Ending native forest logging in Victoria

Our plan to end logging, protect forests and secure a new future for logging workers

First Nations people have cared for forest Country for thousands of years, have never ceded sovereignty over forest Country, and understand that forests are essential to health and wellbeing.

Yet in 2022, as the world faces dual climate and biodiversity crises, the Victorian Labor Government continues to decimate native forests with logging, while criminalising citizens protesting to protect vital forest habitat. 

Each year, millions of dollars in taxpayer money is spent on logging our irreplaceable native forests, while the state-run logging company VicForests is plagued by scandals and corruption. 

The Greens have a detailed and fully costed plan to end native forest logging, move workers into new jobs, and meet our timber needs with plantations and other timber alternatives.

The Greens’ plan to end native forest logging in victoria includes:

  • Reversing Labor’s anti-democratic laws that criminalise peaceful forest protesters, and repealing the archaic laws that lock Victoria into supplying forests to private companies until 2030

  • Legislating an end to logging in 2023, and protecting native forests for the vital habitat they provide to threatened wildlife and for the carbon they store that protects us from climate change

  • Establishing a Victorian disaster response team employing former logging contractors to deploy their skills and experience to respond to fire, storm, flood and other emergencies

  • Processing plantation timber in Victoria and setting up Victoria as a national leader in alternative timber products

  • Showcasing alternative forest-based economic opportunities, such as an elevated forest walk tourism venture in Victoria’s central highlands, working with First Nations people.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT OUR PLAN

1. Laws to protect forests not log them

Just months before the November election, Labor steamrolled new laws through Victoria’s Parliament that will punish peaceful forest protestors with up to $21,000 in fines or one year in jail. These laws are a dangerous attack on our democracy and the fundamental right to peaceful protest. The Greens will reverse these laws.

The Greens will also repeal the current outdated laws, known as the Woodpulp Agreement Act, which locks the Victorian Government into supplying vast volumes of our precious native forests to the Maryvale pulp mill to be turned into paper and cardboard. Our plan ensures that Victoria can continue to make paper and timber products using locally grown plantations and timber alternatives. 

The Greens will also ensure Victorian law continues to prohibit the burning of native forests for energy.

2. Protect native forests for carbon, water and habitat

Victoria’s forests are the most carbon-dense in the world and are our most precious natural asset in the fight to tackle climate change. We urgently need to protect what little forest is left, while actively restoring previously logged forests. 
Ending native forest logging will also ensure the security of Melbourne’s drinking water, help protect Aboriginal cultural heritage, and safeguard habitat for more than 70 forest-living plant and animal species on the brink of extinction. 
Traditional Owners must be at the heart of plans to protect forests. Treaty and self-determination are essential to care for forest Country and heal from the harms of the past. 

3. Create a Victorian disaster response team employing former logging contractors

Climate change means Victoria is facing an increase in disasters like fires, storms and floods. Over recent years, our SES volunteers have been struggling to keep up with the huge increase in demand for emergency services, and unfortunately we can anticipate that climate change will make disasters more frequent and severe.
Logging workers and contractors are skilled with heavy machinery and working in regional areas, and they already use these skills to do fire prevention and response work around our forests, making them an ideal group of workers to form a professional emergency response team that can be deployed when and where they are most needed. The Greens will also bring forward Labor’s transition plan to move workers into new jobs, but with an end date for native forest logging of 2023, not 2030.

4. Process plantation timber in Victoria

Victoria grows plantation timber in the west of the state, but instead of turning these into timber and paper here in Victoria, these trees are exported overseas. The Greens' plan would make sure locally-grown plantations are used right here in Victoria to make paper and high-value wood products.  

Our plan also includes growing our state’s alternative timber industries including hemp to produce high-grade hemp timber alternatives, urban sawmilling to use city trees that are cut down, and massively increasing local cardboard and paper recycling and production.

5. Showcase alternative economic opportunities for forests

The Greens’ plan includes working with First Nations people to protect forests across the state, including in the central highlands region on Melbourne’s doorstep. First Nations people will play the central role in self-determining how land is protected and cared for (for example, as a national park, Indigenous protected area or otherwise), and in designing the economic ventures to showcase the region's unique beauty and wildlife while creating new jobs. Our policy includes a proposal for an elevated forest walk, like the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk in Western Australia. Any proposal such as this would need to be consented to and developed in partnership with Traditional Owners.

PAYING FOR OUR PLAN

Native forest logging in Victoria is subsidised each year with Victorian taxpayer funds. The Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that ending native forest logging in 2023 will save Victoria $205 million over the next decade. The Greens will reinvest these savings to protect forests, restore nature and support worker transition. 

The Greens’ plan includes:

  • $21 million to establish a disaster response team employing former logging workers.
  • Forest-based job creation. Our plan includes a costed elevated forest walk as one possibility; however, Traditional Owners will be engaged to determine their preferences and priorities. 
  • Bringing forward Labor’s $120 million timber worker transition package to support the local use of Victoria’s plantation timber and the development of a local hemp-timber industry.
  • Creating and managing new protected areas across Victoria’s remaining forests as part of the Greens’ $1 billion per year Zero Extinction Nature Fund. 
     

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