Victoria’s Forests

Victoria’s Forests

It sounds ridiculous because it is. Victoria’s last great forests are being turned into cheap office paper and worthless wood chips. We’re proposing an alternative ending.

When we say "last great forests", we mean it. Only 1% of the Central Highlands Mountain Ash ecosystem remains unlogged and unburnt. East Gippsland is home to mainland Australia’s last unbroken tract of vegetation from snow to shore.

Will these places be protected for people, nature and wildlife, or will the logging industry continue to eat away at them until there’s nothing left?

Top Photo: Chris Taylor

The threat to life

Photo: Jaccob McKay

Victoria’s forests are home to hundreds of rare and threatened species — creatures like the Greater Glider. But they also support humans. These forests clean our air. They work as giant air conditioners for our cities. They provide Melbourne with safe, clean drinking water, contributing $310 million a year to GDP. As tourist destinations, they add $260 million a year to GDP.

That makes them a valuable asset. One the native forest logging industry (contributing just $12 million per year to GDP) puts directly at risk.

We're making progress!

In November 2019, there was a major breakthrough for Victoria’s forests. The Andrews government has admitted that logging native forest is unsustainable. It has announced an end to native forest logging—but not until 2030, because that’s when unsustainable wood contracts enshrined in special legislation for one company, Nippon, run out. We've compiled a list of key points from the Andrews government announcement.

In light of the 2019-20 bushfire season that devastated communities in Victoria, destroying so much of Victoria's forests, an end to native forest logging can and must come sooner.

And recently the Federal Court ruled against the Victorian state-owned logging agency VicForests. The court found that VicForests' past logging operations fell foul of the requirements of Victorian law, and that its future operations were also likely to be illegal. National Campaigns Director, Amelia Young, explains the wide-reaching significance of the court ruling:

We described the landmark case as the ‘Franklin Dam of forest-legal outcomes’ because of the ramifications it has for logging in forests right across Australia. And the effects are already being realised with the recent announcement from Bunnings that it will now refuse timber from VicForests.

The need for such change couldn't be more urgent, with shocking new findings revealing that VicForests is logging significant unburnt areas of precious forest that survived the 2019-2020 bushfires—critical refuges for wildlife. The report After the Fires: protecting our forest refuges follows an analysis of the region's forests from maps and data, and the unique habitats they support. It highlights areas of east Victoria’s forests that need protecting if threatened and endangered animals and plants are to be given a chance at recovery.

The Great Forest National Park. 

The Mountain Ash forests of Victoria’s Central Highlands are some of the best in the world at storing carbon. When Australia finally implements a carbon pricing system, they'll be worth an estimated $50 million per year. 

The long-term future of Victoria’s forests should be bright. 

But Japanese-owned Australian Paper (Nippon Paper International) has a short-term vision for these giant Mountain Ash trees: cheap office paper and throwaway paper products. 

We have a better idea. 

The proposed Great Forest National Park would connect up existing parks and conservation areas by adding 355,000 hectares of new protected forest. 

This region already draws 3 million tourists per year. A new multi-use Park would bring nearly 400,000 more — a $71 million boost to the state economy. All while adding new conservation areas.

A fairytale ending? 

There’s another reason to support the Great Forest National Park — and this one’s a little sappy. The Fairy Possum is Victoria’s state emblem. It was long-considered extinct. Then in 1961, it was rediscovered. Here. It's found nowhere else on Earth.

This Park wouldn’t just be a new lease on life for the region; it’d be a fairytale ending for the Fairy Possum. Told you it’d be sappy.

Small, speedy & on the brink of extinction

Small, speedy & on the brink of extinction

Most people have never seen a Leadbeater's (Fairy) Possum in the wild. And now, these tiny marsupials are in danger of being lost forever.

The Emerald Link. 

The forests of East Gippsland form mainland Australia’s only unbroken link between alpine mountains and coastline. From cool plateaus to warm, wet gullies, this tract of wilderness supports incredible biodiversity. And that biodiversity supports all of us. 

So we’re working to keep this place wild.

Our vision

Photo: Jaccob McKay

We have a vision to inject millions of dollars into the communities that used to depend on native logging. 

It’ll be better for the ecosystems that make our lives possible, better for our climate and better for the creatures that call Victoria home. It’ll create new jobs and new places to relax and play. 

Now we have to sell that vision to the decision-makers.

What we’re doing: 

  • Building cross-Parliamentary support for forest protection and logging industry reform. 
  • Talking with Traditional Owners about our proposals to protect forests.
  • Working with scientists to learn more about the life in our forests. 
  • Telling the stories of the hundreds of endangered species that inhabit them. 
  • Running educational forest tours. 
  • Promoting the use of recycled and plantation fibres over precious native forests. 
  • Building the case for the Great Forest National Park and Emerald Link. 
  • Organising a grassroots national movement for lasting change. 
  • Educating Australians on the benefits of intact ecosystems.