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November 2022 State Election

VFA election policy platform

Native forests store huge amounts of carbon, provide us with safe, clean drinking water, and maintain healthy habitats for wildlife and threatened species. Despite strong public support for an immediate end to native forest logging, every year thousands of hectares are logged, with over 85% ending up wood-chipped to make cheap cardboard and packaging products that end up in landfill. Download our official election policy platform here.

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In the lead up to the state election we ask the Victoria government to: 

  • Take strong action on climate change by protecting native forests 
  • Immediately end native forest logging in Victoria 
  • Provide more funding for nature protection, forest restoration and green jobs 
  • Return custodianship of forests to Traditional Owners 
  • Protect forests to safeguard communities from future bushfire risks 
  • Act urgently to protect biodiversity and reverse the extinction crisis 

Protect native forests to fight climate change 

Victoria’s forests are some of the best ecosystems in the world for carbon capture and storage, so action on climate is inherently linked to the protection of native forests. Protecting forests mitigates the worst effects of climate change. 

The mountain ash forests of the Central Highlands contain the highest density of carbon in the world – storing about 1,867 tonnes of carbon per hectare

Logging is responsible for about 15-20% of Australia’s total carbon emissions. When forests are cut down and used for cheap short-lived products, safely stored tree carbon becomes carbon dioxide pollution, warming the planet. 

A major study by the Australian National University in 2008 demonstrated that protecting the eucalypt forests in south-east Australia is equivalent to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions released in 2005 by 24% (the entire transport sector in that same year was responsible for 14% of total emissions)

Any logging of native forests is criminal in a climate emergency. Protecting forests is critical for protecting people, the planet, and a liveable climate. 

End logging now, not by 2030 

Premier Daniel Andrews’s announcement in 2019 that native forest logging would end by 2030 was woefully inadequate from the start. Alpine and Mountain Ash forests are critically endangered. Many threatened plants and animals were heading towards extinction from logging. Then the tragic Black Summer bushfires swept across Victoria’s forests which made things far worse. Yet VicForests, the state-owned logging company, continued to clearfell critical unburnt refuges and recovering forests, with Dan Andrews approval. 

A 2016 study found more than two thirds of people surveyed in regional Australia disapprove of native forest logging. Polling conducted in 2018 in the lead up to the 2019 state election showed overwhelming support for an end to logging and protection of forests. 

Another 8 years of unconstrained logging of the most valuable areas and critical habitat is unacceptable. The transition out of native forests must happen now. The Victorian Forest Alliance is calling for an immediate end to native forest logging. 

The horrific impacts of climate change include more mega-fires like those of Black Summer in 2019/2020. We can't afford to add further fuel to the flames by continuing to log. We need urgent action to protect those forests that suppress severe bushfires. 

Protecting forests = protecting culture. We fully support the recommendations made by Taungurung, Gunnai, and Wurrundjeri Elders in their statement on forests 

In November 2019, a statement from Elders and Traditional Owners of Gunnai, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Countries was sent to Premier Daniel Andrews calling for an end to logging on Country and protection of forests. 

The letter states: 

Our Traditional Country, Totems, Stories and Cultural Values have been handed over to VicForests for logging without Our consent nor a process for recognising our birthright, custodial legacy, totems, song lines and sovereignty. We never gave permission to VicForests to destroy our precious forests and the cultural heritage contained within them, which we feel all Victorians benefit from. 

We fully support the demands outlined in the statement calling on VicForests to cease logging immediately, and for custodianship to be returned to First Nations Peoples 

Reduce fire risk and let the experts design the policy 

The links between logging and increased risk of severe bushfires are well researched and understood. Logging of native forests increases the risk and severity of fire and likely had a profound effect on the recent, catastrophic bushfires, according to new research from The Australian National University. Co-author Professor David Lindenmayer said weather had a large effect on the fires and "However, forests also burned at very high severity when they were between 10 to 40 years old.”

Forests must be protected to safeguard us from future bushfires - fuelled by climate change and logging

Native forest logging is putting communities at risk by increasing the severity and frequency of bushfires. Fire management must be guided by evidence, credible research, and proven outcomes. 

Protecting forests will help tackle the extinction crisis faced by numerous threatened plants and animals and safeguard biodiversity 

Numerous reports and studies show logging is having a devastating impact on wildlife and their habitat. Many threatened forest dependent species are still subjected to logging. 

Environment laws are outdated, poorly enforced, and aren’t fit for purpose. Victoria’s faunal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, relies on the Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands, yet these forests are still being targeted for logging. 

Native forest logging is pushing wildlife seriously threatened with extinction to the brink of collapse. We need an immediate end to native forest logging to protect their forest homes and habitat. 

Funding for nature and green jobs 

If we protect native forests, we allow green jobs to flourish. Restoration and land management provides jobs through local government, Parks Victoria, Catchment Management Authorities, Aboriginal Corporations, and countless small businesses. A high percentage of women and young people in conservation work means that growing these industries also promotes employment opportunities for all. Regional communities also rely on native forest tourism, which supports jobs in many other areas such as food services and accommodation - both growth industries. Agriculture relies on reliable water supplies, rich biodiversity for pest control and pollination. When we restore and protect forests, we are providing a huge investment in regional communities.

Nature-based outdoor activities add $6.2 billion per year to Victoria’s economy, supporting 71,000 jobs, or 2% of Victoria’s total workforce. 

The gross value of outdoor activities in: 

  • Gippsland is $900 million and 11,200 FTE jobs. 
  • High Country is $1,100 million and 13,200 FTE jobs. 
  • Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is $100 million and 1,100 FTE jobs. 

We need increased state funding for meaningful green jobs valued at union conditions which work with nature, not against it.

 

Authorised by Nic Fox, 247/251 Flinders Lane Melbourne VIC