Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021


Victoria: Forestry

1:52 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Let me take you on a journey to a tall, wet forest in far-eastern Victoria. Rain is falling, filtered through massive trees towering above us. Birdsong echoes around us. There's clear water in a creek nearby, and—look!   —there are some small fish and freshwater crayfish holes along its banks. We're standing amongst massive tree ferns, with moss hanging from tree trunks, a thicket of shrubs hiding us away as we sit down, breathe deeply, feel at peace. Last night and tonight, gliding possums appeared, the fluffy greater gliders known as the 'clumsy possums' for their size and habits, and yellow-bellied gliders, sometimes called 'flying shovels', who are known for their piercing cries. There are far fewer of these threatened animals alive today than there were a decade ago, especially after the Black Summer fires and especially after the ongoing logging of their homes. These animals die when their homes are logged—that's the brutal truth.

This is old forest, sacred country of First Nations peoples, yet VicForests, the state government logging agency, didn't even survey this forest for the presence of these animals before beginning to clear-fell it. So it's great news that community groups Environment East Gippsland and Kinglake Friends of the Forests won an injunction against the logging this week. It has stopped for now, and I salute these brave campaigners and the forest protesters who are putting their bodies on the line to protect these special places.

We do not need to be logging our precious forests. Almost 90 per cent of the wood produced in Australia comes from plantations. We can easily shift away from native-forest logging into plantations and farm forestry. It is a political choice to do so. We must end all native-forest logging in Australia now.