Media Releases - 24 April 2019

New timber release plan leaves paper & timber supply chains exposed to potentially illegally logged wood

The Victorian Government’s long-overdue announcement about new plantations is welcome. However, the granting of tens of thousands of hectares more forest¹ for VicForests to log, while the legality of its logging is being tested in court², raises serious questions. In addition, threatened species killed by logging are still without protection plans. All this means supply chains with wood from VicForests cannot be guaranteed to be free from illegally logged wood.

“Today’s plantation announcement confirms the future of the industry lies in plantations, and not in native forests,” said Wilderness Society Campaign Manager, Amelia Young.

“Due to the impacts of bushfire and mismanagement, current wood volumes cannot any longer be met by VicForests without logging critically important forests, including old growth, Endangered forests, water catchments and threatened species habitat.

“Serious questions over the legality of government logging in Victoria are currently before the courts. In this context, it is irresponsible for the Andrews Government to hand thousands of coupes to VicForests to log.

“The government’s new timber release plan means even more potentially illegally logged wood will enter supply chains, putting retailers and consumers at risk of using illegally sourced products.

“Handing over thousands of hectares of forests for VicForests to log won’t solve the problems facing the logging and paper industry, which are entrenched and terminal.

“The timber release plan may be a band-aid for the logging industry, but is a death warrant for threatened species.

“Threatened species like the Leadbeater's Possum and the Greater Glider are headed for extinction, yet are still without legally required protection plans. The Andrews Government is failing to act to protect native wildlife, while bailing out the logging and paper industry, again.

“This timber release plan commits industry to logging forests that produce Melbourne's water supply, on the same day that the Victorian Opposition has called for water restrictions to be re-introduced to Melbourne.

“Under state government management, the desperate situation regarding forests, threatened species and the struggling logging industry continues. This shows the need for a new national environment act at the federal level that protects forests and threatened species, and leadership to rapidly complete the industry’s transition into plantations and recycled fibre.”


For further comment, please contact Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager Amelia Young on 0404 074 577.

¹There are more than 45,000 hectares of forest listed on the latest timber release plan for logging—that’s almost 26,000 MCG fields.
²In June the Federal court case FLBP v VicForests will hear whether VicForests’ logging in threatened species habitat should enjoy exemption from national environment law.