Well over 300 people turned out on a freezing night to stop logging in Mirboo North in Gippsland on the 14th of September. Local resident Marg Thomas said "Vic Forests (VF), were ill prepared for the well informed and vehement community opposition to logging the community's local forests".
"The people attending voted unanimously that logging not proceed and established the "Preserve our Forests Campaign". This small community's indomitable spirit is something VF will find hard, if not impossible, to counter. Mirboo North residents will never give up and are determined to preserve their forests".
Marg Thomas said:
"Recently, a platypus was sighted in the Little Morwell River right at the bottom of Oscine coupe, Lyrebird Walk. This, surely raises the stakes against the logging near this critical waterway?"
"It's absurd that these areas should be logged. One of the coupes (Oscine), impacts Lyrebird Walk and the adjacent Strzelecki Hwy. The track is of high tourism value and is frequented by hundreds if not thousands of visitors each year. This precious remnant bushland is critical habitat for the Strzelecki Koala.
The Strzelecki Koala is the only remnant koala population remaining in Victoria and as a result it's unique genes are vital for the survival of the species, not only in Victoria, but Southern NSW as well. (Habitat Utilization by Koalas in the Gippsland Region,Report 2016).
The Superb Lyrebird populations, who also call this area home, have already had their numbers decimated through land clearing, predation and the 2009 bush fires. Logging their habitat would only place greater stress on their breeding population.
The picturesque entry to our town along the Strzelecki Hwy will become an eyesore that will spoil the beautiful ambience we enjoy today.
Doug and Samson coupes provide a natural wildlife corridor that will be decimated by any logging activity, not to mention the impacts on the amenity of the adjoining properties.
The coupes are in our water catchment; Sediment from logged areas will wash into Little Morwell River, a habitat for: Gippsland spiny crayfish, blackfish, brown trout and shorthead lamprey amongst others.
This community has successfully fought off both coal and gas mining so we're not about to let our precious remnant bushland be logged for questionable gains to the timber industry."
Friends of the Earth intends to carry out koala surveys in the coupes that are meant to be logged in the near future. A resident population was discovered by FoE very near to the Oscine coupe in 2016.
VicForests has outlined plans to harvest up to 50 hectares of timber near the town.
At the meeting, the "Preserve our Forests Campaign" was established and a Steering Committee was appointed. The interim spokespeople are Vicki Sinclair: 0408 317 525 and Marg Thomas 0408 319 397. The first meeting of the committee to be held on Thursday 28th. September @ 7pm Mirboo North.
The community is seeking an urgent meeting with Premier Daniel Andrews to voice their concerns about biodiversity loss, water quality effects and the potential loss of the tourism industry.
Mirboo North resident Vicki Sinclair said it had been moving to see so many people from her town come together to voice their opposition to the timber harvesting plans.
"Everything of our community is tied up in those forests, which are so close to our town," she said.
"We do so much of our recreation there and it's our last bit of the great forests of Gippsland."
Mirboo North resident Susanne Whiteman said the logging area would be within view of her house.
She does not want logging to go ahead in the small area of bush near Mirboo North.
IMAGE of the meeting by Marg Thomas.