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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

Hello forest supporters ...

In this update:

  1. Forest Furnaces still in limbo – Still Urgent.
  2. Leadbeaters Possum court case – not a straight loss.
  3. Ninety additional coupes for East Gippsland.
  4. Forests Forever 2012.

1. Forest Furnaces still in limbo – Still Urgent.

Tony Windsor has publicly stated he won’t be voting for the Oakeshott motion to burn forests for power – thanks to all of you who emailed and called as per our last ‘call for action’. BUT …

as a result of a peculiarity in the way Government works, the motion to call native forest furnace electricity ‘renewable energy’, has been sneakily placed on the 'non-controversial' list. That means that unless the Labor Government decides to force a vote, within days this back-door change in renewable energy policy could sneak through Parliament without there even being a vote!
Your local Labor MP has the power to lobby their peers to prioritise this vote before it's too late. We can't let this go through without a democratic vote. Can you contact your local MP and urge them to make sure this is the number 1 issue in Parliament when it returns on Monday? Get-Up is calling on all Australian’s to get cracking on this – before our forests get thrown into power furnaces, as renewable energy! and with financial credits to boot!

We've got just 2 days to make sure the government prioritises this issue and brings it on for a vote first thing Monday. Please – can you contact your Labor MP or Senator now to ask them if they’ll stand up for our forests? Click here to find your local pollie.

Background: Last year, the Greens, Independents and Labor passed the climate agreement with the Greens’ critical provision - to make sure that burning native-forests in power plants won’t be classified as renewable energy. The logging industry has been lobbying Oakeshott hard to reverse this provision. If this is allowed to go through – our remaining forests will disappear into the atmosphere as carbon pollution, and the regrowth as well - for decades to come. This one is super critical ! Please help if you can.

2. Leadbeaters Possum court case – not a straight loss

After almost 2 weeks in the Supreme Court, last Thursday (14th March), Justice Robert Osborn declared that the laws to protect this endangered state faunal emblem weren’t doing their job. But due to some fancy footwork by VicForests he couldn’t declare its intention to log the three areas under contention. The stands of forest (logging coupes) in question would have threatened the Leadbeaters Possum if logged but Justice Osborn said that there was no clear intention to log these areas. Huh? What had happened was that VicForests had taken a step back and they were mere proposals on a map, rather than imminently about to be clearfelled. That’s our interpretation of it.

But at least the protection prescriptions have now been clarified. So unless VicForests thumb their noses at the law again, they must apply these to at least 168 other stands of ash forests likely to be Leadbeaters Possum habitat.

What was made clear in this case is that state laws protect logging above threatened wildlife, thanks to the weakness designed into the Flora and fauna Guarantee Act and the Forest Management Plans. We can’t fathom how this was so different to our Brown Mt case.

However – Justice Osborn called for an urgent review of the zoning system that is supposed to protect Leadbeater's habitat, to take account of the effects of the 2009 fires. These fires reduced the already small population by half. But all he can do is recommend this, not order it, as we understand.

The judgement can be found here   For further details on the outcome click here

This was a brave move by Sarah, Adam and MyEnvironment to take the case to court. It seemed to be very strong and had parallels with the Brown Mt case but VicForests managed to slip through this time. Though not totally.

The costs ruling will be handed down next week.

3. Ninety additional coupes for East Gippy

For the masochists – the maps and schedules for VicForests latest logging additions (to their already huge wish-list) called ‘proposed changes’ are on their website and they are planning for another 90 coupes to add to their grab bag and asking for public comment up until the 13th April.

Read the details of the proposed changes here

4. Forests forever Ecology Camp

The easter camp is on again this year 6th- 9th April.

Book early as the camp is becoming increasingly popular.
Details are available here
and bookings can be made on our website here

           Jill and the team.

            Environment East Gippsland Inc.      FORESTS - our breathing space!

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