Sup­port to ban log­ging

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

Strath­bo­gie Shire Coun­cil has called on the Vic­to­rian Govern­ment to cease na­tive tim­ber log­ging in Strath­bo­gie State For­est, la­belling it a nec­es­sary step to con­serve the for­est for tourism and to com­bat cli­mate change.

The res­o­lu­tion, which was passed at an or­di­nary coun­cil meeting on Oc­to­ber 16, raised con­cerns about the ef­fect of log­ging on na­tive wildlife and the fu­ture sus­tain­abil­ity of the for­est.

‘‘There is now over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence that con­tin­ued log­ging and new planned burn­ing regimes in the Strath­bo­gie State For­est will rapidly di­min­ish its sta­tus as a re­gional strong­hold for 36 fed­er­ally and state listed threat­ened and iconic species,’’ the coun­cil min­utes read.

‘‘Pro­tect­ing the Strath­bo­gie State For­est will have a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive ef­fect on our shire’s lo­cal tourism econ­omy, lo­cal and state cli­mate fu­ture.’’

VicForests has pre­vi­ously said only six per cent of Vic­to­ria’s forests were avail­able for har­vest, of which only 0.04 per cent was har­vested each year.

About 0.1 per cent of Strath­bo­gie State For­est is har­vested, with VicForests say­ing 25 di­rect jobs were cre­ated as a re­sult of the op­er­a­tion.

‘‘Work­force data in the Strath­bo­gie Shire mu­nic­i­pal­ity shows that at the last cen­sus no jobs in the Strath­bo­gie Shire mu­nic­i­pal­ity were de­rived from the ‘Forestry and Log­ging’ in­dus­try,’’ the coun­cil meeting min­utes said.

The Save our Strath­bo­gie For­est group, which has long been ad­vo­cat­ing for an end to log­ging in the for­est, wel­comed coun­cil’s sup­port.

‘‘The Strath­bo­gie for­est is be­ing wrecked by log­ging, and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses have had enough,’’ truck­ing com­pany owner and group spokesper­son Shirley Say­well said.

‘‘We fear the loss of forests and threat­ened species which sup­port lo­cal tourism and visi­tors to our re­gion,’’ she said.

Coun­cil ref­er­enced a re­cent re­port compiled by the Save our Strath­bo­gie For­est group when mak­ing its res­o­lu­tion.

The 28-page re­port, Pro­tect­ing the Strath­bo­gie For­est: A com­mu­nity, bio­di­ver­sity and pol­icy im­per­a­tive, said 177 600 ha of the for­est, or 74 per cent, was now cleared of veg­e­ta­tion. About 870 ha, or 3.5 per cent, of the for­est has per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion.

For­est fears . . . Strath­bo­gie Shire Coun­cil has joined calls to end na­tive tim­ber log­ging in Strath­bo­gie State For­est.

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