In March 2023, FoE activists hosted a mountain roadtrip to investigate environmental issues in north eastern VIC. We met with local land care and sustainability groups, visited areas at risk from logging, and the old growth snow gum stronghold of Mt Wills. During this trip, we announced the plan to establish a FoE group in the north east.
Although there is a large number of fantastic groups already active in the region, we felt that there was still room for an advocacy based group that could work across multiple issues. The broader FoE Australia federation can provide lots of campaign assistance to a local group, and allows us to amplify local concerns and campaigns.
At the time we set up a facebook page so we could share information on what we are doing.
What have we been doing?
Following the announcement that native forest logging will end in the east of the state on January 1, 20245, we have been
- Focusing on watchdogging key areas in the high country to ensure there is no last minute ‘cut and run’ logging in precious places.
- We have been encouraging Hancock Victorian Plantations to lift their game on plantation management and protection of water quality and biodiversity.
- We have lobbied state government to ensure ongoing funding of the Ash Restoration project, which is involved in collecting seed from Mountain and Alpine Ash and restoring forests damage by logging and fire (story here). This is a vital state government program who’s future was uncertain given its connections with VicForests, the state forestry agency.
- We have continued to lobby the state government to commit to an urgent investigation into the threats posed by climate change driven fire to snow gum communities (you can see a recent piece we wrote about this issue for Patagonia).
And if you haven’t done so already, please sign our letter to the environment minister urging her to back our plan.
- And we have supported residents in Wodonga who are concerned about the loss of mature trees at Lawrence Street.
We will be active over summer.
We have two free events coming up over Cup Weekend in November:
- A walk into the Little Dargo River (currently under threat from logging) on November 5 (details here), and
- A walk to Mt Tabletop near Hotham to look at how the snow gum forests are recovering from the 2020 fires. November 6 (details here).
Would you like to get involved in the new FoE group?
In coming months, we would like to start meeting as a group. Given the size of the region – roughly we are thinking a ‘natural fit’ is roughly the same as the boundaries of the CFAs North East Fire district – the first meeting will likely be a hybrid meeting with options for in person and online involvement.
If you might be interested in getting involved in the group, please let me know ([email protected]). We will then select a location and day based on the best fit for the people who have responded.