MEDIA RELEASE - An end to native forest logging a huge win for climate action, clean air, clean water and biodiversity.
The Andrews government has announced that native forest logging will cease by the end of the year. After decades of community campaigning, finally native forests will be safe from woodchipping and clear felling.
“This is a huge moment for everyone who has worked tirelessly to end logging and bring forward this transition date,” said Friends of the Earth forest campaigner Alana Mountain. It's what we have needed for decades; to protect remaining carbon sinks, biodiversity, water catchments and First Nations culture. This is a sensible move to wind up the timber industry and transition affected workers. This is justice for climate, forests, and humanity.”
“The community just protected one of the world’s largest carbon sinks in this state, a globally significant area for climate mitigation and biodiversity,” said Alana.
“This is an outcome achieved by various environmental groups and the grassroots community with court cases, relentless citizen science efforts, lobbying of decision makers, forest tours and of course a long blockading legacy,” said Alana.
“It’s vital that the government continues to support affected communities and we welcome the announcement of an additional $200 million to support workers and their families as they exit the industry.”
“Right now is a sensitive time for affected workers, but with the clarity this announcement provides, people are no longer in limbo. It’s an opportunity for communities to come together, develop a collective vision for their local economy, and create ongoing jobs that are rooted in regenerative land stewardship, climate resilience, and caring for one another.”
“We thank the new environment minister Ingrid Stitt for showing leadership and finally listening to what communities that have been calling for a long time. Transitioning earlier is in line with the ecological and climate realities we’re facing and it also makes it possible for communities to transition with dignity and embrace the opportunity to create a long-term future beyond logging.”
Friends of the Earth Melbourne commend the government for maintaining their commitment to improve the bus network, with funding allocated for both zero emissions buses and reforms to our bus network.
As big infrastructure projects like the airport rail link are put on hold, buses provide a low cost solution for getting people moving, especially those in our most underserved suburbs. The Western suburbs in particular, which is the fastest growing area in Australia, have some of the worst bus services in Victoria.
“The lack of regular, reliable bus services means that communities in the western suburbs of Melbourne are dependent on cars, leaving hardworking families paying more for car ownership and petrol, and creating polluting carbon emissions.” said Friends of the Earth Sustainable Cities campaigner Elyse Cunningham.
“We hope that this announcement will bring forward much needed bus route reform to make services faster, more frequent and more reliable. We congratulate Labor for their commitment to the Victoria’s Bus Plan.”
“Transport is the second largest and fastest growing source of emissions in Victoria. Without strong policy support for public transport, active transport, electric buses, and other electric modes of transport, the sector’s contribution to climate change will grow to match that of the electricity sector this decade. Getting people out of their cars and onto public transport in the immediate term is imperative if Labor wants to reach their target of net zero emissions by 2045” said Ms Cunningham.
Latrobe Valley and the renewable energy transformation
Communities impacted by coal closure were concerned to see that funding for the LaTrobe Valley Authority has not been secured in forward estimates from mid 2024 onwards.
“The LaTrobe Valley Authority is essential for ensuring that valley communities continue to thrive as the coal industry in Victoria is phased out.” said Yes2Renewables campaigner and Latrobe Valley resident, Wendy Farmer.
“We need to ensure there is support for workers and investment in economic transformation so that no one is left behind. The Latrobe Valley Authority plays an important leadership role in supporting future growth industries and helping businesses and workers adjust during the transition away from coal,” said Ms Farmer.
“We hope that the Victorian Government will work with their federal colleagues to make sure this important work is continued, the draft transition plan is enacted and the community is given the support it needs to navigate change and create new opportunities.”
“The best way to support Victorians with energy cost pressures, is to assist homes to get off gas.” said No More Gas campaigner Freja Leonard
“Like workers in the native forests industry, we need the State Government to deliver a package to help gas workers out of a declining industry, to reskill for new jobs with better long term prospects.” Freja Leonard said.
“If we’re serious about meeting climate targets and making sure that nobody is left behind in the transition off fossil fuels, we need careful long term planning to deliver energy, jobs and financial security for Victoria.”