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Minister challenges logging advice

23 January 2011

VICTORIA’S new forestry minister has challenged scientific warnings that the timber industry is putting endangered species at risk of extinction, arguing that only a fraction of the state’s forest habitat is logged.

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh, whose portfolio includes responsibility for state forests, denied claims the forest industry was in crisis, but said it was ailing, after years of gradual cuts to timber allocation from state forests stymied investment. The Coalition has promised to restore industry confidence by guaranteeing access to current levels of state forest timber for up to 20 years.

State-owned VicForests logging firm ‘non-viable’

3 January 2011

TAXPAYERS have been forced to fund a multimillion-dollar bailout of VicForests, with severe financial pressure putting the future of the government-owned company that logs state forests under a cloud.

VicForests’ operations are now being reviewed by the new Liberal-National coalition government, which says it will explore ”all management options” for the Victorian native timber industry.

Set up by the former Labor government six years ago, VicForests bled out more than $16 million in cash over the the 2009-10 financial year.

Chipping away

22 November 2010
Originally published at : 

The promise to end woodchipping native forests was made 15 years ago. Maybe, just maybe, the promise will be kept. Royce Millar and Adam Morton report.

BOB Brown could have scripted John Brumby's passionate address to an adoring anti-logging rally in Treasury Gardens in 1995. "An end to native forest woodchips, the protection of our high-conservation value forest areas and an industry which is based in the future on plantations. That's what we want."

Native-forest felling split

14 October 2010

THE logging industry is split over the clear-felling of native forest.

Australia’s biggest logging company says the future lies in plantations, while the nation’s biggest mill will consider an exit from native forest products and Tasmanian workers will vote on a proposal to end native-forest logging next month.

And the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania appears set to sign a deal to end native forest logging by its members.

Landmark injunction halts old-growth logging

14 September 2009

Environmentalists have won a landmark court injunction to halt logging in old-growth forest in far east Gippsland.

The temporary injunction brings into doubt a State Government decision to allow logging in two areas at Brown Mountain, north of Orbost.

Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings last month lifted a seven-month moratorium on logging at the mountain, reasoning government surveys had found no direct evidence of threatened species.

Vic Government destroying pre-Columbus trees

3 September 2009

In a state first, radiocarbon dating has confirmed that a tree logged by the Victorian Government began growing before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the Americas.

“This a monumental find for Victoria. The carbon sample, taken from a logged shining gum tree at Brown Mountain in East Gippsland, shows there is a 68 per cent chance the tree started growing between 1435 and 1490 AD. The tree is well over 500 years old,” said Jill Redwood, coordinator for Environment East Gippsland, who commissioned the study.

State's cheap timber sales 'undermine native forest policy'

6 April 2009

THE State Government has been accused of undermining its own forests policy by selling off native hardwood timbers for as little as $2.50 a tonne.

VicForests, the State Government's forest industry arm, has been undercutting commercial plantation pulp wood suppliers by selling off native forest timber harvested in East Gippsland for between $2.50 and $6 a tonne.

Commercial hardwood timber is sold for between $38 to $60 a tonne.

Nothing natural about selection of which trees die

10 November 2008

POSTMAN'S Track is a dividing line. Heading down into what locals call the Valley of the Giants, about seven hours drive east of Melbourne, thick old-growth forest soars up to 50 metres on both sides of the skinny trail.

But there is an arbitrary distinction. On the right is Errinundra National Park. On the left is forest available to the timber industry. In the view of conservationists, it is soon to be "smashed into oblivion". The low grumble of a chainsaw can be heard about a kilometre away.