Email not displaying correctly? Click here to view it in your browser.
Environment East Gippsland Forest Update Christmas Edition

In this update:

  1. Yearly wrap up
  2. Alexandra mill closes
  3. 2011 UN's International Year of Forests
  4. Brown Mountain Wines for the festive season
  5. Election outcome
  6. New Ministers of the Coalition Government
  7. Tassie day of action – tomorrow 15th Dec
  8. The real forest debate
  9. Tax ruling on charities
  10. Feds offer $32 million to stop Indonesian deforestation.
  11. Illegal timber imports – Feds recycle last election pledge
  12. VicForests Exposed!
  13. Forests Forever 2011
  14. Party at Brown Mountain
  15. Mailing list subscriptions
1) Yearly wrap up

In our almost 30 years of campaigning 2010 has been the most significant and influential. Our radio-carbon dating of giant tree stumps turned Australia's idea of tree ages on its head, and the Supreme Court win made national news and broke new legal ground for small community groups. It showed that a not-for-profit volunteer group can challenge the government's huff and bluff - and win hands down!
VicForests is now carrying out surveys in all East Gippsland's forests where they believe there could be rare or endangered wildlife. However, they are refusing to extend these surveys into forests they believe don't have valuable habitat, or forests outside of East Gippsland. This could be the next challenge to the government's forest management.
Fantastic effort everyone! We can't thank you enough.
The court ruling has many implications which we are still looking at. For those who are wondering what is happening with our legal expenses that VicForests must pay, it could take another 6 months or so for the process to be completed. When we have this money back in our account, we have plans ... !

2) Alexandra mill closes

Gunns Limited has confirmed it will close its timber mill in north-east Victoria. About 40 employees at the company's plant at Alexandra, north-east of Melbourne have been told they will lose their jobs. Gunns is blaming the closure on a large increase in the cost of sawlogs and the high Australian dollar. It did warn of this, and that the Heyfield mill in Gippsland could be next. These two mills represent 40% of the state's native forest sawmilling capacity.

3) 2011 UN's International Year of Forests

Farewell 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, hello 2011 International Year of Forests. More to follow in the new year...

4) Brown Mt wines for the festive season

Are you wondering what gift to buy for Christmas that avoids the shopping crowds ... AND helps the environment?

Goodwill's wine list is a constantly changing selection current varieties include, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and more.
For every dozen bottles sold EEG will receive $20 to help with our ongoing campaingns.
Orders are dispatched quickly and the shipping costs are surprisingly reasonable.
To check out the selection of wines available and to order directly from Goodwill Wines click here.

"... my partner and I don't mind a good drop and found the EEG sponsored wines of the Yarra Valley exceptionally palatable. We received a mix of wines from the various wineries and if the measure of quality is how quickly they are consumed then let me tell you the fight I have with my partner to try and save them for presents or special occasions, sadly I'm losing the fight"
Steve L

5) Election outcome

It looks like the Coalition is well and truly home and hosed, as they say. They'll have a majority in both houses of parliament. Their forest policy includes commitments to ”review harvesting rotations for faster growing native species such as mountain ash" which can be read as converting native forests into even more intensively managed woodchip plantations, and guarantee long-term access to current supplies of native timber ” - which is pretty much business as usual. However, unless burning forests for power gets a leg in the door, the market for sawn hardwood is dwindling by the day.

For more information on the Coalition's environment promises, Environment Victoria has put together a handy summary of where the Coalition stands on the environment available here

6) New Ministers of the Coalition Government
  • Louise Asher: Minister for Small Business, Tourism and
    Major Events
  • Robert Clark: Attorney-General, Minister for Finance
  • Richard Dalla-Riva: Employment, Industrial Relations, Exports,
    Trade, Manufacturing
  • David Davis: Minister for Health and Ageing
  • Hugh Delahunty: Minister for Sport, Veterans' Affairs
  • Martin Dixon: Minister for Education
  • Matthew Guy: Minister for Planning
  • Peter Hall: Minister for Higher Education
  • Nicholas Kotsiras: Minister for Multicultural Affairs
  • Wendy Lovell: Minister for Housing, Children, Early Childhood
  • Andrew McIntosh: Minister for Corrections, responsible
    for establishment of an anti-corruption commission
  • Terry Mulder: Minister for Public Transport, Roads
  • Denis Napthine: Minister for Ports, Racing, Regional Cities,
    Major Projects
  • Michael O'Brien: Minister for Gambling, Consumer Affairs, Energy
  • Jeannette Powell: Minister for Local Government, Aboriginal Affairs
  • Gordon Rich-Phillips: Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Technology
  • Ryan Smith: Minister for the Environment, Climate Change
    Contact details here
  • Peter Walsh: Minister for Agriculture, Food, Water
  • Kim Wells: Treasurer
  • Mary Wooldridge: Minister for Mental Health, Womens Affairs,
    Community Services

