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Waiting In The Wings: Victoria's Next Great National Park

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Right now, Daniel Andrews’ Government is making decisions about the future of the logging industry, and about protecting our public forests.

Incredibly—and in the face of what the conservation science and wood resource projections say—industry players are still pressuring the government for business-as-usual logging.1

But change is inevitable. And polling shows industry reform and protection for wildlife in new national parks is what the Victorian community wants.

The industry transition needs to happen quickly, and carefully, as the science shows clearfell logging must end in these forests if animals like the Fairy possum are to have a fighting chance of beating extinction. Not to mention that the wood supply from these forests has already been stretched to breaking point.

And the community wants logging industry reform.

Polling in the regional electorate of Morwell, shows government subsidies—to help Australian Paper (manufacturers of Reflex) move quickly out of native forests by utilising existing plantations—are very popular.2

This lines up with what the majority of Victorians think, with over 90 per cent wanting public forests protected for wildlife, tourism, recreation and a safe climate, and only 7 per cent believing public forests should be used for logging for wood and paper products!3

The polling also shows that people don’t think propping up existing sawmills is a good way to reinvigorate regional communities.

Now that’s important: because these people live near the Heyfield sawmill. Right now, this mill is demanding government give it wood, from native forests, that simply does not exist.4

And these Morwell voters are not alone: three quarters of Victorians also think it’s unwise for government to prop up commercially unviable sawmills.5

We know the best solution for the long-term is to protect Victoria’s Mountain Ash forests in the Great Forest National Park, and we want the Andrews Government to create it in this term of office.

But does your local MP know this?

Call the office of your local MP today. If they’re not in, ask to leave a message for them, saying you don’t support more money being wasted propping up a commercially unviable logging industry, and that you want the Great Forest National Park created this term of government. You can look up who your MP is here.

Successive governments have squibbed the opportunity to deliver real and lasting change for our forests. Premier Andrews has the opportunity to lead where others haven’t.

If you’d like to meet with your MP to deliver this message, the more the better. Contact us for tips on how to do this.

The timing and size of the Great Forest National Park hangs in the balancecall your MP today, and ask for logging industry reform and new national parks within this term of government.
 


1Incredibly, the ASH sawmill at Heyfield is still demanding government provide it with at least 130,000 cubic metres of wood from native forests annually, and a contract for seven years or more.

2ReachTEL conducted a survey of 1,005 residents in the state seat of Morwell on the night of 22 February 2017. The survey was commissioned by The Wilderness Society. People were asked: The Australian Paper mill sources around one third of its logs from natural forests in the Central Highlands and Gippsland that have important environmental values. Do you support the Victorian Government subsidising Australian Paper to use existing plantations so the Maryvale mill can immediately reduce the amount of wood it sources from natural forests? 57% of respondents were supportive; 14% opposed; and 29% undecided.

3ReachTEL conducted a survey of 1,649 residents across Victoria. The survey was conducted during the night of 7 December 2016. People were asked: Victoria has over three million hectares of publicly owned state forests. Of the following, which do you think is the best use for these state forests: Responses were:
Wildlife, trees and nature to be protected 56.2%; Commercial tourism 7.4%; Recreation activities 21.4%; Logging for wood and paper products 7.1%; Safely storing carbon in trees 7.9%.

4See http://www.standard.net.au/story/4412722/fears-for-gippsland-jobs-as-timber-supply-dries-up/?cs=12

5ReachTEL conducted a survey of 1,649 residents across Victoria. The survey was conducted during the night of 7 December 2016. People were asked: When thinking about the best way to reinvigorate regional communities, which of the following do you think the Victorian Government should prioritise? 23% selected Upgrade existing timber mills and invest in growing local logging jobs as the priority.