Victoria’s eastern native forests

by Amelia Young
(The Wilderness Society Team, Victoria)

Satellite map showing illegal logging in Little Jacquie Coupe Victoria

Satellite map showing illegal logging in Little Jacquie Coupe Victoria

Dear EcoMarlee,

I have often written to you about logging happening in forests where it shouldn’t be — in old growth or Critically Endangered forests. But last night the ABC’s 7:30 (1 - See below) revealed something worse: the Victorian Government’s own loggers are destroying thousands of hectares of forest they don’t have permission to log. (2 - See below)

They’re logging in areas they aren’t allowed to — and , this is illegal.

The Victorian Government’s loggers are running rogue and logging swathes of our forests illegally.

It’s bad enough that they are destroying habitat and that dodgy logging deals give loggers a free pass when it comes to national environment laws.

Wood from Victoria’s native forests is used by processors including Japanese-owned Australian Paper, the government’s own sawmill at Heyfield, and is sold by retailers like Bunnings and Officeworks—there’s ‘stolen’ wood in the supply chain.

Yet there’s no plan to stop it: the ABC reports that the practice of logging outside allocated areas "has been repeated multiple times, is ongoing, and is planned to continue." (3 Refer below)

It’s clear that state government loggers are out of control, and that no one’s in charge.

After this latest exposé, no one can credibly argue that state governments should continue to regulate logging—clearly, they can’t or won’t.

Australia needs strong and effective national laws for nature, and institutions to make sure those laws are properly enforced.

You see, , the Victorian logging agency, VicForests, operates in state forests, and all timber in state forests is property of the Crown. When VicForests logs in areas not given to them to log, this means they’re stealing timber from the Crown.

By taking and selling wood that doesn’t belong to it, VicForests is stealing from the people of Victoria.

Already, the Victorian Government is failing to properly regulate VicForests. I have shared with you countless examples of unlawful logging— often brought to light through the efforts of citizen scientists.

This time it’s no different. It was citizen scientist Ed Hill who worked out that logging is happening outside the Allocation Order right across eastern Victoria. The Allocation Order is the instrument that transfers ownership of timber from the Crown to VicForests. It is only because Ed spent hours poring over maps, analysing logging lists, and days out in the field, that the ABC have been able to report on what’s going on. 

Satellite images showing logging of Little Jacqui coupe; red is the area within the Allocation Order, non-red area has not been allocated to VicForests to log.

This isn’t good enough. It shouldn’t be left to the community to shine a light on rogue logging that’s destroying our precious environment.

And this report from the ABC proves, yet again, that state governments can’t be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to our environment. Australia needs strong new nature laws—and the 2019 Federal Election is the best opportunity yet to get these put in place.

Rampant state government logging is bad enough. Illegal logging is unacceptable.

Last night’s footage was shocking. Vast areas of forest, gone forever. And now we learn that VicForests didn’t even have permission to log there.

For forests, please email the Environment Ministers. A personalised message to our Environment Ministers will help to bring real, tangible change for our incredible environment and all the animals and people who rely on it to survive. Go here.

The Wilderness Society Team, Victoria
Amelia, The Wilderness Society

Authorised by Amelia Young
The Wilderness Society Victoria Inc - we're here to support life because life supports us.
353-355 King St, West Melbourne, VIC 3003, Australia

P.S. I’d love to hear what you think about this. Please email me back to let me know how this shocking news has affected you.

1 Missed the segment on 7:30 watch here.

2 Slezak, Michael and Penny Timms, 2018. ABC ‘Australia's endangered forests are being 'stolen' and sold in your local hardware store’ available here.

3 From Slezak, Michael and Penny Timms, 2018. ABC ‘Australia's endangered forests are being 'stolen' and sold in your local hardware store’.

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