12,000 people call for logging Bill to be deferred


12,000 people call for logging Bill to be deferred

The Wilderness Society
Last week, the regressive Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment Bill passed th…
11:15 AM (29 minutes ago)

Last week, the regressive Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment Bill passed th…
The Wilderness Society <mail@change.org>
11:18 AM (26 minutes ago)

to me

Last week, the regressive Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment Bill passed the Victorian Parliament.

You were one of at least 12,000 people who thought this shouldn’t have happened.

Thanks for signing our petition and sending a strong message to the Napthine government that it’s imprudent to give rogue logging agency VicForests more power than they’ve already got.

The Wilderness Society raised your concerns with many MPs, arguing that it’s irresponsible to vest in VicForests more power to make decisions about where and when they log, without enough environmental and governmental oversight. And that it’s especially impetuous to do so, while VicForests is in the Supreme Court of Appeal over allegations that they’ve logged the habitat of the state animal emblem, the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) Possum!

We met with Liberal MPs to explain why we’re concerned about the Bill. None of them tried to convince us that logging in native forests is good, nor that it needs to continue.

So why did they support the Bill?

We’re as disappointed as you are that no Liberal MPs stood up to the Nationals on this poor forest management policy.

New laws allowing for long-term contracts won’t magic up a long-term wood resource.

In fact, while the Bill was in Parliament, VicForests announced that due to a reduction in wood resource availability (‘cos they’ve overlogged for so many years, and due to the impacts of bushfires), they’re going to reduce their Ash logging by an (inadequate) 25%!

Despite this, the SFTA Bill was still supported by every Liberal and National MP in the Parliament, bar one.

On 7 May, when the Bill was before the Upper House, Labor MLC John Lenders said the Opposition believed the Bill is “flawed”. Labor also suggested that because the Auditor-General is currently investigating VicForests, the Bill should be properly considered by a Committee.

We were heartened that President of the Upper House, Liberal MLC Bruce Atkinson agreed, and called upon the House to support the Bill being considered by a Committee due to his concerns about the “long-term sustainability of the resource”. Sadly, the vote was tied and the Bill proceeded to the Lower House.

When it was debated there, the House was reminded of the plight of our endangered animal emblem when Opposition Environment Spokesperson Lisa Neville asked whether by passing the Bill, Parliament is “putting at risk the future of our native forests and creatures like the Leadbeater’s possum?”

In our view, that’s exactly what the Bill does. We remarked that the Bill “would likely secure the extinction of the state’s animal emblem, the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) Possum, and require taxpayers to underwrite contracts to logging companies and paper manufacturers when the state cannot meet wood supply obligations.”

In his contribution in Parliament, Greens MLC Greg Barber asked “would you invest in VicForests if it were a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and you saw that it had had a string of financial losses virtually since its inception and that its entire business was underpinned by, in effect, one customer with a stated position of getting out of the industry the company was in?”

Here Mr Barber is referring to Australian Paper, manufacturers of Reflex copy paper, who have previously stated they intend be out of native forests by 2017. We believe our forests belong to all Australians, not only to logging and woodchipping companies.

Write a letter to Australian Paper CEO Jim Henneberry (1) to let him know you’d like to see Australian Paper out of native forests far earlier than 2017, and our forests protected.

The amazing Knitting Nannas of Toolangi were at Parliament to listen to the debate about the Bill, too.

“We are aghast that the state government is attempting to ‘stitch-up’ a deal that will see our publicly owned native forests handed over to the industry for infinity logging,” said KNOT spokesperson, Karena Goldfinch.

We know that Victorians are proud of their environment, and want to see forests protected. 12,000 people can’t be wrong.

When it comes to the Sustainable Forests Timber Amendments Bill, the Napthine government hasn’t represented you. If your local MP is a member of the Napthine government, do let them know you’re disappointed they passed some very regressive logging laws, without even taking the trouble to defer them until the Auditor-General’s office has completed its investigation into VicForests and logging in Victoria.

As the lawyers at the Environment Defenders Office say, “native forests are publicly owned, and Government should manage these forests on behalf of the public.”

Thanks for being proud of your environment, and for standing up for our forests.

Please keep in touch – because protecting Australia’s forests is crucial for the survival of endangered wildlife, for our way of life, and for the enjoyment and benefit of us all.

For regular forest updates, sign up at wilderness.org.au. And follow us on Twitter @wilderness_VIC

For the forests,

Amelia Young
Campaigns Manager, the Wilderness Society Victoria

(1) Send your snail mail to Jim Henneberry, CEO, Australian Paper, Private Bag 87 Mt Waverley 3149 More info visit ethicalpaper.com.au

This message was sent by The Wilderness Society using the Change.org system. You received this email because you signed a petition started by The Wilderness Society on Change.org: “Defer the Bill that would lock-in long-term native forest logging.” Change.org does not endorse contents of this message.

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