This morning the ABC has reported that the Daniel Andrews government has made a decision to bring forward the transition out of native forest logging, from 2030 to January 2024.
Conservationists and forest campaigners from across the state are celebrating the news, after long and hard fought campaigns, some spanning nearly four decades. Only months after the announcement in 2019 that native forest logging would be phased out through a decade-long transition, one of the largest and most devastating bushfires in human memory wiped out more than two thirds of the forest in the far east of the state, decimating forests and wildlife. Despite the catastrophic impacts of the fires, native forest logging continued.
Before the announcement in 2019, and to this day, state owned logging company VicForests has been involved in countless controversies and scandals, from serious breaches to environment laws, to using public funds to spy on conservationists and scientists. Last year VicForests reported a record annual loss of $54 million, subsidised by tax-payers.
Community legal cases and forms of direct action like citizen science have long been used to hold the state owned logging agency accountable to the law, and to try and protect forests under threat from logging. Most recently a landmark case halted logging where endangered greater gliders and yellow-bellied gliders are found. The case was instrumental in upholding VicForests’ legal requirements to survey for wildlife prior to logging, a law they had been ignoring for years.
Spokesperson and Campaign Coordinator for the Victorian Forest Alliance, Chris Schuringa said, “this is a monumental win; for forests, for wildlife, for climate, and for the hard-working people who have spent countless hours surveying for endangered species, preparing evidence for court cases, lobbying, and campaigning. Some have been fighting for this for over three decades.”
“There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure these forests are permanently protected from all kinds of destructive practices - not just conventional logging. The next priority is to focus on supporting workers through a just transition and restoring Victoria’s native forests, which will provide real, lasting, sustainable employment for regional communities.”
“But for now, we are overjoyed by this historic announcement, and acknowledge the hard work, passion and perseverance of all the people who have been fighting for this for so long,” said Chris Schuringa, VFA Campaign Coordinator.
About the author
The Victorian Forest Alliance brings together more than 30 well-established grassroots forest groups actively protecting native forests across Victoria.