Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Senior Liberals contradict each other and themselves on Otway policy.

Upper House Liberals argue Otway logging should continue

On the 8th December, Upper House Liberal's Mr Stoney and Mr Vogels argued in Parliament for the continuation of clearfell logging of native forests in the Otways.

Two totally inaccurate arguments are put forward.

Both Mr Stoney and Mr Vogels falsely argued that logging in the Otways is sustainably by misrepresenting research conducted by Professor Jerry Vanclay which was a part of the Our Forests Our Future processes. See the truth about Professor Jerry Vanclay Otway recommendations.

Secondly, the dubious argument that somehow a continuation of woodchip-driven logging in the Otways will somehow stop rainforest imports coming into Australia from other countries. See OREN propaganda directory for a response to this misleading rainforest argument.

Victorian Parliament Hansard
Date 8 December 2004

Page 8

Stoney - The pressures on our logging areas -- those still available for logging in Victoria -- have grown over the past few years. Areas that have been identified as fully sustainable have been closed despite the regional forest agreement process and the Our Forests Our Future processes. I refer to areas such the Otways. I am absolutely sure that Ms Carbines, the local member, will extol the virtues of the new Otway National Park; but I have a different view on that. I shall tell the house what I consider to be the issue with OFOF and the Otways. OFOF said no reduction was required in the Otways. It also said that other areas of the state had to have significant reductions because of overlogging -- places like East Gippsland, 50 per cent; Gippsland, 50 per cent; and a state average of 32 per cent.

From memory, I think Central Highlands and the Otways were the two areas identified as being fully sustainable.

Page 8

Stoney - During the regional forest agreement (RFA) and Our Forests Our Future processes, the Otways were identified as being fully sustainable and fully sustainable forever. Harvesting was in balance with new growth, and the Otways was the dream of every responsible and professionally trained forester. But the government ignored that sort of advice. It declared that it was going to create a national park and phase out logging -- and it was for cheap political gain. The direct end result of that decision about the Otways will mean a further shortage of high quality hardwood here in Victoria and of course Australia.

The other result will be that the Victorian community will be forced to buy more meranti, more merbau, more teak, more Philippine mahogany and other rainforest timbers from Asia to make up the shortfall. That will be as a direct result of our community and the government closing up more and more logging areas, and it just cannot continue to happen, because we have a moral responsibility to supply our own timber needs.

Page 24

Vogels - We have heard previous speakers refer to the Otways. One of the first things the Bracks government did after being elected in 1999 -- I think it was early in 2000 -- was to re-sign the regional forest agreement for the Otways. As we know, the Otways forest was and is sustainable forever. The signing of that by the Bracks government was one of the first things it did after the election.

No doubt to appease the greenies before the last election, the parliamentary secretary, the Premier and a few other hangers on went down to the Otways, stood at Triplet Falls and said it would be a national park and there would be no logging in the forest after 2008. How can it happen that you are in an industry and you have a government say to you, 'This industry is sustainable; logging here is sustainable forever if we abide by the regional forest agreement that has been signed', yet two years later it is all ripped up?

Liberals attend and support anti- Otway Parks rally

In August 2004, about 300 people from across Victoria attended an anti-Otway National Park rally in Apollo Bay.
(Note Anti-Park groups say over 1100 attended, police say less that 500 attended and Apollo Bay local residents who conducted a head count say about 300 attended.)

Local State Liberal Member for Polwarth, Terry Mulder attended the anti-Otways National Park rally and spoke out against the National Park expansion.

No confidence vote at protest
Colac Herald
Monday 16 August 2004.

Protestors against an enlarged Otways National Park drew comparisons to the Eureka Stockade, rebellion at a public meeting and rally to "reclaim the forest" yesterday.


Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder criticised Premier Steve Bracks and State Environment Minister John Thwaites for disregarding Otways user groups and communities.
"It's an absolute disgrace. If you look at the plans it's nothing better that a patchwork quilt," Mr Mulder said


Federal Liberal MP for Corangamite supports new Otway National Park

It is amazing to read a letter to the editor from the Federal Liberal Member for Corangamite, Stewart McArthur. The letter in the Geelong Advertiser (4/6/04) was advocating sufficient resources to manage an expanded Otway National Park.

