Ending Native Forest Logging in the Otways:
Chronology of Key Events 1995 - 2008
by Trevor Poulton
Ending Native Forest Logging in the Otways: Chronology of Key Events 1995 - 2008
Compiled by Trevor Poulton of ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG) September 2008
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY MEMBERS
READ MORE ALP OTWAY RANGES INTEREST GROUP
Contacts for the Otway Ranges Interest Group
(formed statewide as a non-constituent unit of the ALP - 2000)
Nick Adams (Fitzroy Branch): (03) 9417 4774
Lindsay Hesketh (Upper Yarra Branch): 0418 655 551
Carol Wilmink (Apollo Bay Branch)
Sandra Skene (Apollo Bay Branch)
Trevor Poulton (Central Branch): 0402 987 181
by email to email@example.com
ORIGINAL CAMPAIGN GOALS MET
How the ALP can End Clearfell Logging of the Otway Ranges
Clearfell logging involves the broad scale clearing of forest areas and has a dramatic impact on the landscape. According to the September 2001 Saulwick poll A Quantitative Study of Corangamite Voter Attitudes (commissioned by ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group), 69% of all electors in Corangamite oppose the clearfelling of native forests in the Otways.
The State (ADD BUT not in bold) ALP can shift the voting patterns of a significant proportion of swinging voters by ending clearfell logging in the Otways. This can be achieved under the terms of the Federal-State (ADD but not in bold)West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement and the Forest Act 1958 (Vic) (ADD but not in bold)
3 POLITICAL STEPS
(1) The Victorian State Government commits to ending clearfell logging in the Otways as at 30 June 2002.
Otway Ranges State Forest
(2) The Victorian State Government: (a) ends the annual renewal of Residual log allocations, which allow for the exploitation of the Otways for woodchips, as at 30 June 2002; and (b) immediately ceases the granting of Residual Log Licences.
(3) The Victorian State Government and the Federal Government assist with structural adjustment through employment creation programs in private plantation forestry and tourism industries in the Otway-Colac region.
Mt Sabine Falls -temporarily reprieved from logging
through work of ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group
and Community Groups
Callahans Logging Coupe - Geelong Water Catchment
"The ALP is in power -
we are not asking the Premier to lead the Party out of the wilderness
- we are asking the Premier to save the wilderness."
LINKS TO SOME RELATED ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE AGE
29 Jan 2001 Sabine Falls Wins Reprieve
14 Mar 2001 Internal Feud Hits ALP Over Otways
21 Apr 2001 Dissent Grows in ALP Over Otways
27 Apr 2001 Sparks Threaten to Ignite Victorias Forestry Tinderbox
28 Oct 2001 Pain in Lumber Region as MP Jumps the Gun
30 Oct 2001 Logging Pressure on Labor
See: How to make a stand within the ALP http://www.alporig.green.net.au/downloads/ALP_ORIG_documents/ALP_ORIG_campaign_methodology.pdf
ENDING NATIVE FOREST LOGGING IN THE OTWAYS:
CHRONOLOGY OF KEY EVENTS 1995 – 2008
Compiled by Trevor Poulton of ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG)
Compiled by Trevor Poulton of ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG) October 2008
In fulfillment of the state Labor government’s election policy, Forests and National Parks (2002), parliament passed legislation on 15 September, 2005 establishing the Great Otway National Park (102,000 ha) and the Otway Forest Park (40,000 ha). The legislation also heralded the end to all native forest logging on public land in the Otway Forest Management Area.
The policy provided for a timeframe for ending logging outside of the new national park, not based on a transition to plantations which would have taken decades, but on the expiry of hardwood timber logging licences by June 2008.
The Otways forest policy represented a wonderful win for the public and for the environment movement. The time was historically ripe for the forest policy statement which not only addressed the Otways, but also promised an end to wood chipping in Wombat State Forest, and a VEAC Investigation into the future of Goolengook Forest Management Block.
Since the commencement in 1995 of the Commonwealth-State Regional Forest Agreement process, the Otways had become a logical flash point for the environment movement to challenge the state government’s ecological forest management credentials - the Otways is close to Melbourne, the area is internationally recognised for its natural assets, it brings in over a billion dollars per annum through tourism, and its water supply catchments service over a quarter of a million people.
Ending native forest logging in the Otways: Chronology of Key Events 1995-2008 is intended to capture key events of the campaign.
Geelong Environment Council Inc boosted community passion for saving the Otway forests with its Proposal for the Extension of the Otway National Park (1995) to increase protection for the region’s cool temperate rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest and a whole range of habitat for the Tiger Quoll, Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo, Powerful Owl, Australian King Parrot, River Blackfish and the list goes on. The Otway Ranges Walking Track Association encapsulated tourism potential of the Otway Ranges beyond the Great Ocean Road with its proposed Trans-Otway Walk leading to ten waterfalls, and weaving its way through rainforest and magnificent valley forest in the Mid-Cumberland, Kennett, Carisbrook, Upper Smythes and Wild Dog Valleys, connecting Lorne to Apollo Bay by foot.
