What a fantastic turn out yesterday at the rally on Parliament steps in Naarm for the first sitting day. Community groups from across Victoria and supporters came together to rally for a rapid transition from native forest logging and the protection of forests! Plus we had over 60 people attend our webinar on Monday night to hear about upcoming events and ways to take action for forests. A big thank you to Isaac Carne from Goongerah Environment Centre, Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland, and Gayle Osborne from Wombat Forestcare for speaking.
The message is clear; the overwhelming majority of Victorians want to see forests protected, for biodiversity, climate, safety from bushfires, and First Nations culture.
We heard from some fantastic speakers including Sue McKinnon from Kinglake Friends of the Forest Inc who spoke about the threat of logging to wildlife, their recent court case win, and why native forests are so important for tackling climate change. Robert Pergyl from Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group spoke passionately about the threat of commercial logging in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, highlighting the importance of caring for forests after storm damage events, and the inappropriate and extremely damaging impacts of allowing logging in the park, under the misleading guise of storm damage recovery.
This is a similar issue being faced by the local community in Wombat forest in the proposed National Park, highlighted by Ange from Wombat Action Group. Steve Meacher from Friends of Leadbeater's Possum Inc. spoke about the urgency we face, and the whopping amount of public funds being used to prop up lawless logging in Victoria, and the importance of getting out into the forest and experiencing the magic.
Lastly, Alana Mountain from Friends of the Earth Melbourne who organised the rally, highlighted the importance of coming together, the strength and resilience within the forest community, and how when we fight together, we can win. It was a great day, full of positive energy and hope for the future of forests.
A huge thank you to everyone who showed up, and to the Climate Choir and XR Sybills. We want to thank every community group, particularly those who made the journey from regional Victoria, and the MPs who came out to show their support. Now, we just need the Daniel Andrews government to act.
We achieved so much collectively last year. Let's make 2023 another epic year to finally see the permanent protection of incredible native forests.
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we gathered. We pay our deepest respects to Elders past and present.