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