Future of our forests

With the treaty advancement process underway in Victoria, how can the Andrews Government continue to destroy and sell our Central Highlands forests without the free, prior and informed consent of the land’s sovereign first people?

2018-09-18

Lidia Thorpe - Question in Parliament: The Greens’ question today, in this final sitting week of Parliament, is for the Premier. Over the weekend I met with leaders of the Taungurung, Wurundjeri and Gunnai/Kurnai Nations to discuss the future of our forests. At the meeting it became clear that none of the Nations whose traditional lands cover the Central Highlands region have ever given permission for the Victorian government to log and sell our forests or to wipe out the Taungurung totem, the Wollert — the Leadbeater’s possum. These forests are our birthright and our legacy. We are the custodians of that land as the sovereign first peoples. Premier, with the treaty advancement process underway in Victoria, how can you continue to destroy and sell our Central Highlands forests without the free, prior and informed consent of the land’s sovereign first people?

Point of order:  On a point of order, Speaker, the question was about free, informed, prior consent from the traditional owners where there is logging. I bring you back to answer the question on what permission has been granted to the Victorian government from the sovereign people of that country. 

Supplementary question: Premier, it was an election promise, your pledge to work towards a consensus approach in the establishment of any new national parks via an industry task force. I note that traditional owners were not asked to sit on this task force; maybe that is why it failed. Meanwhile our trees are getting trashed and the fate of up to 79 forest-dependent species remains under threat. Here we are at the end of the 58th Parliament and you have the worst record on national park creation of any government for decades. Premier, according to the actions of your government, do you accept that your legacy will be as the Premier who oversaw the extinction of Leadbeater’s possum, or the extinction Premier?