THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY VICTORIA MEDIA RELEASE November 30, 2014
- Daniel Andrews must act fast to implement positive Great Forest National Park Plan
- Only Great Forest National Park Plan will save Leadbeater’s possum and secure jobs New Premier must set up Victorian Environment Assessment Council inquiry.
“New Premier Daniel Andrews and Victorian Labor are to be congratulated for their election victory.
“Now they must act decisively to implement the Great Forest National Park Plan if this government is serious about saving the state’s endangered animal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum, from extinction,” said Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager Amelia Young.
"With the overwhelming majority of Victorians supporting the creation of the Great Forest National Park, Victorian Labor can implement this positive Plan with confidence.
Time is running out for the Leadbeater’s Possum and for the flagging native forest logging industry. Fortunately the government has been handed a ready-made solution to both problems if it wants to show visionary leadership for regional Victoria.
The Great Forest National Park Plan recommends a Victorian Environment Assessment Council Inquiry to determine the scope and tenure of a new reserve that will protect the spectacular Mountain Ash forests and the homes of the Leadbeater’s possum, and an Industry Taskforce to help secure jobs at the Maryvale paper mill, which still uses native forest pulp to make paper but can fast-track into plantation and recycled fibre.
Together with regional development packages, declaring a new Park and modernising the industry will boost jobs, tourism and the economy of a region still recovering from the tragic 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
The decisions of the Andrews Government will determine whether the Leadbeater’s Possum becomes another sad footnote in history like the Tasmanian Tiger. The new Government must urgently declare an Interim Conservation Order, available to it under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, to provide provisional protection for Leadbeater’s Possum habitat.
By committing to set up an industry taskforce, Victorian Labor has set the wheels in motion to address the plight of the Leadbeater’s Possum and the struggling logging industry, but it must go further.
If the government wants to pursue its proposed industry taskforce it must immediately set out the taskforce’s terms of reference and timetable and commence it within the first 100 days of government.
The Andrews Government has the opportunity to be remembered as the government that implemented a positive Plan that’s good for the environment and good for jobs, and actually saved the state’s animal emblem from extinction.”
For further comment contact:
Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager
Amelia Young on 0404 074 577
For more information contact:
Wilderness Society Media Adviser
Alex Tibbitts on 0416 420 168