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Pages tagged "media release"

VFA joins legal, climate and environment voices against Andrews' draconian anti-protest laws

The Victorian Forest Alliance has joined a number of legal, human rights, climate, and environment groups to call on the Andrews government to withdraw disturbing changes to laws which could see community members peacefully protesting logging face fines of up to $21,000 or 12 months imprisonment.

The joint letter to the Premier and Minister for Agriculture Mary-anne Thomas, and Work Safety Minister Ingrid Stitt states;

Victorians have a long and proud history of peaceful protest. The freedom to protest sits at the heart of our democracy. It allows those without financial means or access to politicians and platforms to be able to be heard and effect change. In the context of a climate crisis, continued destruction of First Nations Country, and collapsing ecosystems, we need to protect this right more than ever.

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State-owned logging company quietly refers itself to anti-corruption watchdog

Government-owned logging agency VicForests has quietly referred itself to the IBAC after it was revealed by the ABC that the company had used tax-payer funds to spy on community members speaking out against logging.

VicForests sought an external investigation into the allegations, but hasn't released the final report. This follows on from two  other referrals to IBAC late last year. After reports of widespread illegal logging on steep slopes, Greens MP Ellen Sandell made a complaint about VicForests, and VFA member Warburton Environment put forward a complaint against the Environment Department's logging regulator for allegedly failing to rein in illegal logging.

VicForests has been the subject to a string of illegal logging allegations. Finally they've been forced to refer themselves to IBAC. Read the ABC coverage here

Proposed legal change gives Minister ‘god-like power’ over logging operations

Sweeping changes to logging laws proposed by the Victorian government would hand the Environment Minister or head of the department ‘god-like power’ over the fate of forests, remove transparency and cut off pathways for the community to hold government and industry to account. 

Amendments to the Conservation, Forests and Lands Amendment Act tabled in Parliament on February 22, would give the Environment Minister power, effectively unchecked, to determine the lawfulness of logging operations. 

The powers are intended to enable the government to unilaterally set how key important environmental protection rules will be applied in many - if not most - logging operations. 

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