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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update Winter 2014
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In this bulletin:
  • VicForests celebrated 10 years of looting, lying, pillaging and bludging.
  • VicForests in decline but Vic still the top Ozzie logging state
  • Iron-ore mine denied use of chipmill port – a good sign!
  • 60ha glasshouses – to use ‘waste’ wood – from where?
  • Logging increases forests flammability - new research.
  • Blitz burn regime of 5% questioned by Neil Comrie.
  • The wildlife cost of DEPI burns
  • Goongerah-Deddick fire fighting failures – report.
  • CSIRO dumping 33 logging scientists
  • SA blue gum is 2,000 years old
  • Maremma dogs as active conservationists for Bandicoots!
Things you can do to help
  • Kick the Yellow pages
  • Pizza fundraiser at famous East Gippsland low energy house and gardens
  • Change your power supplier
  • Buy a plant ID booklet – for you and friends

  • Help with some social media “how to”
  • Help to approach antique and art valuers with some items we have
Please call Jill 5154 0145 or email


VicForests celebrated 10 years of looting, lying, pillaging and bludging.

10 years of ensuring there is none
On the 1st August, VicForests celebrated its 10th year - of looting, pillaging, debt and lies.
In the last 10 years it has received $25 million in grants and subsidies to help it haul $300 million worth of free logs from public forest for which it still owes Victorians $74 million in unpaid dividends. This debt to the public could build 10 new schools, pay for 96 additional teachers or deploy five additional Erickson Skycranes each summer. Let's call for a Commission of Audit of all Australian forest agencies.
Read more on our website here

VicForests in decline but Vic still the top Ozzie logging state

One could drive a D4 through VicForests' arguments and never scrape a fact While in terminal decline, VicForests has copped another whack – this time a ‘left hook’ from The Age (after the Herald-Sun’s ‘right hook’ recently). There’s a lengthy article online detailing the decline of the industry in all states and a shorter article on Victoria’s situation here.

Even though VicForests is the top of the pile of forest destroyers now, it only shows how badly in decline the other states are. The Eden chipmill manager stated

           "...plantations in Vietnam, Thailand and Sth America produce cheaper chips with higher yields... crowding Australia out of its...once lucrative markets in Japan".

It wasn't greenies but markets he said,

           "Some...paper companies are...reluctant to take woodchips from Aust. forests because            of their contested environmental nature".

Sounds like the result of greenie campaigns to us.

Iron ore decision = shaky future for chipmill

The mountain of woodchips at Eden This is very exciting news; the controversial export woodchip mill at Eden (NSW), has officially reneged on its deal to let iron ore from the planned open cut mine at Nowa Nowa (in East Gippsland) be shipped from their woodchip loading facilities. This is a very strong sign that it's not looking good for either nasty project now.
Eastern Iron's media release says:

           “SEFE has now advised that its Japanese shareholders, ... have decided not to enter into            an agreement with Eastern Iron thereby denying use of the SEFE facility.
           SEFE further advised that the Japanese shareholders were unable to make any positive            decision for Eastern Iron’s use of the site prior to them making a decision on the future of            the SEFE operation itself. This could leave the door open for future use of the site by            Eastern Iron once these plans are finalised, however, no timetable for this decision was            provided.”

The full media release is here

This new iron ore port customer would have helped the chipmill out financially. But the Japanese owners have decided that the future is so shaky they won't even commit to this income!

60ha glasshouses – to use ‘waste’ wood – from where?

Tall trees or tomatoes? Will our forests be burnt to warm winter tomatoes? The planned 60 ha of hydroponic greenhouses seems like good news but could be a disaster for our forests. Energy development company and biomass burning advocate HRL along with two other companies are claiming they’ll heat these vast greenhouses by burning 220,000 tonnes of industrial wood waste a year. Coincidentally, it's the same amount the Victorian government is trying to find a buyer for to save the East Gippsland logging industry.

