A plan for a new national park to protect the endangered Leadbeater’s possum has been dealt a blow with revelations VicForests locked in millions of dollars worth of new logging contracts. (The Age, Nov 15th)
Rather than Democracy, Corporatocracy – or the power of corporations- determines the fate of our own Victorian fauna Emblem.
The decision to set up a taskforce to strike a “consensus” followed pressure during the campaign from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and and Energy Union, which had threatened to campaign against Labor on concerns that ending logging in the area would threaten Gippsland jobs. Threats against “jobs” is more important than small and seemingly insignificant fairy possums!
The same State government can’t endorse a new national park, and also be the owner of VicForests. It’s a contraction of terms, and a conflict of interests. What this national park needs to protect is the ancient old-growth forest of Mountain Ash, and threatened native species, not the “logging industry and jobs”! Economic growth and jobs will eventually eat up all our natural resources!
What needs protecting can’t have the same owners that threaten to destroy it, for short-term monetary gain. Our State’s fauna emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum, needs protection from the same State government that is threatening the park’s implementation.
The Victorian state government revealed long-awaited terms of reference for an industry taskforce, established to navigate the explosive battles between loggers and environmentalists over the state’s native forests. The taskforce will investigate issues including protection of threatened species such as the Leadbeater’s possum, job protection and economic activity.
Conservations and scientists — including David Attenborough — have long argued that the park is needed to protect the possum, which is believed to be perilously close to extinction. Clearly, “conservation” of logging jobs has priority over the conservation of our native animals, even threatened ones. They prefer the possums go extinct rather than have logging jobs threatened. The mighty dollar has enormous power to wield over these decision, and the Great Forest National Park would be a threat to incomes!
(image: Corduroy road built from native forest in the highly contested Gun Barrel logging coupe (297-526-0001), in Sylvia Creek Forest, north-east of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. This photo was taken on 13 September 2011, at which point logging had been banned here after the Victorian Supreme Court extended an injunction blocking the state-owned timber company, VicForests, from logging until at least February 2012, when the trial begins with MyEnvironment, a local environment organisation. The area is an important habitat for the endangered Leadbeater's possum, whose population was decimated by the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.)
Lobby groups with vested interest in jobs, and logging, need to be given the chop! The CFMEU want access to the forests for the benefit of their members.
This “blow” to the forest plan needs to be dealt with internally, from the State government. The government’s position on logging in native forests is ambiguous, despite promising a special taskforce to examine the issue and help secure the long-term survival of Victoria’s iconic Leadbeater’s possum.