The meeting, held right in the middle of Premier Ted Baillieu’s own electorate, drew a packed house of local residents keen to hear about what the Coalition government has been doing for the environment over the past two years.
Co-hosted by the Wilderness Society, Environment Victoria, Victorian National Parks Association, and Friends of the Earth, a string of backward steps on significant environmental issues – like protection of natural places, native forest logging, climate change and urban sprawl – were discussed.
Professor David Lindenmayer, one of Australia’s most respected ecologists and expert on Victoria’s animal emblem – the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) Possum – explained how the government’s logging policy sets the Fairy Possum on a trajectory to extinction. To make matters worse, the impending 'large tree crisis' in our forests (caused by over-logging) means that this tiny and endangered animal struggles to find tree hollows to live in.
Professor Lindenmayer concluded his talk by reminding everyone that public forests must be managed for the public good. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
A bi-partisan issue
The meeting also featured Sarah Brenan and Julia Hamer, who both offered a personal reflection on the legacy of their father, Sir Rupert Hamer, former Liberal Premier of Victoria and the architect of Melbourne’s green spaces.
Julia Hamer explained that her father believed environmental protection to be a bi-partisan issue. Together with her sister, Julia also cited the Baillieu government’s anti-wind farm laws and pro-fossil fuel policies as elements of its dismal environmental legacy.
At the meeting, 167 residents signed an open letter to Premier Baillieu highlighting our shared responsibility for the conservation of Victoria’s magnificent forests, waterways, grasslands, woodlands, green spaces and marine, alpine and costal environments.
We called on the Premier to reverse his government’s disturbing trend of taking backward steps on environmental policy, and to show strong leadership by taking immediate and positive action for Victoria’s environment.