Politically inspired groups such as the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) and Geelong Community Forum (GCF) mobilised to highlight deficiencies in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s (DNRE, now DSE) forest management practices and policies that put the interests of the timber industry above that of many other stakeholders including conservation groups, tourism operators and water catchment authorities. They impressed local government with presentations at council meetings leading to several councils in the Geelong-Colac region passing motions reflecting concern over clearfell logging, particularly in the proclaimed water catchments.
Direct action groups such as Future Rescue bravely confronted the machinery of the timber industry, drawing media attention to the devastating impacts of industrial logging. The Department was continually being frustrated by aerial forest blockades using ropes, platforms, pulleys, and climbing equipment, sometimes creating tree villages in the canopy.
Doctors for Native Forests contributed with picnic tours of forest areas, as well as constructing walking tracks and obstinately re-constructing them after they had been undone by the Department.
Small business in towns and hamlets along the Surf Coast later joined the movement to assert a long term vision for the Otways centred on tourism that would guarantee greater employment opportunities and economic growth for the region.
Political groups such as the Australian Democracts and the Greens Party mobilised with regular media releases and election policies to protect the Otways. Liberals for Forests stood candidates at State and Federal elections to give prominence to the issue amongst conservative voters.
The Labor Party, which took government from the Liberals in 1999, also found itself under intense internal pressure from grassroots members, with the establishment of the ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG). The group’s stated objective was to end logging of the Otways by 2002. ALP ORIG garnered support for the campaign by getting up motions at 30 ALP Branches calling for an end to clearfell logging of the Otways, participated on ALP policy committees, courted factions within the party, and consulted with affiliated unions such as the Electrical Trades Union, politicians and ministerial advisers. It drafted the Otways Hydrology Study policy which was embraced during the 1999 state election by a victorious Labor Party. It commissioned the Saulwick & Associates Poll which pointed out to the government that 69% of people in south-west Victoria opposed clearfell logging. It engaged in strategic dialogue with the Minister for Environment’s office right up to the 2002 election.
ALP ORIG worked closely with environment groups and in the process developed a Common Base Position Statement in February 2002 which provided a framework for ending logging in the Otways. Importantly, the framework clarified for the government how logging could be brought to an end in the Otways without negating the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) (to be distinguished from the Greens campaign of ‘RFA No Way’).
The chronology brings to light contributions of professional journalists such as Claire Miller, the then Environment Reporter for The Age, whose articles provided to the public of Victoria a dramatic narrative of the battles down on the south-west coast and the reactions of the government and the timber industry. The series of articles now stand as an invaluable testament as to what happened back then.
Whilst the chronology does acknowledge support leant to the campaign by some Labor Members of Parliament, in reality MPs tended to be relatively missing in action, having failed to bind together in any form within the parliamentary wing to amplify community concerns. Predictably, it was Labor MPs, a number of whom actually opposed ending logging of the Otways, who became electoral beneficiaries.
There were notable differences in strategies and objectives that characterised the conduct of various groups, and in that regard, there may be lessons for future campaigns. In particular, in the opinion of the writer, OREN changed its course after Premier Steve Bracks signed the West Victoria RFA in 2000. OREN had been a local brand name for the movement to end logging in the Otways and was particularly respected for it research and series of reports critiquing DSE’s policies and operations. However, OREN became progressively negotiable with the Minister for Environment and Conservation’s Office and made several offers to not endorse Direct Action by protesters in exchange for the Department not logging contentious coupes that OREN had identified. These dealings could have alienated the movement, and were particularly controversial since they did not procure any substantive commitments by the state government to end logging. Further, the Department continued to chainsaw its way through OREN’s list of contentious coupes.
In February 2002, the state election year, Minister Garbutt publically claimed that her office had entered into a ‘peace deal’ with OREN, as if the war was over. However, the Minister’s claim of a ‘peace deal’ during the election year was illusory. Community groups, environment groups, the Democrats and Greens Party, ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group and residents persisted with direct action in coupes such as Dunse Track, endorsed the Common Base Position Statement, joined the Rally For Our Forests outside the May 2002 ALP State Conference and lobbied on all political levels in the lead up to the election to maximise pressure on the government for immediate reform.
The Bracks government’s Otways announcement was a political response to an accumulation of efforts by a broad range of stakeholders. In that regard, it also ought not to be forgotten that OREN’s agitation, regular reporting of events through its website, and persistent dialogue with the government remained extremely important for helping to keep the issue on the political and public agenda.
The specific political trigger for the Otways announcement related to the fact that the Labor Party was a minority government and needed to secure its inner Melbourne seats from a strengthening and ‘predatory’ environmental Greens Party at the 30 November 2002 state election. The seeds had been planted by the public and several weeks before the election the Labor Party machine finally bought the argument and decided that, despite an intransigent Environment Minister and lobbying from the Timber Workers Division (CFMEU) and the timber industry, saving the Otways could neutralise the Greens’ environmental vote. The ALP went on to win the 2002 election in a landslide, which included winning two new seats in the south-west of Victoria as well as securing Geelong which Labor had previously held by only 16 votes.
