Blog posts | Samantha Dunn

The GFNP: creating jobs & empowering regional community

Establishing the Great Forest National (GFNP) should be a no-brainer. Whether you’re an environmentalist who sits up at night thinking about an entire ecosystem and many threatened species on the brink of extinction, or a parent concerned about whether your kid will find job opportunities in struggling regional communities near these forests, the solution is the same. We need the GFNP now.

Not sure what the GFNP is? Check out this video or have a read of my speech here


I am proud to stand with the Councillors of Banyule and their fine citizens to call for an end to native forest logging. We all need to be able to buy Victorian paper we can be proud of.

Currently, precious publicly-owned Central Highlands forest is being logged largely to make Reflex paper. In 2012, 87.6 percent of native forest logging in Victoria went towards paper production and woodchips. This has brought the Leadbeater’s Possum to the brink of extinction and threatens our clean air, water and carbon stores in these beautiful forests.

Anything But Common

With Melbourne’s population projected to reach 7 million by 2030, the need for sustainable high-density developments to curb urban sprawl is only increasing. Lighting the way is Breathe Architecture, which transformed a dilapidated Brunswick site into award-winning eco-apartments The Commons. The concept’s focus on sustainability and its treatment of private and communal space provide an inspiring alternative model for apartment development.

Another Year, Another Looming Drought

The combination of global warming and El Nino events has contributed to 2015 being the hottest year ever on record. We are seeing the return of drought conditions and we need to start talking about the implications for Victorians beyond simply turning up the air conditioner. It was this time last year that we looked back over 2014 and reflected on the wider significance of the year’s record breaking temperatures in the state of Victoria.

Recognising Objectors

While the Greens didn’t oppose the 2015 amendment to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (also known as the Objectors Bill), the green light recently signalled by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a Balwyn development despite significant community opposition demonstrates, as we suspected, that the bill leaves a lot to be desired. 

Extending Horizons

It’s common for a family to outgrow their house. Though buying elsewhere is one solution, many choose to avoid uprooting by simply extending their own residence. In building these additions, sustainable features are often neglected in order to reduce cost. Simone Schenkel of Gruen Eco Design, who specialises in affordable sustainable houses, knows this doesn’t have to be the case. For a budget of only $300,000, her project the ‘Box Hill South Residence’ achieved an energy efficiency rating of 8.1 stars and was a finalist in the 2015 Sustainability Awards.