Politics

State drops illegal harvesting case

10 August 2012

THE state environment department has dropped a court case against state-owned logging agency VicForests for alleged illegal harvesting of protected rainforest.

The two parties have instead cut an out-of-court deal meaning VicForests is almost certain to avoid a potential fine of up to $29,000.

In March The Age reported the Department of Sustainability and Environment had laid five charges on VicForests relating to harvesting of protected rainforest in the Orbost Forest District in East Gippsland in late 2010.

Industry pushes against the grain

4 February 2012

THE logs - thousands of them - are piled neatly in an old sawmill yard at Neerim South, Gippsland. To the casual observer they may look unexceptional. But the truck drivers, paid by the government to cart the felled trees from the state's forests, know better. This place is a dumping ground, albeit temporary. And the wood - representing about 100 hectares of trees - symbolises long-term problems with the management of Victoria's native forests.

Government’s VicForests logs a profit, but only just

15 September 2011

THE state government’s logging company, VicForests, burnt through more than $5 million in cash last year as its customers struggled to pay their bills, accounts tabled in Parliament yesterday reveal.

Thanks to a $5.8 million grant for bushfire recovery services from the government, the native forest logging monopoly declared a profit of $2.3 million for 2010-11.

But VicForests’ operating cash flow was negative for the second year running and its borrowing from government again blew out, increasing from $19 million to $25 million – a tenfold increase since 2009, when it owed Treasury just $2.3 million.

Secret log exports exposed

21 June 2011

THE Wilderness Society has called on the Victorian ombudsman for an independent investigation into the proposed secret export of whole sawlogs from state forests in the Central Highlands region.

An investigation by The Wilderness Society and My Environment revealed tens of thousands of hardwood sawlogs from bushfire affected forests, including the Mount Disappointment State Forest, are secretly being shipped to China against State Government policy.

Call for inquiry as salvaged wood exported

20 June 2011

THE Ombudsman has been asked to investigate VicForests for allowing thousands of tonnes of wood salvaged from the Black Saturday bushfires to be exported to China in breach of a government contract.

The Wilderness Society has lodged a complaint with Ombudsman George Brouwer after VicForests confirmed a private company, Pinex Logging, had breached a contract to process the logs locally to protect jobs in the Victorian timber industry.

Row erupting over Black Saturday CHN wood exports

20 June 2011

THOUSANDS of tonnes of wood salvaged from the Black Saturday bushfires has been sent to China in breach of a government contract.

The Wilderness Society has called on Ombudsman George Brouwer to investigate after VicForests confirmed a private company, Pinex Logging, had breached a contract to process the logs locally to protect jobs in the Victorian timber industry.

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.

VicForests has credit extended

11 April 2011

THE financial woes of the state government’s commercial forestry arm VicForests have deepened, with it forced to go back to Treasury for a bigger loan.

VicForests’ line of credit with Treasury has doubled in three years, from $12.5 million in 2009 to $25 million this year, as the company struggles with cash-flow problems.

The deepening financial problems at VicForests follow the release of a report by forestry consultants URS, commissioned by Treasury, which found the company cannot manage its costs.

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.

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