‘Public Safety’ Zones and are basically a legal force-field inside which anyone can be arrested for carrying out an activity – like bushwalking or camping – or witnessing logging. They cover large areas of public land that belong to you and I.
These huge rectangular zones are arbitrarily plonked on the map where logging is planned.
We have found that these areas total over 340,000 ha in the eastern part of the state i.e. a large percent of our public lands are considered illegal for our use when we are told VicForests logs less than 1% of public forests every year. We know VicForests is pretty reckless, and log trucks tend to operate like they own our roads, but do they need hundreds of hectares to ensure we are safe from them?
Some of these areas are enormous. Coupe 461-514-0010 is a 10 km roadline coupe. VicForests has a ‘stay-away’ zone that is approximately 10,000 ha!
This is not an isolated case; one 32 ha stand of forest proposed for clearfelling has a 'safety zone' of 206 ha. Many small coupes have ‘stay-away’ zones in excess of 200 ha. There are at least seven coupes that have been logged and handed back to the DSE yet these zones are still in place.
We have written to Peter Walsh and Ryan Smith asking why they uphold this strange situation which makes normal use of public land illegal.