Blockade on Mt Baw Baw tourist road enters third day

Logging has been stopped on the Mt. Baw Baw tourist road at Icy Creek for a third day. A conservationist from Forest Conservation Victoria (FCV) is suspended in a tree 25 metres off the ground on a platform tied to logging machinery.

The group is protesting the ongoing destruction of Victoria’s native forests across Victoria and calling for an end to the destructive practice.

“The Labor government continues to log Victoria’s forests, while the world is calling for urgent and progressive action on climate change. Post-logging burns emit huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, polluting the environment and suffocating local towns. These forests also play a vital role in storing carbon and mitigating the devastating effects of climate change,” said FCV representative, Sarah McConnell.

“Australia is on a fast track to climate catastrophe. You cannot have a serious federal or state climate policy without including the protection of forests. To continue logging what little we have left amid a climate emergency is suicidal,” Sarah McConnell said.

These forests are rich eco-systems which support many of Victoria’s unique and threatened flora and fauna, including the threatened Greater Glider which has been found in the area. The forest on the chopping block runs along the main road to Mount Baw Baw and is an iconic route to a treasured tourist destination.

“This particular coupe adds to the extensive clearing that runs along Ballantynes Ridge which has been decimated over the past 2 years. It’s devastating to see the ongoing destruction. Logging of native forests is completely unsustainable, and they will never recover. We need to see immediate and meaningful action taken to protect our natural environment,” said Hayley Forster of FCV.

“Logging has permanently scarred the landscape in this area and entire hillsides have been completely wiped out. It is appalling that the Victorian government logs these places which are home to threatened species and are the catchments which supply Melbourne with its water,” Hayley Forster said.

Forest Conservation Victoria is committed to campaigning for native forest protection. With climate emergency at the forefront of the upcoming federal election, forest protection and stronger environmental laws need to be a major priority. State and federal Labor and Liberal parties have no policy to bring an end to destructive logging of native forests, despite communities Australia wide wanting to vote for environmental protection.

Forest Conservation Victoria acknowledge the thousands of years of custodianship over the land by the Wurundjeri and Gunnai Kurnai nations. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

Media Contact:
Christine S

High quality photos attached. Video on request.

About the author

Forest Conservation Victoria is committed to defending Victoria's native forests from the destructive clear-fell logging industry.

Illegal logging discovered at Ballantynes Saddle as forest blockade enters second week

This morning community group Forest Conservation Victoria discovered illegal logging of a threatened species of tree, the Tree Geebung (Persoonia arborea) in an area they have blockaded for over a week.

A report has been submitted by forest survey group Fauna and Flora Research Collective (FFRC) to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Government owned logging agency VicForests are required by law to protect the Tree Geebung and have instead bulldozed some of the mature individuals in the coupe. The report states that 14 Tree Geebungs have been found and 6 have already been logged.

> Read the FFRC report here.

A conservationist is suspended 25m in a tree on a platform tied to machinery preventing logging from continuing. The forest is situated on the iconic Mt. Baw Baw tourist road, a popular and well used scenic route from Melbourne to Mt. Baw Baw.

Last year an independent review into DELWP's management of forests demonstrated the departments failure to regulate logging in Victoria and stated that their enforcement policy is completely inadequate. The department needs to ensure the protection of the Tree Geebung and investigate this illegal logging carried out by VicForests.

“The Environment department have repeatedly failed to prosecute VicForests for past cases of illegal logging. VicForests have been found to have illegally logged rainforest in East Gippsland but the case was thrown out by the courts due to the departments incompetence just last year, ” said Christine Schuringa of Forest Conservation Victoria.

“The logging industry and the environment department cannot be trusted to follow their own regulations. Time and again we have seen them continue to destroy threatened species habitat, log old growth forest in East Gippsland, and it has fallen on community members to hold them accountable,” Christine Schuringa said.

Last week threatened Greater Gliders were found within the Ballantynes Saddle logging coupe. Government records also show sightings of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum within a kilometre of the forest currently defended by protesters. It is unknown how large the Leadbeater’s home range extends but the law only requires a 200 metre buffer around a sighting of the possum.

Considering the rapid decline of threatened plant and animal species, it is critical that drastic action is taken to ensure their survival. This comes less than a week after the release of the damning UN Biodiversity report, which highlights that land-clearing and logging are pushing species to extinction.

“We are facing an extinction crisis in Victoria where ecosystems are being pushed closer and closer to the brink of collapse from logging. Weak state and federal environmental legislation, and a rogue state-owned logging agency mean threatened habitat is still being logged. Concerned citizens now have no other option but to take action in an emergency situation where the government is failing us,” said Sarah McConnell of FCV.

“While VicForests are trying to defend their rights to log threatened species habitat in court they continue clear-felling Victoria’s publicly owned native forests behind locked gates and believe they are a law unto themselves. The so-called ‘progressive’ Labor government has repeatedly failed to ensure that our precious and unique plant and animal species are not being logged to extinction,” Sarah McConnell said.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Christine S -
High quality photos attached, vision on request

About the author

Forest Conservation Victoria is committed to defending Victoria's native forests from the destructive clear-fell logging industry.

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