The Forests and National Parks policy released by the Premier, Steve 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 – it 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
“A critical aspect of the Bracks’ government’s 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 worstever drought, logging continues in water supply catchments, depriving Melbourne of much needed water,” said Mr McFadzean.
“The protection of the Otways 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.