New re­port calls for for­est ac­tion in Vic­to­ria’s Strath­bo­gie Ranges

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS -

A NEW in­de­pen­dent re­port has been re­leased, rec­om­mend­ing the pro­tec­tion of the forests of the Strath­bo­gie Ranges in new con­ser­va­tion reserves.

The re­port has been funded by lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in North East Vic­to­ria frus­trated by what they say is a lack of ac­tion by the State Gov­ern­ment.

Lo­cal truck­ing company owner and spokesper­son for Save Our Strath­bo­gie For­est, Shirley Say­well, said the Strath­bo­gie For­est is be­ing wrecked by log­ging and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses have had enough.

She said 74 per cent of na­tive for­est in the Strath­bo­gie Ranges has al­ready been cleared, and less than two per cent of the Strath­bo­gie Ranges is per­ma­nently pro­tected in for­mal con­ser­va­tion reserves.

“The An­drews Gov­ern­ment is not lis­ten­ing to re­gional com­mu­ni­ties, and we fear the loss of forests and threat­ened species which sup­port lo­cal tourism and vis­i­tors to our re­gion,” Ms Say­well said.

The re­port rec­om­mends that the State Gov­ern­ment en­able the for­mal pro­tec­tion of the Strath­bo­gie For­est un­der the National Parks Act, en­com­pass­ing all of the ex­ist­ing State For­est and other as­so­ci­ated pub­lic land, as part of its elec­tion com­mit­ments in 2018.

It also em­pha­sises the statewide sig­nif­i­cance of these forests for meet­ing National Re­serve Sys­tem tar­gets, Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment pro- tec­tion com­mit­ments and for the fu­ture sur­vival of the na­tion­ally en­dan­gered Greater Glider Pos­sum pop­u­la­tion who re­quire ur­gent pro­tec­tion in a con­ser­va­tion re­serve.

For­mal pro­tec­tion of these forests for na­ture con­ser­va­tion will also help demon­strate the com­mit­ment of the State Gov­ern­ment to land set­tle­ment agree­ments be­ing ne­go­ti­ated with the Taungerong Clans.

“The An­drews Gov­ern­ment has the worst record of any Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment over the past 60 years in declar­ing new national parks,” Ms Say­well said.

“The gov­ern­ment has been in a forests pol­icy vac­uum for four years, in the mean­time al­low­ing known habi­tat for threat­ened an­i­mals to con­tinue to be trashed by its state-owned forestry busi­ness.

“It’s time to pro­tect the Strath­bo­gie For­est as part of a com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy to pro­tect wildlife, forests and valu­able tourism economies in our re­gion.”

The de­ci­sion to pro­tect the Strath­bo­gie For­est by the Coali­tion or La­bor, as part of a forests and con­ser­va­tion pol­icy, prior to the Novem­ber elec­tion is some­thing Ms Say­well said would re­ceive strong sup­port from com­mu­ni­ties across the lo­cal re­gion.

“It will demon­strate fur­ther­more that re­gional com­mu­ni­ties’ for­est con­cerns are be­ing lis­tened to,” she said.

Save our Strath­bo­gie for­est cam­paign mem­bers are also wel­com­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic to join them on the first walk of spring to see the for­est they are work­ing so hard to save.

The 3km walk will be at Mount Wom­bat Flora & Fauna Re­serve from 2 pm to 5 pm this Sun­day - the meet­ing point is at Strath­bo­gie Ceme­tery car park.

KEEP­ING IT GREEN: Save our Strath­bo­gie for­est cam­paign mem­bers all gath­ered to dis­cuss the ins and outs of the newly re­leased re­port. Pic­tured are (from left) An­gus Mur­ray, Janet Fog­a­rty, Harry Sex­ton(baby), Pip Mur­ray, Paul Mur­ray, Libby Wood­house, Ber­tram Lobert, Shirley Say­well, Sim Ay­ers, Trevor El­liott, Jur­gen Malina, Jeff Lu­cas, Frank Pierce and Anne Mur­ray.

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