Updated: November 13, 2011
Baillieu Government undermines Victoria's environmental laws
In an unprecedented move that has shocked environment groups, the Victorian Government has announced plans to exempt logging from Victoria's endangered species protection laws.
With the sweep of a pen, the pro-logging Baillieu/Ryan government has quietly proposed to exempt logging from state environmental laws to ensure "certainty of supply to Victoria's native forest timber industry".
The highly controversial move comes over a year after VicForests was found guilty of illegal logging in East Gippsland's Brown Mountain forests. It is planned to come into effect just before the Victorian Supreme Court hears the case of logging in Leadbeater's Possum habitat at Sylvia Creek in Victoria's Central Highlands.
Logging is already exempt under the Federal government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Now logging will also be exempt from state laws.
The proposed changes hand discretionary powers to the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment to simply determine that bulldozers take precedence over the enforcement of endangered species action statements that form part of Victoria's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act legislative framework.
Decades of overlogging and three major fire events in Victoria's forests have pushed many species closer to extinction. Our unique wildlife, including Victoria's endangered faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's Possum, need their native forest homes protected, not betrayed to the Baillieu government bulldozers. It is not too late to turn this decision around.
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For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Victoria Inc
288 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, Vic, 3065
Phone: 03 9038 0888