Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Victorian Parliament passes
National Parks (Otways and other amendments) Bill

Thursday 15th September 2005 was a historic day for the Otways. At 4pm, legislation to create the new Great Otway National Park (102,000 ha), create a Otways Forest Park (40,000 ha), and put an end to clearfell logging was passed through the Victorian Parliament Upper House.

The Bracks Government's Otway policies have now been made into law.

Significantly, the Victorian Liberal Party voted with the government to support all the Otway legislation.
Read more.

Unfortunately the National Party still supports Otway clearfell logging, but the National Party's extremist views on the Otways clearly represent a minority of Victorian Members of Parliament.

In the Lower House the legislation vote was 75 for and 9 against. In the Upper House the vote was 36 for and 4 against.

Yanathan Falls, in the Cumberland river catchment will now be included in the
Great Otway National Park.

Parliamentary Speeches

In total 49 individual Members of Parliament spoke on the National Parks (Otways and other amendments) Bill.

See the second reading speech by Environment Minister John Thwaites.

See Environment Minister John Thwaites tribute to OREN & community.

See key speeches by Labor Members of Parliament.

See key speeches by Liberal Members of Parliament.

What the new Otway legislation means!

The National Parks (Otways and Other Amendments) Bill has created the new Great Otway National Park under the National Parks Act and will create the Otway Forest Park under the Crown Lands and Reserves Act.

What is significant is that the Forest Act will be amended to ban the issuing of sawlog and pulpwood licences within the Otway Forest Park. This means that when existing logging licences expire by 2008 or are cancelled, it will be unlawful to issue new ones. This excellent outcome represents the complete closure of native forest logging on public land in the Otways forever.

The legislation has written in a way that opens to door for more Forest Parks to be created throughout Victoria in the future.

Additionally the Heritage Rivers Act will be amended to increase the Aire Heritage River corridor to 200 metres through the Great Otway National Park.

Otway Native forest logging will end forever after June 2008

The support from the Liberal Party for the Otway legislation means that there is no hope for the remaining sawmiller and woodchip mill to ever be able to log public land native forest in the Otways after 2008 when remaining licences expire. Even if the Liberal Party forms a government in the future, they will not be restart native forest logging on private land in the Otways.

Conservationists are hopeful that the Murnane sawmill and the Midway export woodchip mill will see the writing on the wall and take an exit package before the remaining log licences expire in the year 2008. OREN will continue to monitor Otway logging over the next three years to ensure sensitive areas are protected and logging complies with the Code of Forest Practice.

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