PARK WATCH Article June 2023 |

We are elated! On 23 May the state government announced their plan to speed up the transition out of native forest logging.

Native forest logging will end in Victoria on 1 January next year.

In about seven months you’re going to be living in a state that protects native wildlife habitat instead of smashing it up for pulp, paper, pallets and firewood.

This is a game-changer for nature. This is also a testament to the hard work, resilience and determination of the Victorian nature-loving community.

A massive thank you to everyone who emailed or called their elected representatives. To those who donated to our important work. To those who spread the word, joined citizen science expeditions, who again and again took action for our special places, creatures and habitats.

We’ve talked a lot about the trouble with VicForests. From breaking the laws that govern them, to taxpayer funded financial losses, to repeated failures to protect endangered wildlife like the iconic Greater Glider.

Now it’s time to talk about restoring and recovering what we’ve lost.

As part of the transition, the government will deliver a program to manage the 1.8 million hectares of public land currently available to log.

Importantly, forestry workers will be supported through the transition. Forests will be assessed for protection in new national parks and for activities like camping, hiking and four-wheel driving. This will include opportunities for Traditional Owner management.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on what is planned for forest works. Our key concern is the work forest fire agencies are doing is often indistinguishable from intensive logging practices.

This announcement is a powerful reminder that the state-sanctioned destruction of nature isn’t inevitable. It’s the consequence of poor decisions by the people we’ve elected and entrusted to look after nature. Better decisions can be made, if we demand them. And that’s exactly what our community did, for years on end.

It has finally paid off.

We were lucky to squeeze this significant victory into this edition of Park Watch at the last minute. Stay tuned, as we’ll have a lot more to report in later editions and online.