Otway Ranges Environment Network



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ALP announces commitment to end native forest logging in the Otways.

  1. OREN's comment
  2. From The Age
  3. Bracks Government's Press Release
  4. Joint Environment Groups' statement

OREN supports ALP policy to stop Otway logging
Disappointment at Liberal Otway policy failure.

Today the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) has commended the Bracks’ Government election commitment to stop logging in the Otways and create a large expanded Otway National Park.

“The Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) fully supports the ALP’s initiative to stop logging and to dramatically expand the Otway National Park. Premier Steve Bracks’ Otway policy commitment acknowledges the huge community opposition to woodchip driven logging of native forest.” Said Simon Birrell, spokesperson for the Otway Ranges Environment Network.

“We are very pleased with the ALP Otway announcement today. The Bracks’ government Otway policy acknowledges the huge community opposition to woodchip driven logging of native forest in the Otways.” said Simon Birrell today, spokesperson for the Otway Ranges Environment Network.

“For three years OREN has lobbied and worked with the State Government to develop this outcome. We have told them that ending logging in Otway native forest is plain common sense based on sound environment and economic understanding of the region. Clearfell logging impacts on the nature conservation, tourism and water values of the Otways.”

“We are very disappointed that the Liberal Party has failed, as yet, to come up with a policy similar to the ALP. Instead the Liberals have signalled that if they are elected, they will pass legislation that will guarantee woodchip driven logging in the Otways forever. The Liberal Party does not seem to be interested in the destructive impacts of clearfell logging in the Otways.”

“The Liberals would also seek to prohibit the public from gaining access to the Otway forest if elected. allow only

“We are very supportive of the ALP initiative to protect the Otway native forest by stopping logging and dramatically expanding the Otway National Park.”

Media release
From the Bracks Government

Wednesday, 6 November 2002


The Bracks Government will end the logging of native forests in the Otways within six years and immediately reduce timber harvesting and woodchipping in the area by more than a quarter, the Premier, Steve Bracks, announced today.

Releasing the Government’s Forests and National Parks Policy, Mr Bracks said the commitments would see the transition out of native forests and into plantations, as well as the creation of a continuous National Park between Anglesea and Cape Otway.

“We have listened to the community and we will now act on behalf of future generations to save the Otways,” Mr Bracks said. “If re-elected, we will make the Otways one of the world’s great National Parks.

“This Government already has a strong record on the environment, having created more National Parks than any other government in the history of Victoria. The Otways plan will build on achievements such as the creation of Marine National Parks, Box-Ironbark parks and increased flows to the Snowy River.

“All Otways sawlog licences will run out before 2008, and it will be our policy not to renew them. We are also hopeful the industry will work with the Government to stop native forest harvesting in the Otways long before then.”

Mr Bracks said the Government would allocate $14 million for the Otways plan, to enable the transition from logging in native forests to logging in plantations, as well as providing worker assistance for those who wish to leave the industry.

The Otway timber industry currently employs around 70 people. Most of these jobs are expected to transfer over to the plantation sector. Those who leave the industry altogether will be assisted to find jobs in tourism and other local industries.

Mr Bracks said a large amount of the funding would also be invested in infrastructure to support eco-tourism initiatives - such as the Trans-Otways walk, an Otways treetops walk and increased visitor capacity at Triplet Falls - to boost visitor numbers and create hundreds of flow-on jobs.

The Government will also provide an additional $1 million to the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC), primarily to undertake a public study to determine the makeup and boundaries of the new National Park.

Mr Bracks said the Government would spend $50 million on forests and National Parks in a second term, additional to the $80 million allocated earlier this year for timber industry reform.

Mr Bracks said the immediate 25 per cent reduction in the Otways had been made possible because of the voluntary surrendering of a major timber licence in the Otways, handed back as part of the Government’s timber industry reform program.

“Over the past three years, our Government has worked tirelessly to put the industry on a sustainable footing across the State. Now that process is in train, we can now begin immediately phasing out logging in the Otways,” Mr Bracks said.

He said the Government would assist the industry in moving to alternative sustainable areas, such as western Victoria’s maturing plantation resource.

