News - 20 December 2023

Five great outcomes for nature from 2023

As we reach the end of the year, we reflect on a few of the great outcomes for nature that your support delivered in 2023.

1. Industrial native forest logging to end in Victoria

Toolangi forest in Victoria's Central Highlands

The Victorian government finally called time on clearfell logging, bringing forward the planned 2030 exit by six years to 2024.

“With one major obstacle out of the way, we can finally focus on the enormous task of managing forests for all of their values: water, carbon, tourism and biodiversity; supporting the workers, families and communities impacted by economic diversification; and working alongside First Peoples to heal and care for Country,” says Victoria Campaign Manager Matt Landolfo.

2. Martuwarra River Keepers launched

The River Keepers. Image: Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council.

The Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council’s River Keepers program launched in May 2023, and the Wilderness Society is proud to be the inaugural partner. The River Keepers are based along the Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) on Nyikina Country, 60 kilometres south of Derby in the Kimberley. The program supports 12 River Keepers, with Elders and young Indigenous leaders from the communities of Yurmulun (Pandanus Park) and Balginjirr.

The River Keepers work on Country to protect and regenerate the natural and cultural values of the River. This Indigenous-led cultural conservation and tourism initiative is providing sustainable livelihoods for local Indigenous people.

3. New NSW Labor government commits to establish the Great Koala National Park

The Wilderness Society supports NSW Labor’s commitment to establish the Great Koala National Park, a move that could help koalas survive in the wild in NSW. The proposal is for the park link 140,000 hectares of existing national parks with around 170,000 hectares of state forest. The NSW government is yet to commit to the size of the park but has allocated $80 million in funding. This new national park could spare many thousands of hectares of native forest on the mid-north coast from industrial logging.

This is critical because currently, loss of habitat is threatening the survival of the koala and other endangered species, especially after the devastating Black Summer bushfires. However, the NSW government continues to allow koala habitat within the proposed boundary to be logged while the park is being established.

4. Watch on Nature is in the wild

This year we began rolling out our web-based platform, Watch on Nature. It uses the latest satellite imagery to enable people to uncover deforestation, logging and fire events as they happen.

This powerful new tool means that together we can hold governments and companies to account. So far, 1548 deforestation and logging events have been submitted, with a large number verified and sent to the regulator. Recently Watch on Nature won the 2023 Australian Good Design Award (Social Impact category) for Excellence in Design and Innovation!

5. Protection for the Channel Country is closer than ever

Channel Country in flood. Image: Kerry Trapnell.

The Channel Country’s rivers and floodplains in the Lake Eyre Basin are some of the last free-flowing desert rivers left on Earth. Thanks to you, the message to the Queensland government has been delivered loud and clear: there’s no place in this precious ecosystem for oil and gas.

The Queensland government's consultation period on the future of the Channel Country rivers and floodplains closed in August. Across the movement, in Queensland and beyond, you helped generate over 20,000 submissions on the need to expand protections and ban oil and gas on these sensitive floodplains! Wilderness Society volunteer teams mobilised themselves to make personalised submissions and rallied their networks to do the same, directly into the Queensland government's survey portal. Our supporters from across Queensland and beyond also flooded the government’s emails to tell them that there’s no place for new oil and gas on the Channel Country rivers and floodplains.

Thank you for helping us get this far; now it's time to really drive this win home. Together, we can ensure the Queensland government protects the Channel Country for good.

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