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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

In this bulletin:

  1. Final court orders and costs – appeal process
  2. Gunns Tassie decision – Victorian implications
  3. Legal Seminar on forests – Goongerah
  4. Invitation to Brown Mt – Cup Weekend feast
  5. Protection Zone changes – outrage
  6. Good Supreme Court or Parlt House rally photos wanted
  7. Accountant needed to explain VF’s annual report
  8. Questions for Jennings, Brumby or Helper
  9. Timber Communities Australia – teachers as the problem
  10. Spring Potoroo newsletter 199 – online

Hello EEG e-listers,

1)The final court orders were handed down on the 14th September.
Click here for the arguments that were put up and here for the final judgment.
Basically VicForests have been ordered to pay 90% of our costs and need to establish protection zones for those species which have been identified and they must carry out surveys for three others before the injunction orders can be lifted.
Unfortunately, Justice Osborn has only ordered that DSE be satisfied that VicForests have complied, rather than the court assess if the orders have been properly met.
VicForests has two weeks to appeal this order if they are not happy with it.
Their lawyers have been talking about being able to log the area right through to the last day. If protection measures are properly adhered to this shouldn’t be possible, but we don’t know what nasties are lurking up their sleeves.

2) Logging and woodchip giant Gunns will move out of all native forests in Tasmania and now only use plantation wood. In early September, Gunns’ CEO Greg L’Strange said ‘the debate over logging native forests had been lost’ and that the ‘conflict must end’. European markets are now demanding eco-certified paper and timber products and this has been a key influence in the decision.
In Victoria, Gunns own 40% of sawn timber capacity in two large mills – Heyfield and Alexandria. They have stated that Victoria is next on their plans. Gunns market in Japan for woodchips is Mitsubishi – who sell to Europe. Victoria’s woodchip market is Nippon, who doesn’t have such fussy markets. However, this move by what was Australia’s biggest and dirtiest operator is incredibly significant to an industry that is already insecure and suffering from shrinking markets.

3) Legal Seminar on forests – Goongerah Two of our brilliant legal team, Vanessa and Sophie from Bleyer Lawyers will be coming up to East Gippsland on September the 24th - 26th and will be holding a workshop on the Brown Mt outcome. This will include a summary, implications for other Victorian forests, what it means for blockaders etc. Everyone is invited to attend on Saturday the 25th at the campground (unless it’s raining). There will also be another seminar in Melb later in the year. Contact Jill for details.

4) To help celebrate the Brown Mountain win please join us on Cup Weekend 31st October to raise our glasses with the giant trees.

For bookings and online payments Via PayPal or credit card click here.

5) Protection Zone changes I’m still doing some work on the planned protection zone (SPZ) changes and will send dot point comments through when I work out what old growth is going to be logged and what regrowth is going to be protected now! This proposal for zone changes in the East Gippy Forest Management Plan is an outrageous proposal specifically to free up more quality forest for loggers.
It would be good if you could send in comments of extreme concern and disgust. Deadline is the 20th – Monday. The details are on their site here.
But it’s very difficult to make sense of... Plus the motherhood statements will make you puke. Hope to get something to you by Friday.

6) Does anyone (besides Peter C) have good photos of the court judgment day or the parliament House rally the day after? If so, could you please email or CD them to us, Locked Bag 3 Orbost 3888 or email to Lizzi

7) We could need the services of an accountant for deciphering VicForests annual report and costs/claims of profit making. Their latest report is due out soon. Please ask around. We’d love to be able to have someone help us make sense of their claims and figures.

8) Uphold the law and not alter it. Greens MP and environment spokesperson, Greg Barber asked Minister Gavin Jennings the day after the judgment if he would uphold the law and not alter it.
Click here to read a PDF transcript of Hansard for the exact wording. I’m not going to get too excited by his long-winded answer. If you gets a chance on talkback radio or at a forum please ask a question of Jennings, Helper or Brumby along these lines:

Does the Labor govt have any intention to weaken or alter the wording of our state laws, codes and plans, that would take away or weaken the legal protection for our endangered species?
Given the precedent set by the Brown Mt judgment in the Supreme Court, will the Brumby govt try to alter regulations or laws that will favour logging and the continued exploitation and destruction of threatened species habitat?

9) Timber Communities Australia (loggers lobby group) report
“People not like us”.

This monumental piece of research by VAFI is a ripper. We should have guessed that all the problems in the logging industry was caused by bloody teachers.Behind every social, economic and environmental problem, there is always a teacher.

And good on TCA for spending so much of their money on a consultant’s report to help spell this out and highlight the fact that we are not dealing with ordinary teachers here. No - the teachers nailed by this report are UNIVERSITY EDUCATED teachers - these are the worst type of teachers from the CHATTERING CLASS who teach LATTE SIPPING.

TCA must have spent thousands on this commissioned 6 page report. They even titled it “People not like us”. Its sole purpose is to give past and present Labor governments a big whack for letting down the true blue bush workers. The Greens and ‘greenies’ are not targeted. It’s those educated teachers and chardonnay sippers that cop it.

It’s early for them to come out trying to paint Labor as a bunch of private school, university toffs disconnected to loggers. But they claim that's why decisions over the years have favoured forests (!?!)

Their claimed facts and figures are even better. They estimate there are only 2,600 workers in all of East Gippsland. Half of them in the logging industry! And the mills employ about 80 people each! In reality they'd be struggling to count 8 on a busy day!
We particularly love the reference used to spruik the 13 mills and 2000 jobs that would be affected by ending the < 3% Victoria’s logging that occurs in Melbourne’s water catchments.

FYI, these numbers are more than the entire industry across eastern Victoria! The reference on the last page is: “VAFI data supplied to VAFI” (Victorian Association of Forest Industries). So it must be credible.

Will regional marginal seats really be influenced by this paranoid rubbish?

The report (PDF) is available here.
and the media release ('Word .doc') that came out with the report is available here.
(Thanks Dean and Luke for the added comments).

5) The Winter/Spring issue of the Potoroo Review is now online here.

It was published just before the court judgment, but still contains much news not covered in our updates or in the mainstream media. If you would prefer a hard copy posted to you when it comes out, please become a member and get the news earlier.
For details on how to join, click here. $20 or $15 conc.

Jill Redwood
Environment East Gippsland Inc

FORESTS - our breathing space!