of state environmental responsibility just days before the COAG* meeting, what will Ted Baillieu and Peter Ryan slash, burn, dig up and log AFTER the decision?!

We’ve had ‘scientific’ clearfelling of Potoroo habitat, ‘scientific’ cattle grazing in Alpine parks, and now ‘scientific logging’ in the Red Gum National Parks.

The Red Gum parks were established to protect important forests and wetlands and a significant number of rare or threatened plants and animals.

As a National park that supports federally listed wildlife, the state should refer these plans to them unbder the EPBC Act, but are simply declaring that the logging won’t have any impact.

The federal EPBC Act also lists the threat to the Ramsar wetlands along the Murray as a trigger for federal intervention.

Trees will be cut down at 22 sites over about 400 hectares of the National Parks. Most of the wood will be burnt as firewood.

They hope to show in five years time, that thinning trees out of the forest will allow those left will grow better. If there’s no water to be returned to the river, the solution for the dying trees seems to be to take out and burn half of them; brilliant stuff!

It looks like the 3000 tonnes of ‘waste’ will be offered to the locals as ‘shut-up’ offerings, and to help divide the communities so that any environmental voice is silenced.

Baillieu has already quietly allowed duck hunting inside these parks. Seems these areas are parks in name only.

* COAG – Council of Australian Governments – meeting on 7th December to vote on whether to hand almost all environmental powers to the states. This will set back env protection 30-40 years!

Please email a quick letter of concern to Julia Gillard re plans to effectively wipe out federal env laws. Mention that John Howard set it up (is she more right than he was?), the shocking env record of the states and how the Business Council of Aust (BCA) is dictating to the Aust Govt. etc . Ask for a response asap.
It’s quick and easy.

http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm

Download VNPA’s media backgrounder here:
http://vnpa.org.au/admin/library/attachments/PDFs/media-backgrounders/Ecological_thinning_in_red_gum_parks.pdf

UPDATE Gillard puts decision on hold

Politics is hard to fathom at times – but from the interview with Fran Kelly (Radio National) this morning (6/12/12) it looked like all the players couldn’t agree on standards, how much responsibility the different states wanted to take on, etc. We hear Julia Gillard just wants to refine the decision (!) but let’s hope it doesn’t ever get resurrected. Let’s use this momentum now to demand strengthening of the Fed laws.

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