Other elements of the Forests and National Parks policy include:

Cutting logging by at least 70 per cent in the Wombat Forest, and ending woodchipping in the area, by December 31 this year;
$16 million to employ 50 new park rangers throughout the State;
$10 million controlling weeds and pests on public land, including National Parks and State forests;
$9 million to boost Victoria’s plantation resources; and
Giving VEAC a reference to examine protecting the threatened River Red Gums along the Murray River.

The Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt, said western Victoria’s unique circumstances presented opportunities for industry transition that did not exist, and were unlikely to exist, anywhere else in the State.

These circumstances include the high economic potential of the tourism industry around the Great Ocean Road, the large area of plantation timber in the region that will mature in the next 10 years and dramatic and unforeseen reductions in timber yields.

“A second-term Labor Government will work with industry to ensure that all employees of mills which decide to leave will be assisted in finding new jobs, and all communities will be supported,” Ms Garbutt said.

Ms Garbutt said the development of the transition process and plantation resource would be undertaken in partnership with industry and would utilise the respected Industry Transition Taskforce.

“Whether the mills stay or go, no one will be left behind. This Government has already secured more than 600 new jobs in Victorian timber towns, and facilitated $55 million in new investment, following moves to make the industry more sustainable.”


Bracks pledges to end logging in Otways

November 6 2002

Logging of native forests in the Otways would end within six years and logging and woodchipping in the Wombat Forest would be further reduced under the Victorian Labor Party's forests policy.

Releasing the policy in the Otways today, Premier Steve Bracks said a re-elected Labor government would phase out native forest logging there in favour of plantations and create a continuous national park between Anglesea and Cape Otway in the state's south west.

"We have listened to the community and we will now act on behalf of future generations to save the Otways," Mr Bracks said.

"If re-elected we will make the Otways one of the world's great national parks.

"All Otways sawlog licences will run out before 2008 and it will be our policy not to renew them."

Mr Bracks said the government would allocate $14 million to enable the transition to plantations and to help those who wished to leave the industry, which employs around 70 people in the Otways.

Both the Wombat Forest and the Otways are key conservation battlegrounds.

Mr Bracks said logging and woodchipping in the Wombat Forest was due to drop by at least 70 per cent by the end of the year under the government's timber licence buyback plan.

Under the forests policy, the government would immediately begin negotiations to end woodchipping completely and reduce logging by a further 10 per cent by Dec 31.

The $50 million Forests and National Parks policy also includes:
$16 million to employ 50 new park rangers throughout the state
$10 million to control weeds and pests on public land
$9 million to boost plantation resources; and
funds for the state's environment advisory council to examine protecting threatened River Red Gums along the Murray River.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/11/06/1036308356280.html



The Forests And National Parks policy released by Premier Bracks today is a major improvement in the Bracks Government s environmental credentials, according to national and state conservation groups.)

Wilderness Society Campaigns Manager Gavan McFadzean said, "The announcement is an important step for Labor which protects the Otways, ends woodchipping in the Wombat Forest and prohibits the burning of native forest for electricity and charcoal.

"Protecting Victoria s old-growth forests remains an urgent priority and needs to be addressed by all Parties. Old-growth forest provides key critical habitat for Victoria s endangered flora and fauna, protects pristine water catchment and provides a future for nature-based tourism in the State.

"A critical aspect of the Bracks announcement is ruling out burning of native forests for the production of electricity and charcoal production. The announcement ensures that these destructive industries will not set foot in our native forests.

"All parties should also commit to protecting Melbourne s water catchments. Despite our worst ever drought, logging continues in water supply catchments, depriving Melbourne of much needed water," said Mr McFadzean.

"The protection of the Otway Forests is an outstanding announcement by the Premier, and a significant win for the Geelong and regional community," said Environment Victoria Executive Director, Marcus Godinho.

"With the protection of the Otways, the region s tourism industry is set for growth, and water supply catchments afforded protection. Western Victoria s timber industry also has a secure future, based on development and further value adding of the region s plantation resource," said Mr Godinho.

"This is a significant announcement for the protection of the Otways, prohibiting the burning of native forests for electricity and charcoal, and boosting national park management. It s very important that all parties address the issues of protecting all old growth forests, water and rivers, and greenhouse," said Australian Conservation Foundation Executive Director, Don Henry.



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