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MEDIA RELEASE- Greens plan to end native forest logging by 2023

The Greens have announced their plan to end native forest logging in Victoria. This is a plan that is in line with an urgent need for transitioning regional communities away from an industry operating at a loss to the taxpayer and a significant cost to the environment. It will see Victoria’s forests protected for climate, water and First Nations culture.

Friends of the Earth Melbourne welcomes the fully costed roadmap which will support the move of workers into new jobs whilst meeting our timber needs with plantations and other timber alternatives.

“We know that the state government's commitment to end native logging by 2030 will come too late to protect remaining native forests,” said Friends of the Earth forests campaign coordinator Alana Mountain. “Since the 2019/20 fires it has been clear that we are facing ever greater ecological impacts on forests and a huge shortfall in supply of timber. There simply isn’t enough timber available to keep logging until the end of the decade. It is essential that there be an earlier end to native forest logging. The Green’s plan for a 2023 phaseout provides a pathway to achieve protection of remaining forests while ensuring a just transition pathway for workers in the industry. Plans to redeploy some workers into fire prevention is sensible policy that will keep communities safe while ensuring local employment."

Current logging practices are propped up by the taxpayer, who subsidise the operations of VicForests. The Greens plan is fully costed and will save the state budget millions of dollars – which could be used for important social services and environmental protection. “Ending logging earlier than 2030 makes good economic sense as well as being good for the environment, the climate, and water supply,” said Alana Mountain. “The Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that ending native forest logging in 2023 will save Victoria $205 million over the next decade”. 

“Carbon dense forests like Mountain Ash play an important role in moderating the climate. Ending logging will bring significant climate benefits. VicForests has been at the centre of several community court cases and scandals. Dedicated volunteers in the broader movement have revealed time and again the severe corruption and lack of regulation responsible for the loss of critical carbon sinks and habitat for threatened species. The Greens are responding to the clear evidence placed before the current Labor government that has been ignored and squandered through the introduction of damaging and oppressive legislation."

“We know that the majority of Victorians want to see an end to native forest logging. This policy will help achieve this aim in a way that will support workers in the industry while building economic activity in regional communities and strengthening First Nations involvement in managing forests. It is a sensible policy which will be widely supported in the community,” concluded Alana Mountain.

Further comment: Alana Mountain [email protected]

The Greens’ plan includes:

1. Reversing Labor’s anti-democratic laws that criminalise peaceful forest

protesters, and repeal the archaic laws that lock Victoria into supplying forests to

private companies until 2030

2. Ending logging in 2023 and protecting native forests for the vital habitat they

provide to threatened wildlife and for the carbon they store that protects us from

climate change

3. Establishing a Victorian disaster response team employing former logging

contractors to deploy their skills and experience to respond to fire, storm, flood

and other emergencies

4. Processing plantation timber in Victoria and setting up Victoria as a national

leader in alternative timber products.

5. Showcasing alternative forest-based economic opportunities, such as an

elevated forest walk tourism venture in Victoria’s Central Highlands, working with

First Nations Victorians.

Friends of the Earth Melbourne would like to acknowledge the thousands of years of caring for Country by all Traditional Owners within Victoria. It is time for a just transition for regional communities that will ensure justice for First Nations people.

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