Central Highlands

VicForests investigates timber claim

11 June 2011

A TIMBER merchant has been accused of putting Victorian jobs at risk by sending thousands of tonnes of wood salvaged after the deadly Black Saturday fires overseas for processing.

The state government's commercial forestry arm, VicForests, confirmed yesterday it was investigating Robert Brudenell, of Pinex Logging, over a suspected breach of contract.

Victoria accused of secretly exporting timber

11 June 2011
Originally published at : 

The Wilderness Society says whole Victorian sawlogs are being secretly exported to China in breach of State Government policy.

The society claims timber is being taken from bushfire-affected areas around Healesville, loaded into shipping containers at Tottenham in Melbourne's west, and then shipped overseas.

Campaign manager Richard Hughes says the Victorian Timber Industry Strategy requires sawlogs to be processed locally.

Green paper needs Reflex action

30 May 2011

REFLEX, Australia's best-known brand of paper, is set to lose its international green accreditation within the next two months unless its manufacturer can strike an unlikely deal with some of its fiercest enemies.

The loss of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification would force Australian Paper, which makes Reflex, to either abandon its public commitment to the FSC process or shift its sourcing from native forests to more expensive plantation timber.

Give A Possum A Tree

11 April 2011
Originally published at : 

The habitat of the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum is disappearing but this cute creature isn’t the only one to be left homeless by VicForests’ logging policies, writes Greg Foyster

You know an animal is in serious trouble when you start counting its habitat trees individually. David Blair, a member of the Australian National University team monitoring the federally endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, stands on a dirt track in gumboots and a green vest, pointing out old grey eucalypts one by one. “Probably 14,” he says when he’s finished counting. 

FSC and the battle over Victoria’s forests

17 March 2011
Originally published at : 

By Chris Taylor

The Fifth Estate

The Forest Stewardship Council is becoming wedged in the middle of a battle between environmentalists and Australia’s largest paper manufacturer.

The Wilderness Society launched its campaign in February against Australian Paper, calling for consumers not to purchase Reflex Office Paper, the company’s flagship product, on the basis that its wood fibre is sourced from environmentally destructive logging practices.

VicForests operations condemned

23 February 2011

THE government-owned company that logs Victoria's native forests is running out of timber, has failed to keep track of how much forest is left to log and cannot manage its costs, a damning Treasury report has found.

VicForests has also twice breached Department of Sustainability and Environment rules by logging too much and its backlog of forest that needs replanting has nearly tripled, according to the report by forestry expert URS.

Activists attack sustainability claim

31 January 2011

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have made corporate Australia their number one target as they ramp up pressure on the producers of the top paper brand Reflex to stop using timber logged from native forests.

The battle between the Wilderness Society and Australian Paper has spilled into cyberspace: last week the company convinced Google to stop showing advertisements for the environmental organisation's ''ethical paper'' campaign.

Hello possum, you’re an emblem of extinction

2 October 2010

IT IS not every day you get a chance to make an animal extinct twice. According to scientists, Victoria is steadily working on it.

Leadbeater’s possum, a marsupial endemic to native forest on Melbourne’s fringe, was declared extinct in the 1950s, apparently wiped out by agricultural land-clearing around the Bass River in South Gippsland.

VicForests accused of felling old-growth mountain ash

28 June 2010

THE Victorian government’s forestry arm will face a legal challenge over claims it illegally logged old-growth forest and increased the risk to a threatened species.

Environmental groups accuse VicForests of felling dozens of pre-1900 ash eucalypts, breaching the Central Highlands Forest Management Plan.

An impending legal case will also claim the timber agency failed to protect habitats necessary for the survival of Victoria’s threatened faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s possum.

Forest debts up

9 November 2009
Originally published at : 

VICTORIAN taxpayers are losing money on the harvest of their native forests, most of which are pulped and exported.

The financial records of the Government-owned VicForests corporation shows a loss of $1.6 million on the sale of $382 million of pulp and saw logs in the past four years.

VicForests (ex)chief executive officer John Pollard said the global wood-chip market, in which Australia was the biggest player, was highly competitive and pushed profits towards zero.