Geelong Council tells Midway not to take Otway woodchips
Greater Geelong City Council reminds Midway of moral obligation not to source woodchips from Otway native forest.
Midway export woodchip mill in Geelong wants to expand its woodchipping operations at Corio Bay and has gone though a planning permit process with the Geelong City Council.
During the planning permit review process the Council Environment Unit issued the following advice:
From a sustainable timber production perspective, it is crucial that council specifically requires that the hardwood timber being processed is sourced from blue gum plantations and commercial woodlots and is not old growth/ clearfelled hardwood forest timber. There was a previous Council resolution regarding the Western Region Regional Forest Agreement which specifically addresses the issue of Council not supporting clearfell logging in the Otways, in particular the logging of old growth forests.
On the 4th December 2003, the Greater Geelong City Council made the following planning permit recommendation that specifically provides moral guidance to Midways with respect to its source of woodchips.
Application No: 682/2003
The Permit Applicant be specifically advised of the City of Greater Geelong Council's position in respect to the Western Region Regional Forest Agreement, which specifically addresses the issue of Council not supporting clearfell logging in the Otways, in particular the logging if old growth forests.
In light of this resolution whilst it is not possible to condition a permit to specify where raw materials are sourced, Midway are advised of Council's support for plantation hardwood rather that native forest and the City will continue to lobby for the discontinuance of old growth forest/native forests being logged for woodchips.
The following media release was issued by the Otway Ranges Environment Network.
OREN MEDIA RELEASE
Geelong Council planning permit reminds Midway
of moral obligation not to source woodchip from Otway native forest.
Friday 9th January 2004
Conservationists today have welcomed a Geelong Council Planning permit that recommends the Midway export woodchip mill not source woodchips from clearfell logged native forests in the Otways.
Midway export woodchip mill in Geelong wants to expand its woodchipping operations at Corio Bay and has gone though a planning permit process with the City of Greater Geelong. On the 4th December 2003, the following planning permit (1024/2003) recommendation (B) was made by the City of Greater Geelong in reference to alterations at the woodchip mill.
"Although the woodchip mill expansion is opposed, conservationists are very please that the City of Greater Geelong has included this recommendation in the Midway planning permit," said spokesperson Simon Birrell for the Otway Ranges Environment Network.
"This planning permit for Midway's expansion is a reminder to Midway and its Japanese trading partner Mitsui & CO that they have a moral responsibility to immediately stop sourcing native forest woodchips from the Otways.
"Conservationists are concerned Midway will continue to take Otway native forest woodchips until their licence runs out in 2008. Annually about two to three square kilometres of Otway native forest are clearfell logged and woodchipped. Every year Midway exports about 800,000 tonnes of woodchips for which about 70,000 tonnes come from the Otways. "
"If Midway and its Japanese trading partner Mitsui & CO continue to take woodchips from the Otways until their licences run out in 2008, a further 10 square kilometres of Otways forest that could be a National Park will be destroyed."
"However State government has a plan to fix these problems."
"The Victorian State government was re-elected with policies to end logging in the Otways as soon as possible and create a new national park. The State Government has allocated $14 million to make these policies reality. Some of this money is available to pay Midway compensation for the small loss in its overall woodchip output due to the new Otway polices."
"Midway and its trading partner Mitsui &
Co. have already set up a joint venture plantation program called the
Victoria Treefarm Project and have planted at least 3,700 ha of blue gum
plantations within 150 kilometres of Geelong. The State government has
allocated an additional $9 million for the development of hardwood plantations
in Western Victoria over the next three years. Midway and Mitsui could
benefit from funding through this program to further develop plantations.
However conservationists will lobby the State government not to give Midway
and its trading partner Mitsui & CO a cent of this money unless they
have given up Otway woodchips before the start of the next logging season."
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