It was not so long ago McArthur was a one-eyed supporter of clearfell logging Otways native forest. Now the Federal member for Corangamite thinks it is important for people to "enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the proposed park".

This change of attitude in the lead up to the October 2004 federal election was referred to by the Premier of Victoria in Parliament on the 5th October 2004 See Hansard

New Shadow Environment spokesperson supports Park

In June 2004 a new Liberal Shadow Environment spokesperson Phil Honeywood told a meeting in Anglesea that he believed the State government had been given a mandate to end logging and create a new Otway National Park.

One of the issues Honeywood raises is that the Liberals will only support a new expanded Otway National Park if the new park is properly resourced.

Does this then mean that Liberals would cut funding the National Park and then restart logging? Such a move to cut funding would certainly be consistent with the official Liberal Party policy that supports continued clearfell logging for woodchips in the Otways.

Otway's future in danger: Libs
Geelong Advertiser
11th June 2004

AN extended Otways National Park would remain in place under a future Liberal state Liberal government provided it was properly resources, Opposition spokesperson on the environment Phil Honeywood said yesterday.

Mr Honeywood said the State Government needed to come clean on what additional resources would be available for national parks.

He said if things like fire tracks were not maintained, there was a danger of bushfires such as occurred in Victorias north-east.

Liberal Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder yesterday echoed Mr Honeywood's warning there could be a disaster in the Otways.

"The great fear we have is they are cutting funding to parks across the state," Mr Mulder said.

"Most of the funding for the tracks in the Otways at the moment is funding by royalties form the timber industry.

"So where is that money going to come from once the revenue stream is finished up."

Mr Honeywood was asked about the extension to the Otways National Park at a meeting in Anglesea this week.

The question was raised by Surf coast Shire councillor Julie Hansen, who said yesterday Mr Honeywood has insisted on answering her question.

"I thought there was a bit of pressure from him not to answer the question I asked," Cr Hansen said.
"He took it on the chin and said 'I'm going to answer it."

Cr Hansen said the Opposition only supported the extension of the park provided the park was properly resourced.

Otway Ranges Environment Network spokesman Simon Birrell said yesterday that the state Opposition has been avoiding the question of logging in the Otways.

Former Liberal Party environment spokesman against National Park or for the Park?

Former Liberal Party environment spokesman Tony Plowman spoke out against the new Otway National Park during a visit to the Colac sawmills in March 2003.(see media below)

However when Mr Plowman was challenged 15 months later in parliament by environment minister John Thwaites, Mr Plowman would not openly condemn the idea of a new expanded Otway National Park as he did in front of Colac sawmillers over a year earlier. (see hansard transcipt below)

Colac sawmillers put their case to Liberal Party
Front Page
Colac Herald
14 March 2003

Colac and district sawmillers has the opportunity to put the case for logging to State Liberal Party environment spokesman Tony Plowman yesterday,.


"I think my initial reason for coming here was to understand the issues confronting the timber industry in south west Victoria, particularly with the closing of the Otways in the longer term," Mr Plowman said

"I'm trying to evaluate the environmental justification

"The Otways is one of the most sustainable timber areas in Victoria."

"As for the decision to close the Otways and make a national park - there is no justification for that to occur."


Victorian Parliament Hansard, 2 June 2004, Page 59. see full Hansard transcript

Mr THWAITES - The member for Benambra raised his concern in relation to clause 18(2)(b).

He particularly raised the issue of the Otways and once again he demonstrated that he opposes the decision to have an Otways National Park.

Mr Plowman - I did not say that. I think it was an extraordinary decision, but I certainly did not say that.

Mr THWAITES - The member for Benambra does not oppose it but he thinks it is an extraordinary decision. I would like to hear from the opposition a consistent view on the Otways. I would like to hear from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the spokesman on the environment, whether he supports the Otways National Park.


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