Forest and woodlands on public land in the west of Victoria are fragmented remnants of bush, often surrounded by a sea of cleared farmland.
We need to keep what little remains safe.
Under legislation logging and mining is excluded from National Parks in Victoria, to protect and preserve the parks in their natural condition for the use, enjoyment and education of the public and conservation of indigenous species.
Logging of native forests in the west has almost doubled over the past ten years
The forests and woodlands of Victoria’s west are sometimes referred to as the “forgotten forests” – and when it comes to compliance and oversight of logging operations, this, unfortunately, rings very true.
A great cloud of destruction hangs over the forests and bushland of the central west, clear fell logging and mining companies seek to degrade and destroy the last remaining forest of the central west, threatened species habitat and headwaters of major river systems.
There are many coupes scheduled for logging in Mt. Cole, Wombat Forest and the Pyrenees – mining exploration is active in the Wombat Forest much to the dismay of nature lovers and local community.
Mount Cole is one of the few places in the west of the state where damaging clear fell logging is still undertaken
In the region that Mount Cole and some of the Pyrenees Ranges sit, more than 55 per cent of the landscape has been cleared. Public land makes up only 17 per cent of that particular region, and just 4.4 per cent is in a park or reserve, the rest is state forest.
Instead of exempting native forest logging from federal environment laws, we need to protect these forests and the wildlife that won’t survive without them.
The best way to secure the conservation values and secure the future for over 380 threatened species and habitat types is in new national parks that exclude logging and mining activities.
Expert recommendations to create new national parks:
The VEAC recommendations include almost 60,000 hectares of new national park and reserves for the Mount Cole and Pyrenees Ranges (near Beaufort and Avoca), and the Wombat (near Daylesford) and Wellsford (near Bendigo) Forests. In addition 19,000 hectares of regional park allow almost all forms of recreation.
Under legislation, the Victorian Government was required to formally respond to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Final Report, on the first sitting day six months after being tabled in Parliament. The VEAC report was tabled on 15 August 2019. Legally a response was required in the last sitting week of February 2020, and is now well overdue.