Media Releases - 09 February 2024

Logging ceases again in the Wombat State Forest, paving the way for enduring protections

Wombat State Forest. Photo by Matt Hrkac

Logging in the Wombat State Forest has, again, been brought to an end this week.

This is a huge win for the local community after so-called ‘salvage logging’ operations spiralled from smaller storm damage recovery works into industrial scale logging with limited transparency and no scientific basis.

In June 2019 the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) recognised the Wombat State Forests’ important natural values and that logging that threatens to destroy those values is not viable.

The government responded in May 2022 with a promise to protect the Wombat by delivering the Wombat-Lerderderg National Park. A promise which remains unfulfilled to this day.

In the meantime, local community opposition has been building, and successful challenges to the legality of state-owned logging agency, VicForests, have been mounting. With industrial logging having been wound up elsewhere across the state, the government has been left with no choice but to conclude logging in the Wombat State Forest with immediate effect.

For decades, the Wilderness Society has worked with local conservation groups to map the values of the Wombat State Forest and supported proposals for securing enduring protections for these much-loved forests.

Matthew Landolfo, Victorian Campaigns Manager said: “The Wilderness Society congratulates the many volunteers and organisations who worked for so many years to save this iconic landscape.

“This shows again that the Victorian government is on the right track in transitioning away from the destructive practices of the past, towards a sustainable future that we can all be proud of.

“Now the government urgently needs to get on with the job of delivering the promised Wombat-Lerderderg National Park, and restoring this vitally important ecosystem.

“This is just the latest evidence that VicForests has been entirely unable to conduct its operations within the bounds of the law and needs to be wound up without any further delay.

“Public confidence in Victoria’s land management policies urgently needs to be repaired by ensuring community rights in environmental decision-making and by demonstrating that work to heal and care for Country is led by First Peoples and transparently supported by the latest, robust, peer-reviewed science."