Resolution of mill ownership means Govt must now protect forests
- Heyfield sawmill still facing serious sustainability issues
- Government must act decisively to create Great Forest National Park
- Today’s announcement from the Andrews Government that it is purchasing the unsustainable Heyfield sawmill must bring six months of forest policy uncertainty to a close, The Wilderness Society says
“Months of drifting forest policy delay must be rectified. The Andrews Government needs to get on with the job of protecting eastern Victoria’s forests and creating the Great Forest National Park,” said The Wilderness Society's Victorian Campaigns Manager, Amelia Young.
“Recent revelations that native forest logging operations have killed a Koala, and that logging continues in Greater Glider habitat—despite Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio listing the species as critically endangered just last month—means decisive leadership across the full range of forest issues is required from this government.
“The Heyfield sawmill uses Mountain Ash wood from the critically endangered Mountain Ash forests and does not have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, the international gold standard for forestry.
"The best way to develop a sustainable Victorian wood and paper industry is to complete the transition to plantations, and to stop logging critically endangered forests and permanently protect them in national parks.
“The Wilderness Society is supportive of decisive government action to address the complex range of problems facing Victoria’s forests. Genuine solutions need to involve the creation of new national parks, and the creation of other regional jobs.
“This tens-of-millions-of-dollars taxpayer bailout for Victoria’s native forest logging industry follows current mill ownership, the Hermal Group, saying the mill is not profitable—and previous owners, Gunns, offloading the sawmill in a fire sale when they collapsed in 2012.
“With 93% of Victorians wanting forests protected, it’s certain most Victorians would want to see tens of millions of taxpayer dollars directed towards the creation of the Great Forest National Park.”
Regional communities and local business are leading the call for the creation of the Great Forest National Park, to generate new economic opportunities, exciting visitor experiences, and at least 760 full-time, sustainable jobs.
For further comment, please contact Amelia Young, Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager, on 0404 074 577.