For the second week in a row, local residents have walked into an active logging coupe and disrupted operations to bring attention to the ongoing destruction of Victoria's forests.
Logging is occurring in some of the last remaining forest in Kinglake in Victoria's Central Highlands that has not been logged or burned in bushfires. Forests like these fragments left in Murrundindi in the Kinglake area are critical refuges for threatened species including the Greater Glider, that has been identified within logging coupes. The Victorian government is yet to release an Action Statement outlining how the Glider will be protected. This Statement is required by law under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
Of even greater concern to local residents is the fact that logging continues in these forests in a climate emergency. While scientists around the world are highlighting the importance of protecting forests and carrying out massive scale revegetation to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and address the sixth mass extinction, the Victorian government continues to allow logging in some of the most carbon dense forests on the planet to fulfil contracts with Nippon Paper to make copy paper. Around 80% of Victoria's forests end up at the Australian Paper manufacturing plant (owned by Nippon) to make Reflex and other brands of copy paper.
"There is no time left for the Central Highlands," said Gayle Cole from Toolangi. "The forest ecosystem is critically endangered. One percent of old growth forest remains".
"The government's hands are tied by unions and vested corporate interests. We have to think creatively and bring an end to this horror immediately." she said.
Following intense public campaigning, Officeworks agreed to stop stocking Reflex copy paper by 2020 if it was found to be sourced from unsustainable logging. Bunnings has made the same public statement in regards to its native wood products. Time will tell if these retailers are true to their word.
In the meantime, Kinglake locals say they will continue to disrupt business as usual (unsustainable logging) in their forests as long as the Victorian government continues to ignore public opinion and the science on logging native forests.
Kinglake residents will hold a public meeting to discuss what can be done to save the last of their forests on Sunday 20 October at the Kinglake Community Centre, corner of Whittlesea-Kinglake Rd and Extons Rd, 2 to 4pm.
About the author
Eco-shout is a catalyst to action for environmental and social justice.