7) Tassie day of action

'The Clock is Ticking for Tasmania's Ancient Forests'

This Wednesday, 15th December there will be actions in every state in Australia and on every continent in the world!
Meet on the right hand side (facing the station) of Flinders St steps at 11:45am for a midday start.
Help hold the banner under a clock (for the media shot), hand out flyers with info, talk to passers-by or hold placards. A band has been organised to play music for the 3 or 4 hours and show that “the clock is ticking for Tasmania's ancient forests'. Bring your own placard along if you want.
For more info call Zinta on 0410 407 080.

8) The real forest debate

If you missed out on the politicians and campaigners debate before the election and would like a snippet, the debate was filmed and an excerpt has been posted on the TWS YouTube channel here

9) Tax ruling on charities

For a long time EEG has been in a situation where we aren't supposed to speak out against government policy or we could lose our status as a charitable organisation that can accept tax-deductible donations. But as you know, it hasn't stopped us!
On the 1st December, the High Court told the ATO to change its tune and allow not-for-profit groups to lobby governments and not lose their status. Thanks to a small aid-monitoring group, AidWatch, and with the backing of other larger organisations, many groups which have been silenced by this Tax Office ruling can now speak out against the government and lobby politicians, as long as it's intended for public benefit. It's good timing as the ATO was about to reassess the status of around 200 groups currently listed at tax-deductible (we wonder if it included EEG).

10) Feds offer $32 million to stop Indonesian deforestation.

As part of the climate negotiations, Australia has offered almost $600 million to help other countries adapt to and reduce their emissions. Part of this includes $32 million to go to Indonesia to help them slow down or stop deforestation. Though paying out a few logging contractors in Australia could gobble that up.

In 2007, Howard offered SE Asian countries $200 million to stop illegal logging. All the while Gunns and oodles of sawmilling companies have been given many multiples of this as “industry assistance' money to keep logging.

11) Feds recycle last election pledge on banning illegal timber imports

This is good news but the Federal Labor government has already had three years to get this happening since it first promised this action at the previous 2007 election.
They say that anyone found to be “knowingly” importing illegally logged timbers will cop it with huge fines. We're not sure how they intend to enforce this new law without a strict non-corruptible system of identifying where timber originated. Many of Australia's logging interests are happy with this as it might allow then to sell more timber from Australia's “legally” destroyed forests. Though imported rainforest timbers represent a very tiny percent of our overall timber use.

12) VicForests Exposed!

We have been busy adding new articles to the website.
Click on the image to the left to check out the new VicForests Exposed section.
Articles include;
"VicForests Spin Report - $400,000 annually to silence critics" "Wide scale salvage logging linked to log dump destruction." and "VicForests pulls facts ... out of a hat."

These and other newsy bits will appear in the Summer issue of the Potoroo when Jill has a “free” two weeks floating about somewhere.

13) Brown Mountain Celebration

The Mountain must have organised with the rain spirits to turn it off so that we could celebrate on a most perfect day in a freshly washed forest. An exquisite honey mead was the drink for toasting the win down under the giants. Back at camp on the Brodribb River, we were treated to a gourmet organic vegetarian smorgasbord spread that equalled the finest restaurant. More champagne and superb food was offered for dinner and everyone rolled back to their tents in the evening.
Thanks so much to the "foodies" who spent weeks preparing this feast. And for all those who came up – undaunted by the thought of rain – and helped us toast, feast and celebrate.

14) Forests Forever 2011

Keep next Easter aside for (let’s hope!) the last Forests Forever Camp before the logging industry closes down in Victoria’s forests. Details later but you can book early on line here.

15) Mailing list subscriptions

Did you know that you can update your email address or other EEG mailing list subscription details yourself?
Click here to visit the EEG-e-bulletin Info Page.

Jill Redwood
Environment East Gippsland Inc

FORESTS - our breathing space!