JOINT MEDIA RELEASE | 22 August 2023
Victorian National Parks Association, Victorian Forest Alliance, Friends of Mount Stirling
Community nature groups are urging VicForests to ditch plans to log sub-alpine forests on and around Mount Stirling following the discovery of rare endangered native plants.
Surveyors from the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) and the Victorian Forest Alliance (VFA) uncovered the endangered populations of the Lilac Bitter-cress, Fringed Rice-flower, Hairy Eyebright, Ovens Everlasting and Royal Grevillea.
“Our findings show once again that VicForests has no clue what threatened plants are present before logging,” VFA’s Chris Schuringa said.
“A landmark judgement handed down by the Supreme Court last year confirmed VicForests is breaking the law by not surveying properly yet here they are again thumbing their nose at the law.”
Charles Street from Friends of Mount Stirling said the forests’ diverse mix of Alpine Ash, Mountain Gum, and Snow Gum must be protected.
“These forests are already vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and bushfires – adding chainsaws and bulldozers into the mix would be all the more devastating,” Mr Street said.
“The mountainous forests of Mount Stirling are part of a complex ecosystem – damage one part and the others suffer. The habitat areas around Mount Stirling must be protected.”
The VNPA and VFA have reported the findings to the Office of the Conservation Regulator, while Friends of Mount Stirling has written to Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt calling for the logging plans to be scrapped.
Despite the state government’s plan to end native forest logging in the east by early 2024, many areas remain under threat. Lawyers from Environmental Justice Australia recently filed an ACCC complaint on behalf of the VFA, asking for an investigation into VicForests’ misleading sustainability claims.
“VicForests can’t be trusted and should be entirely wound up by 1st January 2024 – the Andrews Government’s proposed end date to logging. These forests need lasting protections, not more destruction,” VNPA’s Matt Ruchel said.
“Native logging may well end in the east in a few months, but it looks like it will continue in Western Victoria until at least June 2024.”
“The forests around Mt Stirling provide a key link to Alpine National Park and the Mt Stirling Alpine Resort. These forests should be added into the Alpine National Park to improve management, recreational experiences, and the overall integrity of Victoria’s Alpine regions.”
“It’s impossible to justify destroying these landscapes any longer – these forests are worth so much more standing.”