ALP promises and oldgrowth forests to go up in smoke

The fanfare surrounding the government's recent announcement (10th Dec '09) on over 40,000 ha of forest protected is a smoke and mirrors trick.
 
The area of old growth that it had promised to protect 3 years ago was much reduced. 5,000 ha less than the original offer. How?
 
Brumby cleverly protected areas that were already protected but under a different name - 'Special Protection Zones'. These are areas that were already mapped in the late 90s as the minimum required to protect rare and endangered plants and wildlife.
 
The fanfare surrounding the government's recent announcement (10th Dec '09) on over 40,000 ha of forest protected is a smoke and mirrors trick.
 
The area of old growth that it had promised to protect 3 years ago was much reduced. 5,000 ha less than the original offer. How?
 
Brumby cleverly protected areas that were already protected but under a different name - 'Special Protection Zones'. These are areas that were already mapped in the late 90s as the minimum required to protect rare and endangered plants and wildlife.
 
He cut out the intact stands of valuable old growth at Ferntree Creek and Big River as originally promised. They're now going to be clearfelled for conversion to woodchip farms. Brown Mountain Creek's 600 year old forests missed out.
 
Although better than nothing, other areas planned for protection have had their hearts logged out first (eg. Dingo Creek and Goolengook). Yalmy is a great win (but was too steep to log anyway).
 
Areas west of the Snowy are mostly dry scrubby clapped out regrowth that the logging industry don't want anyway but marked as 'significant stands of old growth'. It looks like the logging industry drew the maps for protection.
 
Much of the new reserved areas are already unavailable or uneconomic or impractical to log.
 
This a very minor conservation win when the 600 year old trees at Brown Mt. and other areas, are still on the government's logging plans.
 
 
Page ONE of the ALP 2006 election policy was clearly worded - to protect "the last significant stands of old growth currently available for logging" --- not cow paddocks --- not burnt regrowth --- not previously logged areas --- not protect areas already protected - but 'significant stands of old growth currently available for logging'.
 
This is another attempt by the government to put polish on a turd. Brumby has caved into the logging brotherhood - again. A brotherhood which is deeply embedded in his office.
 
This announcement, when peeled back of the tinsel and glitter, shows thousands of hectares of publicly owned old growth forest still on logging maps for conversion to industrial tree farms.
 
Government could have easily and smoothly honoured the 2006 promise - saved old growth forests and kept jobs. How? By helping to provide skilled workers to the plantation companies in the rest of the state that are screaming out for hundreds of workers.
 
This announcement will put hundreds of years of stored carbon into the atmosphere, convert public forests into commercial tree crops, maintain the conflict, keep a handful of workers in an insecure industry, and allow the plantation companies in the west of Vic to keep importing their labour needs from overseas.
Maybe it also keeps the political donations flowing. You have to wonder.

 

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