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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

Hello fellow forest supporters,

This is a short version of the normal EEG update on forest news – which just keeps coming. Forest politics is at a very volatile stage just now. The best news for us lately is that the large Heyfield mill owned by Gunns, has stopped taking sawlogs from VicForests. They were responsible for about half of VicForests’ sales and operated in Central Gippsland.

The rest of the news will be printed in the paper version of the Potoroo Review and given to the snail to get out to members. To join EEG or renew your membership online click here

It’s National Threatened Species Day this Wednesday. Please write (short, punchy) letters to the papers or make talk-back calls to radio if you are able. Thanks
    Jill and the team

Important announcement regarding Forests and the Law workshop

If you are planning to go along this Wednesday – please register with the EDO immediately. Otherwise it will be cancelled due to lack of viable numbers. Phone 8341 3100 or email for bookings
Wednesday 7th September
Bakewell Room Lakes Entrance Community Center
18-28 Jemmeson St Lakes Entrance.

Nat Threatened species day – endangered Quolls to be poisoned

Exactly 75 years ago the last Tasmanian Tiger died in Hobart Zoo. It was Australia’s largest meat-eating pouched mammal. Now, Australia’s second largest carnivorous marsupial could be poisoned to extinction in Victoria if plans by the Baillieu government go ahead.

Poisoned meat baits would be randomly dropped from the air over large areas of Eastern Victoria, and almost certainly wipe out Victoria’s last remaining viable population of the nationally threatened Spot-tailed Quoll. Environment East Gippsland has formally asked the Federal Government to step in and prevent this plan from proceeding in known Quoll habitat.

“The Baillieu government’s plan is very poorly thought out and appears to be pandering to a handful of sheep farmers calling for a dramatic and unproven fix to their dog problem”, said Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland.

“The Baillieu government is currently allowing and encouraging destruction of nationally endangered wildlife habitat. This is as bad as we ever saw under a Labor government. This includes destroying by fire or chainsaws:
  • the state’s rare faunal emblem, the small Leadeaters possum in its Central Highlands’ forested habitat,
  • vast areas of Mallee Fowl habitat in the west will continue to be part of blanket prescribed burns,
  • old growth forests where the endangered Long-footed Potoroo has been found,
  • casuarina habitat in the far east that the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo depends on,
  • hundreds of old hollow trees essential for the survival of the great forest owls and gliders
  • the rare Alpine frog in the National Park where beef cattle were allowed last year

“Many of these actions can be carefully planned or alternatives found so rare wildlife numbers can recover and survive”, said Jill Redwood.

“A legal case in the Supreme Court 12 months ago showed recklessness by the government’s logging monopoly VicForests. Court orders have still not been acted on. Rather than honour State laws, Mr Baillieu is now prepared to alter the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act to allow continuing killing and demise of our rare wildlife”.

“If we can ensure the survival and an increase in the numbers of our last surviving quoll species, there may be hope for the other 300 rare and endangered species in this state”.

Local environment group issues writ for injunction on logging

VicForests is back in court again! This time it’s for logging the habitat of Victoria’s faunal emblem – the Leadbeater’s possum. On 25 August, the Victorian Supreme Court ordered VicForests to stop logging in the Sylvia Creek Forest in the Central Highlands NE of Melbourne.

Local group, My Environment, courageously issued a writ to stop the logging through a legal injunction. Justice Osborn, who heard the Brown Mt case in 2010, ordered VicForests to temporarily cease logging for three weeks in Sylvia Creek’s Leadbeater’s habitat. The case for the interlocutory injunction will be heard on 19 Sept.

Fewer than 1,000 Leadbeater’s could now remain. Previously thought extinct in the area, they were found in the forests after the ’39 fires. But their numbers have been dropping due to the logging of their habitat for woodchips to make Reflex paper, and were severely impacted by the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. Despite the evidence that Leadbeater’s live in the area, VicForests has still been clearfelling their small areas of surviving forested habitat.

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act planned for emasculation

As a result of our Brown Mountain Supreme Court Action, the government is planning to rewrite and weaken the only endangered species legislation Victoria has.

The Baillieu government’s dastardly plan is being pushed by parliamentary secretary for forestry, Gary Blackwood, member for Narracan and logging industry worker.

Almost a year to the day that the Supreme Court finding was handed down and VicForests was ordered to stop logging in Brown Mountain, the govt’s logging monopoly has still neglected to carry out both of the court rulings (regarding our legal costs and surveys at Brown Mountain). And almost exactly one year ago, Mary Wooldridge, then shadow Minister for the Environment, promised the public on the steps of Parliament House that her government would honour the court ruling and not change the laws.

We always suspected that if they got into government, they’d alter the law rather than honour it. And that’s exactly what they have cooking.

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act is Victoria’s main legislation to protect our rare wildlife and natural ecosystems. It gives inadequate protection, is loosely written and in places ambiguous, but EEG’s Brown Mt case proved that it does have some teeth in law. A large part of the problem has been the government’s lack of will to adhere to this law and to the action statements written to protect and restore rare species.

The fact that a community group sued them in court over this lack of adherence to the law was a shock to them and all their mates. Their plans for development, logging, mining, pipelines, desal plants have all relied on successive governments’ inaction to protect rare species. So now they want to change the law so that it has no legal teeth at all.

As Josh Gordon from the Age put it:
“...the Department of Sustainability and Environment is quietly examining Victoria's 23-year-old Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act so that the existence of animals deemed threatened or endangered is less likely to derail logging proposals...Senior department and government sources have confirmed the government wants to overhaul the act amid concerns that environment groups are becoming increasingly skillful at capturing footage of endangered species to thwart logging operations”.

Read more:

Other news items to come to your door via the Potoroo ...

  • Gunns sells up Heyfield mill – industry cut in half
  • VicForests in Supreme Court again
  • No Harvey No comes to East Gippsland
  • Rare species act (FFGA) to be weakened in Vic
  • Cattle grazing – FOI shows anti-science basis
  • Reflex dumps eco–tick for cheap VicForests’ logs
  • PaperlinX triples its loss to $108 m
  • Nippon paper’s not feeling well
  • NSW upper house dumps Reflex paper
  • Rainforest discovered in ‘green’ office paper
  • Fuji Xerox ditches bad paper; Officeworks follows
  • CEO Pollard bails from VicForests
  • Orbost logging mafia pushes for biomass burning funds from Feds
  • Orbost’s water polluted by logging
  • Buchan Sawmill for sale
  • Tassie news:
        a. Tassie deal – good and not so
        b. ‘Greenie’ to manage woodchip mill
        c. Loggers march against their $180 million
        d. Study into Tassie carbon and forests
        e. New market for Tassie logs
        f. Is there a spin-off for the mainland?
  • Eco–certified Koala destruction in Sth Gippy
  • Wood demand for furnace electricity rises OS
  • Eden forest furnace plans push on
  • Feds coy on funding of forest furnaces
  • Feds ‘one-stop permit shop’ plan
  • Triabunna 13 – Gunns drops litigation
  • Law and Disorder – Forests and Climate
  • ‘Governmentium’ – for a laugh
  • Deep ecology workshop

            Environment East Gippsland Inc      FORESTS - our breathing space!