Bookmark and Share

Baillieu takes axe to Victoria's red gum national parks - Burke must intervene

Thursday, 4 December, 2012

Media release

In a massive step backwards for protection of Victoria's national parks and threatened species the Baillieu Government will re-introduce logging into Barmah National Park on the Murray River under the guise of 'ecological thinning' trials.

"First the Baillieu Government tried 'scientific grazing' in the Alpine National Park, now it is trying its hand at 'scientific logging' in Barmah National Park," Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Nick Roberts said today.

"The Federal Government must step in and use national environmental laws to protect this internationally-recognised wetland from the Victorian and NSW governments."

Logging in red gum forests along the Murray River ended in 2010 after the creation of River Red Gum national parks in both Victoria and NSW. The move followed extensive independent investigation.

"The best available science says that River Red Gums will be improved by flooding not logging," Mr Roberts said. "And yet these new trials are on the scale of a commercial logging operation and are completely inappropriate for a national park.

"The trial is fundamentally flawed, could easily have been done outside the parks and is likely to damage habitat and threatened species."

River Red Gum national parks were established to protect important forests and wetlands and a significant number of rare or threatened plants and animals.

Responding to a letter sent by the VNPA to the Victorian Government, the Department of Sustainability and Environment finally responded last week stating that the ecological thinning trial was approved and would commence as a research study.

A number of threatened species within these national parks are protected under national environmental law. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act also lists the Ramsar status of the wetlands as a trigger for federal intervention.

"We understand this logging proposal has not been submitted or approved under national environmental laws as required," Mr Roberts said.

"Federal environment minister Tony Burke now has a responsibility to intervene and protect a number of matters of national environmental significance impacted by the proposal.

"Along with alpine cattle grazing, this case highlights the short-sightedness of state governments and shows they can't be trusted - even with the jewels in the crown of the conservation estate - national parks. We need strong federal oversight."

Download media backgrounder

For comment

  • Nick Roberts on 0429 945 429.