Friends of the Earth have today welcomed the Victorian government announcement of protection of 96,000 hectares of forests in eastern Victoria and complete and immediate protection of 90,000 hectares of all remaining old growth forest, but say more details and maps are needed to ensure the announcement results in lasting and effective protection.
Goongerah Environment Centre, a member group of Friends of the Earth Australia, spokesperson Ed Hill said:
“It’s very welcome to see the Andrews government finally show leadership to protect native forests, especially old growth forests in East Gippsland. This is a positive first step towards better protection of East Gippsland’s forests, but questions remain over how these promises will be implemented.”
“The government needs to clearly articulate a plan for how today’s announcement of 96,00 hectares of protected areas will actually protect forests into the long term, the government must move quickly to legislate formal protection in new national parks or secure conservation reserves.”
“Minister D’Ambrosio is to be congratulated on her work to secure protection for an additional 90,000 hectares of mapped old growth forest, however clarification about where these forests are located and how this policy will be implemented is urgently need. Several areas of old growth forest are being targeted for logging on VicForests current schedule, VicForest must immediately withdraw these areas from their plans and confirm that they will comply with government policy.”
Ed Hill continued:
“Whilst protection of forests is welcome, further work is required to reduce unsustainable wood volumes. In order to deliver the protection that our forests need wood volumes to the Australian Paper mill urgently need to be reduced before the proposed date of 2030 when native forest logging is to be phased out. Our forest and wildlife don’t have time to spare.”
“While protection of some habitat for the threatened Greater Glider is welcome, until the details of the legally required Action Statement are released there is little evidence that this species will be afforded the protection required to prevent its extinction.”
“We hold grave fears for how continued logging will operate in areas of high quality habitat that are not placed into protected areas. Key habitat on the Errinundra plateau and in the Bendoc state forest needs to be protected to conserve these Greater Glider hotspots in East Gippsland.”
“While a lot more needs to be done, these are welcome first steps that form the building blocks of the Emerald Link reserve system in East Gippsland and the Great Forest National Park in the Central Highlands and we look forward to working with the government to deliver these proposals whilst a transition is underway.”
Media contact: Ed Hill - 0414 199 645 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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