Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens welcome the passing of legislation today to abolish VicForests but say more needs to be done to protect native forests as Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) risks repeating the disgraced logging company’s mistakes.

On Thursday, Labor and the Liberals teamed up to vote down an array of sensible amendments moved by the Greens that would safeguard forests from being destroyed under the guise of fire management.

The amendments included the establishment of stronger, mandatory surveying to protect endangered species, empowering regulators to investigate ecological impacts of work carried out in forests by the Department, and a ban on the commercial sale of timber collected as part of fire works to ensure that work is only done when it’s strictly necessary for safety or fire prevention, and to prevent ‘logging by stealth’.

The Leader for the Greens Ellen Sandell has expressed grave concern that FFMV’s recent forest management operation risks turning the body into “VicForests 2.0”.

Recently, a critically endangered Greater Glider was killed as part of fuel breaks developed by FFMV in the Yarra Ranges National Park, sounding the alarm over inadequate ecological surveying and oversight.

This was repeated two weeks later with the destruction of an ancient “grandmother tree” – a giant so tall and wide it becomes difficult to burn and therefore prevents fires, but will now be replaced by much smaller, more flammable vegetation.

As stated by the Leader of the Greens Ellen Sandell:

“VicForests illegally logged Victoria’s forests, spied on citizens and slashed and burned precious endangered species habitat. We welcome the fact they’ve been shut down.

“While VicForests being shut down is welcome, there’s a lot of work to do to ensure that Labor doesn’t just move its operations to the Department of Environment and undertake ‘logging by stealth, which has already been happening”

“Ancient forests and critical habitat are already being logged and destroyed by Labor’s Department under the guise of ‘storm clean up’ or ‘fire prevention’ work. This has already resulted in the death of a critically endangered greater glider. This cannot be allowed to continue”.

“We’re disappointed that Labor and the Liberals joined together to vote against the Greens sensible amendments, that would’ve put in place better safeguards to protect endangered species and their habitat.”

/Public Release. View in full here.