MEDIA RELEASE 2 November 2018 |

The vast majority of Victorians want state forests protected, not logged and woodchipped, and Victorians want workers supported while leaving the industry, according to polling in three key marginal seats three weeks out from the Victorian state election.

The vast majority of Victorians polled (62.8 per cent) think state forests should be utilised to protect trees and wildlife, with only 6.2 per cent saying they should be used for logging and woodchipping. Labor voters supported protected state forest more (67.8 per cent) and logging even less (2.6 per cent).

Reachtel polled 1514 voters this week in the marginal seats of Richmond, Prahran and Bentleigh for the Goongerah Environment Centre, Friends of the Earth, the Victorian National Parks Association and the Wilderness Society, which plan on ramping up activities in key seats.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents support the expansion of national parks in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland, the regions where the Great Forest National Park and the Emerald Link are proposed.

Voters in all three electorates strongly supported the Emerald Link, a proposal to protect a continuous strip of habitat from the Alps to the sea with 79.5 per cent supporting it, 58.8 per cent strongly supporting it.

Voters in the sandbelt seat of Bentleigh are as supportive of forest protection as voters further to the north in Prahran and Richmond.

Victorian National Parks Association Executive Director Matt Ruchel said: “While the Andrews government has been in office, logging continues in special forests that this polling shows Victorians want properly protected in national parks. The Andrews government is not delivering for Victoria.”

Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager Amelia Young said: “While Premier Daniel Andrews has been in charge, native wildlife that are killed by logging have been added to Victoria’s threatened species list. But there’s still no action plan for the Greater Glider, because when it comes to the realities of forests and logging, the Andrews Government is dangerously moribund.”

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO and Friends of the Earth) spokesperson Ed Hill said: “The Andrews government’s appalling record on protecting forests and creating new national parks leaves them precariously exposed. The message from this polling is clear: Victorians want their forests protected as a matter of priority and through our work, that message will be made clear at the ballot box.

“Despite four years in office, the Andrews Labor state government has failed to protect forests and steer the logging and woodchipping industry into plantations.”

The polling also showed that the vast majority (72.2 per cent) also support compensation for workers in the logging and woodchipping industry who face employment change.

About 71 per cent of undecided voters want more or expanded national parks, while 59 per cent said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supported expanding the national park estate.

Polling available upon request.