Bracks’ forest announcement a missed opportunity

July 17, 2006

A substantial crowd gathered in Brunswick today to await the expected announcement on Victoria’s forests by Environment Minister  John Thwaites at a press conference at noon.

A vocal crowd of people with banners and placards assembled at the CERES environment park to greet the Minister.

Friends of the Earth forest campaigner, Lauren Caulfield said, “Following a 15 000 strong forest rally last month, the community push for forest protection is at an all time high.”

“People have turned out this morning to ensure that the Bracks’ government gets the message that it is high time to protect Victoria’s old growth forests and water catchments.”

“While today’s announcement of substantial funding for timber certification lays the foundation for better management of Victoria’s forests, the failure to declare new national parks means that ultimately the announcement is a wasted opportunity for the government to mark itself as leading the way on environmental protection.”

Australian Students Environment Network spokeperson, Danya Bryx said, “the community response to today’s announcement shows that the Victorian community will not be ignored on this issue.”

Ms Caulfield continued: “The announcement on the state Renewable Energy Target is a great step forward in terms of achieving a sustainable Victoria – it will bring both jobs and investment while also helping reduce our greenhouse emissions. We would hope the Victorian governemnt would follow-up on this announcement by matching SA's recent announcement that it will legislate a 60% emissions reduction target. However, Victoria is lagging behind the other states in forest protection and this fact will mean that good initiatives such as the energy target will be lost until we see better protection of remaining native forests.  The Brack’s government has the opportunity to get all aspects of environmental policy right in the build-up to the November state election. It should be mindful that in election year voters can be expected to take the call for forest protection to the ballot box, “ said Ms Caulfield.

For more information please call:
Lauren Caulfield 0433 927 066