A petition signed by over 83,000 people asking the Victorian Government to do more to protect koalas has been delivered to the Government.
The petition, organised by the German environmental group Rainforest Rescue, was initiated due to the killing of large numbers of koalas in bluegum plantations in western Victoria in July
PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER 31 2013
A petition signed by over 83,000 people asking the Victorian Government to do more to protect koalas was delivered to the Government on Tuesday.
The petition, organised by the German environmental group Rainforest Rescue, was initiated due to the killing of large numbers of koalas in bluegum plantations in western Victoria in July.
It is clear that these koala deaths have sparked international attention regarding the plight of the Koala in Victoria? said Friends of the Earth Spokesperson Anthony Amis.
In communication with these European groups it is clear that the reputation of plantation companies operating in Victoria has been severely tarnished by these koala killings. It is also clear that the reputation of the Forest Stewardship Council is also suffering? Mr Amis added.
Whilst the deaths of countless koalas in western Victoria is a terrible reflection of the activities of plantation companies, such as Australian Bluegum Plantations (ABP), more attention also needs to be directed towards Victoria?s only endemic remaining koala population in the Strzelecki Ranges. These koalas have had been impacted by Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for a decade, yet their plight appears to have gone unnoticed.
So dire has been the Forest Stewardship Council?s role in the Strzelecki?s that in 2008 the FSC auditor, Rainforest Alliance made the startling ruling that ? If the Koala population requires conserving then it is the State Government's responsibility to list the species accordingly and this has not yet occurred. As such there is no specific reason why HVP as a private land manager should be required to establish conservation measures for a species such as the Koala as long as it is not required by the state or federal Government?.
That is exactly the logic that has resulted in the terrible situation in western Victoria? Mr Amis added. ?How can we have confidence in Rainforest Alliance to do the right thing by the Koala when they have already admitted that logging companies do not have to be responsible for conservation measures to protect the animal?? Rainforest Alliance audit both Hancock and ABP.
The petition was delivered by Mr Amis and Suzie Zent, a representative of Friends of Gippsland Bush. The petition asked that the Government better regulate logging companies and classify the Koala as threatened in all Australian states and Territories.
The petition was delivered to Matthew Berry advisor to the Hon. Ryan Smith.
A productive conversation took place with Mr Berry and hopefully the State Government will start to take a proactive issue regarding the plight of the Koala in Victoria? Mr Amis added.
For more information contact Anthony Amis on 0425 841 564 or Susie Zent on 51 691 588