The Greens have condemned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Daniel Andrews signing off on two year extensions of three of the state's Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for the East Gippsland, Central Highlands and North East Regions.
RFAs give loggers guaranteed supplies of timber from our forests and exempts them from federal environmental laws. This extension preserves the status quo and does nothing to protect forests from destructive logging.
Quotes attributable to Samantha Dunn MLC:
"This is an archaic system that should have been wound up as soon as possible - not extended for yet another two years," Victorian Greens spokesperson for Forests, Samantha Dunn said.
"This shows how much the Andrews Government cares about Victoria's native forests. These are extremely vulnerable environments, some ecosystems critically endangered, they must be protected now so they're still here for future generations. Loggers can do more untold damage in two years.
“We’re glad to hear 2,500 hectares of forest will be protected, but what about the rest of Victoria’s high conservation forests that are home to threatened species such as the Leadbeater's possum and greater glider?
"The two year extension brings these RFAs into line with two others in Victoria due to expire in 2020. The worst thing the state and Federal governments could do for our native forests is to extend them as a package when the time comes.
"The Andrews Government must now commit to winding up all of Victoria's RFAs in two years time and establishing the Great Forest National Park and Emerald Link."
“It’s clear that the Victorian Labor government wants to delay making a long-term decision until after the state election.”
Quotes attributable to Senator Rice:
“The decision by the Prime Minister and Victorian Labor Premier to continue destructive logging and extend these three Victorian logging agreements out to 2020 is extremely disappointing.”
“So many communities who care about their forests, including the people of Mirboo North, Noojee, Rubicon and the Strathbogies will be devastated as the destruction of our precious forests continues.”
“The Regional Forest Agreements were set up last century and they haven’t worked. They are destroying our native forest landscapes, sending native animal species to extinction and they’re failing to provide a secure future for regional communities.”
“The sad thing is there’s a better way. Currently, 87% of Victoria’s timber comes from plantations. If we ended native forest logging and shifted to 100% plantation-sourced wood products, we’d not only protect what’s left of our precious forests, but regional communities and workers would have a long-term future.”
“In agreeing to an extension to these Victorian logging agreements, Malcolm Turnbull has signed off on more destruction of animal habitat, carbon storage, water catchments and tourist hot-spots.”