Yesterday it was announced the government will start to phase out native forest logging in 4-5 years for it to end in 2030. What the government has acknowledged is that the forests that are available for logging are running out, and the industry will collapse by 2030. The government is saying that the contracts with Australian Paper will not be renewed after 2030 because there will be no more forests to log. This is not an announcement for the end of native forest logging, this is a nail in the coffin for the Central Highlands.
Mature, intact ecosystems are already on the chopping block right now, and even two more years of this is too long. All that’s left to log is threatened species habitat and critical carbon stores. This is a distraction so that the government can continue with business as usual.
We are going to keep protesting the logging that will continue here. Time is running out for our forests and we cannot wait for change. We’re calling on people to ramp up efforts because 2030 is way too late.
It’s hard to know what outcomes this will have for the Central Highlands given that there’s only 1% of old growth left, and many areas of important habitat for the Greater Glider & other threatened species are still scheduled to be logged. A lot of the areas included in the 90,000 ha marked for protection are not on the current timber release plan and the same volume of forest will still be wood chipped until the contracts end in 2030.
While the government has made an important announcement we are hesitant to trust that they will properly implement these policies, given their long history of unreliable regulation. This announcement is the result of all the hard working people that were out surveying for wildlife when the government wasn’t doing its job. This is for all the people who have been campaigning tirelessly for the protection of these forests for decades.
With law enforcement dismantling the protest as we speak, the threat of continued logging of this area is imminent. The protester occupying the tree-sit for the past two days has now been removed. The action statement has no immediate effect on this forest and logging can continue tomorrow. There have been five Greater Gliders found within these two coupes and this will not be enough to get protection. Considering threatened species habitat is still on the chopping block, the fight for protection of these forests is far from over.
We acknowledge the thousands of year of custodianship over the land by the Taungurung, Gunaikurnai, Wurundjeri, Bidwell and Monaro people and that sovereignty was never ceded. We acknowledge their past and current resistance to the continued destruction of their ancestral lands.