This small step in the direction of finding a win-win solution was hijacked by the bullies within the F part of the CFMEU.

Moves to save Leadbeater’s possum will put timber jobs at risk, Victorian government told

The Andrews government has been told it must choose between saving Victoria’s endangered emblem the Leadbeater’s possum or hundreds of timber industry jobs.

The government’s forest taskforce has been told the only way to save the Leadbeater’s Possum, is to stop logging in the Central Highlands.

The highlands are home to the vast majority of the state’s 1500-3000 Leadbeater’s possums.

The forests include areas designated for paper pulp and ...

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Victoria’s forests are not magic puddings

Matt Ruchel, member of the Forest Industry Task Force and our executive director, explains why sawmills and the pulp and paper industry don’t understand how forests work.

Forests are living ecosystems, not magic puddings, and cannot supply something that doesn’t exist.

The recent declaration by VicForests, the state government’s logging agency, that there is insufficient wood to supply Gippsland sawmills, is hardly surprising – the writing has been on the wall for decades, made worse by the Black Saturday fires.

The blame for ...

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Heyfield timber mill plea misleading

LIKE politician Danny O’Brien, I’m angry about the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods sawmill debacle.

Very angry. This disaster should have been avoided. Successive governments, of all persuasions, have badly mismanaged timber resources.

A sawmill company is now gaming the system, demanding access to timber it knows is not there. Sawmill workers will be losers.

But so will Victorian taxpayers, who are being asked for a $40 million handout to prop up an industry that will never repay its debts.

It is a rescue package ...

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National park in Victoria’s east could create 760 jobs, environmentalists say, give tourism boost

Hundreds of timber industry job losses could be offset with $45 million in government and private investment into a new national park in eastern Victoria, The Wilderness Society says.

The 500,000 hectares of forest, east of Melbourne, is home to the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, but also provides timber for Australia’s largest hardwood processor at Heyfield.

The timber mill’s owner, ...

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Legal exemption for logging – extended

Premier Daniel Andrews secretly extended the 20 year RFA logging deal for East Gippsland with no review, assessment or public knowledge, one day before it was due to expire. This is an astoundingly irresponsible move considering that in the week before, VicForests admitted there are not enough forests left to keep the sawlog supply going.

What’s the RFA?

Twenty years ago on 3rd of February 1997 the logging of East Gippsland’s forests was ...

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New economic era for East Gippsland

The call by the Auswest sawmill and Tim Bull for long term log contracts to be renewed (EGN/SRM 2 Nov) is a misguided ‘Magic Pudding’ mindset, according to Environment East Gippsland.

“Long term contracts are not being signed because there has been serious uncertainty of resource availability for quite a while”, said Jill Redwood from EEG. “The government initiated Forest Taskforce is currently looking into whether native forests can keep providing logs into the future. It appears this could now ...

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Native forests are worth more unlogged, so why are we still cutting them down?

I spent the first four years of my life living in the middle of the forest in southeastern NSW.

Our log cabin was at the end of a dirt road, surrounded by stringybark, spotted gum and the sounds of kookaburras and lyre birds.

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Wombat holes and lichen-covered boulders dotted the hillside and the creek ran cold and clear, steeped red-brown with tea ...

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Taskforce’s first industry/logger agreement

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 ...

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High drama turned into a High five!

A Greater Glider forest refuge was being clearfelled by VicForests through July and August in an extremely provocative act while taskforce members negotiated. This created extreme volatility between the government, its Forest Taskforce (set up to solve Vic’s long and bitter forest dispute), environment groups and VicForests. The logging coupes in our current legal case are all part of it.  

After weeks of intense work by our ...

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Forest Industry Taskforce progress

In line with the Taskforce Terms of Reference, those representing the industry, union and enviro groups have refined the agreed opportunities for industry and conservation changes. This includes the establishment of new parks and reserves, threatened species, wood supply security, industry investment, measuring and valuing forest carbon, jobs and regional employment, review and reform regulations (laws), the future shape of the industry and the future shape of conservation and the parks system. Basic information about the Taskforce is available here.

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