This new intense food production site to be built at Avalon would be the largest in the world. It’s a great way to produce fresh food on a mass scale in a small area all year round, but we wonder what we are not being told about the intended true source of their ‘waste’ wood.
Read more on our website here. Or The Weekly Times article from the 6th August 2014 or the ABC Rural article.

Logging increases forests flammability - new research.

2001-logging-regrowth-burnt New landmark research shows conclusively that the deadly Black Saturday fires were more extreme due to the thick flammable LOGGING regrowth. Scientists from Melbourne University and the ANU (Professor David Lindenmayer, Dr Chris Taylor and Dr Michael McCarthy) say the study showed the deadly blaze was more extreme where it ripped through young logging regrowth. The study is dynamite and is published in Conservation Letters. Read more on our website here or at the ABC news website. A complimentary study by Michael McCarthy can also be found here.

Blitz burn regime of 5% questioned by Neil Comrie.

the 390,000 ha target may not be achievable, affordable or sustainable The 5% burn target has again been questioned by none other than Neil Comrie. He said “the 390,000 ha target may not be achievable, affordable or sustainable.” (from the latest BRCIM’s 2014 annual report).

The Bushfire Royal Commission’s Implementation Monitor's 2012 Final Report advocated that the State reconsider the rolling target for planned burning of five per cent and replace it with a risk based approach focused on the protection of life and property. In 2013, the BRCIM also stated that the 390,000ha target may not be achievable, affordable or sustainable.

           ... area based hectare targets alone will not necessarily reduce the bushfire risk to life and            property in Victoria and may have adverse environmental outcomes.

           “With the benefit of five years dedicated work in this area, the BRCIM considers it may be            timely for the State to reconsider [Royal Commission] Recommendation 56, having regard            to the positive shift in focus from a numeric area based target to a risk based approach in            order to deliver an effective long term program of planned burning
                                                                                                               Pages 47-48.

Premier Napthine is fooling the public with a perverse ‘pyro-placation’ politics that’s criminally destructive, costly, expensive and ineffective. How more effective those millions could be if put towards more targeted and effective protection measures.

The government has every reason now to review its current land and fire management. Significantly, the new research which shows that logging regrowth (a large % of public forested land) creates a more intense and deadly bushfire must be considered. The abstract of the report can be found here.

The wildlife cost of DEPI burns – shocking imagery.

These DEPI prescribed burns cause tremendous carnage After the 463,000ha that burnt across Victoria this summer, DEPI still planned to light up another 260,000ha during autumn. However they only managed to blacken 82,000ha thanks to the rain. They 'prepared' 400,000ha with bulldozers and felled the larger habitat trees around edges and tracks. The financial cost of these public ‘feel-safe’ exercises would be millions. But far worse is the cost to wildlife:

If this sickens you to the stomach, please sign the petition here.
The next planned burn target for 2014–15 is 385,000 hectares!
Have your say by 28th August:
Scroll down to the downloadable PDF maps to see where they plan to burn next in your region.

Goongerah-Deddick fire fighting failures – report.

Goongerah-Deddick_Trail_Fire_Community_Report As a result of the failures identified in the 2014 Goongerah-Deddick fire fighting operations an internal report by Chief Emergency Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley was released in July focusing on just four topics. The many issues raised were narrowed down to:
  • Victoria / NSW Cross border fire arrangements
  • Initial Attack / utilisation of resources
  • Road Traffic Management
  • Community involvement in fire preparedness, response and recovery
There was little mention of the out-of-control environmental damage done by certain operators, the excessive area deliberately burnt by DEPI (half of total area?), the torching of the unburnt green wildlife refuge islands and the overt ‘revenge’ tactics by boys controlling bulldozers. Hopefully the culture of the local DEPI staff will be investigated as part of the overall problem.

