Sunday, October 12, 2008

Will Labor stop logging Melbourne's water catchments?

I understand the Victorian Labor (ALP) State Conference this weekend considered the following motion:


Climate change is already well under way and consequently Victoria’s water supply is very seriously endangered in both rural and urban regions.

Despite this, logging continues unabated in what remains of our mountain ash forests and in the areas supposedly set aside as water catchment.

This is permitted to occur because of contracts with logging companies that have export commitments for wood chips that are sold to millers at ridiculously low prices (in the order of $8.50 per ton) i.e. the State is subsidizing the millers at the expense of our water supply.

Given that Victoria now has plantation timber available to fulfil all our requirements for construction and for paper, it is clear that continuing to destroy the source of our water supply is an unsustainable practice.

Conference therefore resolves that it request the State Government to:

1. Immediately ban logging in all water catchment areas
2. Review forest management practice overall with the intent of transferring all logging activity to plantation timber.

Proposed by Upper Yarra branch October 2008

As I have mentioned in previous postings, it is past time that logging in Melbourne's water catchments must stop, because every drop counts.

I wait with interest and hope that the Brumby Labor government here in Victoria displays some real leadership on protecting our water supplies and our forests.


Still waiting for some "official information" on the outcome.

However, on the grapevine, I have heard that:
  • Labor factional heavyweights combined forces minutes before the motion went up and departed en masse, despite the fact Jennings was going to speak on the motion, so they were short on quorum. They did this to avoid voting on the motion - so much for "democracy" inside the ALP.
  • Joe Helper has apparently instigated some sort of investigation (a witch hunt?) into why the Upper Yarra ALP branch put this motion up. Seems like an attempt to silence any discussion on this very important issue.
  • Rob Mitchell is apparently undertaking the "investigation" even though he was so 'proudly green' in the last federal election, embracing of climate change and the necessary directives.
Looks like more "dirty deeds done dirt cheap".

By coincidence I was speaking with the Yarra Ranges Shire Mayor Tim Heenan today. He said that local sawmillers are getting virtually none of the timber from the logged catchments - it is all being sent for woodchips to the Paperlynx mill in Gippsland, and that there is a total of only 92 jobs associated with this catchment logging in the shire. So there is no longer local support for this logging in Warbuton.

In addition, this summer the Department of Sustainability and Environment plans to allow more logging in the picturesque Cement Creek catchment above Warbuton, which also contains the rainforest aerial walkway among ancient Myrtle Beech and old growth Mountain Ash forest.

Shame Brumby, shame. Every drop of water counts, with Melbourne's reservoirs now 70% empty near the start of Summer.

Perhaps DSE should be renamed to the Department of Clearfelling, Logging and Water Loss?


Anonymous said...

If you don't mind me saying, I think you're focusing too much on the water catchment issues. I 100% agree with you of course, but I don't think you should put all your eggs in one basket so to speak.

Also, the Greens' plan has arrived. My critique is as follows:

Peter Campbell said...

Yes Reuben, I do have a great concern about catchment management, especially after the politicised and corrupted "consultation" I was recently involved in with DSE.

I really wonder what it will take for Labor to see sense on this "prevention rather than cure" issue.

I am interested in the Greens transport plan and will comment on this soon - and check out your analysis.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...interesting. I might do a blog post on that corruption.

The Greens plan is only interim, and is not a full analysis yet.

Peter Campbell said...

Reuben, Labor's policy position on this is so dodgy they did not even allow a vote on it - I have add more details to the post.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Cool...

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