Updated: September 14, 2012
Baillieu: subsidising extinction with your taxes
Here’s an interesting hypothetical situation for you to consider – say there was a company that consistently ran at a loss, and not only was it in an untenable situation financially, it was also in the business of destroying some of Australia’s most important native forests and churning them up into ubiquitous wood pulp for copy paper.
Further, as a direct result of the company’s business operations, it was driving one of Australia’s unique and iconic marsupials to the brink of extinction.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical, it’s very much a depressing reality today – and your hard-earned taxpayers’ money is going towards propping up this ecological and financial disaster. As you read this, the Baillieu government is allowing logging of native forests that are home to the critically endangered Leadbeater's Possum (also known as the Fairy Possum) to make Reflex copy paper.
What's more, recent reports confirm that the Victorian state government’s logging agency behind all of this destruction, VicForests, has just posted a loss of $96,000. This is the fifth year in a row now it has failed to deliver a profit for the state.
“It's an economic and environmental scandal that the Liberal-National state government continues to allow VicForests to pillage our publicly owned state forests,” says Wilderness Society Victoria Campaigns Manager, Luke Chamberlain.
“If VicForests was a publicly listed company, shareholders would be abandoning the sinking ship.”
Like many other Victorians, Amelia Young, Wilderness Society Victoria’s Forest Campaigner, is horrified by the situation and the plight of the state’s animal emblem, the Leadbeater’s possum.
“Tax-payers' money is being used to drive the tiny Leadbeater's possum to extinction,” says Amelia.
“What we have here is ongoing, gross financial mismanagement of a public asset. The Victorian public needs to understand that their taxes are going into a loss-making venture that destroys the state's environmental assets.”
Most Victorians would be unaware that that their taxes are being used to contribute to the extinction of a beautiful, tiny creature. The environmentally bankrupt Baillieu government can no longer expect to get away with using our hard-earned money to prop up an unprofitable government agency that's being granted free access to our irreplaceable native forests.
Yet, this latest financial loss only gives an indication of the real cost of native forest logging in this Victoria.
“Year after year VicForests' Annual Reports don't recognise all significant costs. It would appear that this year's report continues that appalling tradition. Intervention is required as the minister responsible, Peter Walsh, cannot be relied upon by the Victorian people to ensure his department manages our forests profitably,” says Luke.
“If the Baillieu government has any economic and environmental credentials, it will immediately intervene to abolish the fiasco that is VicForests. Our forests must be urgently protected for their true economic and environmental values, for all Victorians,” Amelia concludes.
You don’t need to be an economist to see the untenable situation VicForests finds itself in, and equally, a degree in ecology isn't necessary to see that VicForests' logging is environmentally disastrous.
Enough is enough – let’s demand the Baillieu government stop supporting this outrageous waste of taxpayers money and senseless wrecking of nature.
Email Premier Ted Baillieu and tell him that you don't want your tax money wasted on an unprofitable, unethical, unsustainable project that destroys native forest and will drive the Leadbeater's Possum to extinction.
Please sign the Ethical Paper Pledge and get your place of work to change their copy and printing paper to ones that don't destroy our native forests and endangered species habitat.
Support our campaign by making a tax deductible donation.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Victoria Inc
288 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, Vic, 3065
Phone: 03 9038 0888