Kim Wells, Minister for Bushfire Response has appointed Tony Pearce to further investigate and ensure systemic changes that deal with the lack of initial attack, the use and misuse of resources and the cross-border fire arrangements and why the 200 NSW fire fighters ready and waiting to help were turned away.

This report should be completed by the end of September.

CSIRO dumping 33 logging scientists

forestry itself is not backing its own research As a result of the $110 million budget cut handed to CSIRO by the Abbott government, 33 forestry scientists will be ‘let go’. The logging industry complained bitterly but to his credit, Industry Minister MacFarlane defended the move saying "forestry is retreating in some areas". The logging association only contributes one dollar in seven towards research so mustn’t be very confident in its own future. In comparison agriculture contributes one dollar in three. CSIRO’s forestry research included bio-fuels and bio-products and forestry management.
Listen to the full interview with Industry Minister MacFarlane on ABC Radio National here

SA blue gum is 2,000 years old

2,000 years old

A sprawling, time-worn South Australian Blue Gum is believed to be 2,000 years old. It’s truly mind-boggling to imagine what the world was like when this tree began sprouting from a tiny seed. It makes our 600 year old shining gums seems like infants. Read more here

Maremma dogs as active conservationists for Bandicoots are being trained as conservationists

Maremma’s, those giant white fluffy livestock guard dogs have been effective in protecting penguins and now are being trained as active conservationists for Bandicoots!

Teams of highly trained dogs will be deployed as “bodyguards” for bandicoots threatened by feral cats and foxes, in an initiative which could help reverse the precipitous decline in several other Australian native species.
Read more here

Things you can do to help

Kick the Yellow pages

discarded-yellow-pages Call 1800 008 292 to cancel the yellow pages - and save some trees!

This year, go from yellow to green by cancelling the delivery of the Yellow Pages to your address. It can be done in a few simple steps online here

Leave a comment on our Facebook page when you've made the change - a small step in the right direction is worth celebrating! And remember to share with your friends.

Fundraiser Lunch for Greens Gippsland East Election campaign

pizza lunch For $30 per head we offer a pizza lunch made with some home-grown ingredients, home-brew beer (or wine if preferred) and a tour of John's renowned food-growing and home energy systems.

John has published widely on home sustainability particularly in ReNew magazine and is highly regarded as an expert and leader in the field.

Sunday August 24th, from 12pm to 4pm, 320 Bellbird Road, Clifton Creek, 3875.
Bookings essential.
Please call 0449734587. Kids under 15 y.o. half price, kids under 6 y.o. free.

Change your power supplier

While the three nasty energy companies, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia have mounted an anti-renewables campaign, Abbott is planning to clear the way for native forest wood that is burnt in electricity furnaces to be deemed ‘renewable’ energy.
We need to act quickly to send these power companies two messages:
  1. that we don’t want their dirty power and their lobbying against clean energy.
  2. you want them to promise never to sell electricity generated from burning our forests
sun in sunglasses clipart If you’re sick of being stung by unethical power companies – join in the mass switch from the Dirty Three power companies to genuine renewable electricity retailers, and help save Australia's Renewable Energy Target. We have to act quickly.
Read more here.

It takes 5-10 minutes to change your power company and Powershop will even pay up to $75 of any penalty for changing retailers. They are the cheapest and the best!

Buy a plant ID booklet
local pocket guide to East Gippsland's native plants
Now the spring flowers are coming out, get your copy of this little gem.
Just $5 for a full colour 56 page pocket guide to the native plants of East Gippsland. It includes the common trees, midstorey and ground level plants and flowers.

Order one for yourself and a few for friends and kids online at the EEG shop.

If you miss any of our past forest news updates you can always catch up and read them on the EEG website online here.

If you like what we do, or if you feel outraged and want to help somehow you can donate here EEG provides the most enviro-bang for your buck – and we work 7 days a week – no holiday pay, no office rent, power bills, wages or overheads.

           Jill and the team.

            Environment East Gippsland Inc.      FORESTS - our breathing space!

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