Firefighting skills to suffer as Supreme Court shuts down coupe


UPDATE: Response from Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) spokesperson to the original article
“Each year Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) conducts approximately 15 chainsaw faller training courses across north east Victoria and Gippsland at approved sites identified in consultation with VicForests and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

If an approved site becomes unavailable, training will proceed as planned at an alternative location.

The five-day rigorous training course upskills staff from intermediate chainsaw faller to advanced faller and covers the essential elements of safely removing hazardous trees to reduce the bushfire risk to communities and the environment.”


FFMVic conducts three faller training courses, including basic, intermediate, and advanced. Through FFMVic’s day-to-day work, fuel management program and bushfire recovery works, crews are provided additional opportunities to refine their chainsaw skills by assessing and removing hazardous trees.

This summer FFMVic has employed approximately 700 seasonal firefighters in Victoria, around 200 of whom are new recruits and will undertake General Firefighter training to help keep communities safe. Seasonal firefighters work alongside our experienced permanent staff to respond to bushfires and undertake planned burning on public land.

Forest firefighters rely heavily on dry firefighting techniques as water is often scarce in the middle of the bush. Our firefighters are being trained in how to use rakehoes and other hand tools to construct a mineral earth control line as well as skills such as four-wheel driving, which are essential for forest firefighting.

Original Story:

Hundreds of trainees, including from the State Emergency Service, Victoria Police and Forest Fire Management Victoria have been shut out of a timber coupe in East Gippsland in a bid to protect the Yellow-bellied glider. The irony is that Tiger Coupe at Nowa Nowa was not even intended for timber harvesting. VicForests, who manages this coupe, had handed it to TAFE Gippsland to be used for forestry fire training. Programs are run to prepare trainees for bushfires, storms and floods.  

“Having a trained firefighting workforce is critical to defending our towns, built infrastructure, farms, livestock, our forests and wildlife against devastating impacts of bushfires,” said Ms Kerr, CEO of VFPA.  

“The memory of the devastating Black Summer fires in 2019-20 remains very vivid for many Victorians who are likely to be speechless over the outcome of this court case and the audacity of environmentalists when this coupe was not even being harvested.” 

As VicForests now scrambles to provide a suitable alternative coupe, this decision shows the disappointing extent that environmentalists will go to put the environment above all else,” concluded Ms Kerr.

TheVictorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) represents all elements of the value chain from both sustainable harvesting of plantations and multiple-use natural forest resources. VFPA is a policy development and advocacy group which represents the interests of Victoria’s sustainable forest industries. We collaborate strongly with other industry bodies to ensure the best outcomes for the industry generally and our members more specifically. Our charter provides autonomy to manage State issues. We cooperate with the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) on any issues that transcend State borders and have National implications.

/Public Release. View in full here.