The Victorian Greens have welcomed reports today that the Victorian Labor Government intends to bring forward the state’s transition out of native forest logging, and say they already have a Bill before Parliament to get it done.
This follows years of relentless pressures and campaigning by the Greens, environmental advocates and local communities, as well as court cases.
Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said the writing had been on the wall for native forest logging in Victoria for some time now and Labor had been dragged kicking and screaming towards the realisation that native forest logging is completely unsustainable – and that the Greens were ready to work constructively with the Government to end logging and support workers.
In February, the Greens introduced a bill to Parliament that would legislate an end to native forest logging in June this year, and on Saturday Greens MPs joined community members in the Wombat State Forest to defy new anti-protest laws.
The Greens’ Sustainable Forests (Timber) Amendment (End Native Forest Logging) Bill 2023 would legislate to end logging for good from June this year, and bring forward the transition payments for workers and communities to ensure no-one is left behind.
With our ecosystems under pressure like never before, the end to native forest logging is an important step but after decades of destruction a lot will be needed to restore our damaged environment.
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“For too long Labor has given millions of taxpayer dollars to the logging industry to destroy our precious native forests.
“After years of campaigning and court cases by environment groups, the Greens and local community members, Labor has finally come to the realisation that logging is unsustainable.
“This is a win for all the environment groups, local community members and Greens who have fought to protect our native forests from logging and against a Labor Government who have been dragged kicking and screaming to this position.
“The Greens are ready to work with the Government to get this done as a matter of urgency, and we want to ensure that there are no loopholes that allow VicForests to still destroy forests under the guise of ‘storm cleanup’.”
Quotes attributable to Australian Greens spokesperson for forests, Senator Janet Rice:
“If the Albanese Government is serious about fighting climate change and protecting our environment, it must now follow the lead of Victoria, and other state governments, and stop all native forest logging.
“The Regional Forest Agreements have allowed reckless destruction of native forests for decades across Australia, pushed native wildlife to the brink of extinction, endangered our water supplies, heightened bushfire risk, and made the climate crisis worse.
“Native forest logging is a dying industry and there’s no way around it.
“I have a bill before the Senate now that, if legislated, would immediately halt all native forest logging across the country. The Greens are ready to work with the Albanese Government to ensure a just transition for forestry workers and protect what remains of our precious native forests.”