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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

Forests in Swifts Creek failing to regenerate after logging - source; After the Logging report

Community groups have made numerous complaints about VicForests’ breaches of environment laws, from widespread illegal logging on steep slopes, burning protected Leadbeater's Possum buffer zones, knocking over threatened flora species like the Tree Geebung, and catastrophic failure to regenerate forests after logging - a requirement by law.

Despite mounting legal cases and referral to anti-corruption watchdog IBAC, VicForests have never been charged or held accountable by the section of the Environment Department who are supposed to regulate logging (the Office of the Conservation Regulator)

VicForests post-logging burn escapes into a protection area for critically endangered Leadbeater's Possum

Source; Wildlife of the Central Highlands

Statement from Chris Schuringa, VFA Campaign Coordinator

"VicForests need to come clean about what came out of the investigation into alleged corruption. This is a public, government-owned agency. The fact that they are hiding the results of the report speaks volumes."

"The government can't keep covering for their logging agency. The reports are piling up -  corruption, illegal logging, spying on community members. When does it become enough for Premier Andrews to act? It's well past time that this dodgy agency is shut down, and logging ends for good."

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