EPA forest audit reveals Government blunders

February 8, 2006

The EPA has failed to call for serious action despite identifying a series of whopping blunders by Government forest managers in its first Special Forest Audit, says the Victorian National Parks Association and Friends of the Earth. 

VNPA Director Charlie Sherwin said: “The EPA has shone a spotlight on an appalling series of blunders by Government forest managers, but seem unable or unwilling to recommend proper environmental protections.’’

Friends of the Earth spokesman Jonathan La Nauze said “The destruction of a special breeding site for the endangered Superb Parrot should send alarm bells ringing across Government. You only get one chance at saving a species from extinction, and this Audit shows we’re blowing it”.

The EPA 2005 Special Forest Audit, released today, found that Government forest operations had resulted in: illegal logging in national parks; destruction of old growth trees in special protection zones; and multiple breaches of procedure. Problems identified in the report included:

  • Poor planning, mapping, communications and training
  • False assumptions
  • Failure to follow procedure and obtain proper approval for logging

Mr Sherwin added that “These findings are bad enough, but the EPA also failed to point out the conflict in the Barmah forest area, where the Department of Sustainability and Environment is charged with both running logging operations, and at the same time protecting the trees.

“The fox is in charge of the henhouse along the Murray River, and threatened species such as the Superb Parrot are the victims not only of incompetent forest management, but of a failure of Government leadership in this area.”

Mr La Nauze said: “Extinction in Victoria of the threatened Superb Parrot within a few years at the hands of DSE is a very real possibility unless the Bracks government acts now. This report highlights a litany of errors by DSE forestry, including the logging of over 15% of the entire Victorian breeding area for the endangered Superb Parrot’

“Minister Thwaites must step in and place a moratorium on logging in Red Gum forests until the completion of the current Red Gum Investigation by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council. The Government must show they are serious about protecting endangerd species and environmental values.”

Mr Sherwin said: ‘The EPA recommendations are extremely weak and will allow ongoing destruction of protected areas to continue. We are calling upon the Bracks government to place a moratorium upon River Murray logging until new national parks are established.
“At the same time structural adjustments should be provided to take the logging pressure of these forests and strong penalities should be provided for breaches of logging guidelines by govt agencies.’’


Media Contacts:
Nick Roberts                                    Victorian National Parks Association                                     0418 357 813
Jonathan La Nauze                        Friends of the Earth                                                             0402 904 251