What an incredible 12 months it’s been for the Victorian Forest Alliance. It’s been such a pleasure to work together, and finally achieve the incredible result we got in May, with the state government announcing most native forest logging will end by January 1, 2024. We're so grateful to all our members and supporters who have worked so hard for this outcome for many years, particularly to those who took on court cases, the legal teams, and citizen scientists who led the charge.
There’s still so much work to be done, and we know we can keep winning these fights – to see ALL forests protected. So, let’s look back at everything we achieved!
We started the year off with a joint letter to the new Environment Minister, calling for protection of forests – getting hundreds of people to also take action. We surveyed the Alpine regions, finding plenty of threatened flora. Then in February we got the news Australian Paper was closing their white paper line – the first signs of the industry closing in the lead up to the government’s announcement!
We rallied with you on the steps of Parliament for the first sitting day, got an awesome media story up in the Age about the millions of dollars being funneled into the logging industry, and ran a number of online events, including another webinar with Dr Jen Sanger to break down the findings of the Victorian Carbon report, and a webinar to break down the announcement to end native forest logging.
We worked with Wombat Action Group, and Wombat ForestCare in the Wombat State Forest to run community spotlighting events and spent more time in the incredible Alpine forests surveying. A number of our members organised a massive surveying effort to oppose the dangerous new anti-protest laws introduced by the state government, with 189 people taking part!
Our member group Save Our Strathbogie Forests launched a legal case to halt planned burns in the Strathbogies. Plus, VicForests appeal of the glider case failed, upholding the protections for gliders threatened by logging – another moment to celebrate the fantastic work of Kinglake Friends of the Forest, Gippsland Environment Group, and Environment East Gippsland.
Our citizen science team uncovered illegal logging of Tree Geebung – and we got the story up in Yahoo news. We also launched an ACCC complaint, with Environmental Justice Australia, against VicForests over greenwashing on their website, to keep the pressure on. Then our member group Wombat Forestcare also took action to stop logging in the Wombat State Forest in the proposed National Park.
We’ve surveyed so many areas of forest through our citizen science program. We've amplified the work and voices of our members through our social media and with supporters – growing our members, our reach, and impact even more. We’ve written joint letters, submissions, media releases, and have facilitated some fantastic events over the year – including a fabulous screening of ‘The Giants’ in an urban sustainable mill in the CBD, and a spectacular art auction which raised over $30,000 for the VFA!
Plus, we won Environment Victoria's impact award just a few weeks ago, on behalf of all the our fabulous members and lawyers who have worked tirelessly this year on court cases. What an incredible journey we've been on - and a big thank you to our committee, staff (especially our fabulous citizen science team), members, and all of you.
We're blown away by everything we’ve done this year. We'll be gearing up again for another year fighting for the protection of forests and wildlife, and supporting our fabulous members who continue to do so much. Have a safe and happy holiday, x-mas, and New Years. See you in 2024!