The policy proved, after many exhausting and sometimes bloody battles, to be an electoral gift from the public to the incumbent Labor government.
Status of the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement:
The Otways legislation was passed despite terms contained in the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement that, for example, provide that with any changes in the timber harvesting area there must not be a net deterioration in the timber capacity of the forest.
Whilst the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) maintains on its website that the Otways/OREN campaign ‘destroyed the Regional Forest Agreement process’ and that ‘former Premier Bracks is the only State Premier to ever have cancelled a Regional Forest Agreement in its entirety anywhere in Australia!!', the reality is that the West Victoria RFA remains intact.
Regional Forest Agreements were structured to abrogate the Federal government from its obligations to regulate native timber forestry under Commonwealth acts such the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwth), Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974, Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (Cwth) and the Export Control Act, and regulations such as the Export Control (Unprocessed Wood) Regulations (Cwth) and Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) Regulations (Cwth). If the West Victoria RFA has been cancelled then these Commonwealth acts and regulations would once again apply to the West Victoria region, in particular in relation to the burgeoning hardwood plantation estate (including leased crown land), and management of continued hardwood logging in the Midlands Forest Management Area.
The Otways election announcement constituted a possible breach of the West Victoria RFA by the state government. However, the Federal government has not, and would not have any interest in using that breach to terminate the agreement under the termination clauses in the RFA.
Further, the writer suggests that the state government could perhaps argue that whilst it may have breached some terms of the RFA agreement, it had merely adopted recommendation 16 of the report, Evaluation of Data and Methods for Estimating the Sustainable Yield of Sawlogs in Victoria (Expert Data Reference Group, 2001) by ‘applying the optimal harvesting rate that delivers the greatest benefit to stakeholders’, which in the case of the Otways Forest Management Area had been deemed to be a sustainable logging yield of 0%.
Rather than dismissing the RFA as an irrelevancy, a challenge for environment groups is to ascertain the remaining obligations that the State government is yet to and/or must still comply with under the West Victoria RFA for ecologically sustainable management of its native forests, as well as for regulating plantation forestry operations.
The chronology is intended to capture key events to give the reader an insight into the dynamics of the campaign. It has largely avoided delving into the forest politics of other regions but does make some references to conduct of organisations such as the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and The Wilderness Society (TWS) with regards strategies that impacted on all the forest campaigns - in particular, their support of the State government to corporatise VicForests as a state-owned business for public forestry (a form of privatisation), and TWS’s initiating of a Writ in the Supreme Court against the CFMEU that virtually destroyed the opportunity for environment groups to develop an alliance with green unions through Earthworker.
The chronology has been drafted by the writer from his extensive cabinet of documents and computer files as well as through some Googling. However, the writer is more than happy to amend any factual errors or misinterpretations, and include other key events which may be brought to his attention by the reader, and which can only add to the document’s usefulness.
The chronology includes hyperlinks for readers who might want a more in depth understanding of the issues or confirm the accuracy of the writer’s entries. The links can also be accessed in the box on the home page of the website www.alporig.green.net.au
6 October 2008
ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG)
Mobile: 0402 987 181
Campaign Websites to be re-uploaded
See: How to make a stand within the ALP http://www.alporig.green.net.au/downloads/ALP_ORIG_documents/ALP_ORIG_campaign_methodology.pdf
ENDING NATIVE FOREST LOGGING IN THE OTWAYS:
CHRONOLOGY OF KEY EVENTS 1995 – 2008
Compiled by Trevor Poulton of ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG)
[NOTE - TO BE RESTORED TO TABLE FORMAT INCLUDING LINKS]
With the commencement of the Commonwealth – State Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) process in 1995, environment groups in South West Victoria are forced to refigure their political campaigns for protection of native forests.
West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) events:
· In 1995, the Victorian State government in agreement with the Commonwealth commenced the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) process to fulfil their commitments to the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS).
· On 27 January 1996, an Interim Forest Agreement for the West Victoria region was signed by the Commonwealth and Victorian state government and subsequently amended on 30 June 1998 and 31 December 1999. The purpose was to defer logging of areas which might be required to be protected for the national forest system, pending the negotiation of 20 year Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). http://www.daffa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/48922/nat_ifa.pdf
· In 1997, the Joint ANZECC / MCFFA National Forest Policy Statement Implementation Sub-committee (JANIS) determined criteria for assessing which areas should be included in the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) Reserve System.
· In 1999, DNRE (now DSE) completed the West Victoria Comprehensive Regional Assessments (CRA) of native forests on public land to meet targets for an envisaged CAR Reserve System as defined under the JANIS Criteria.
· On 31/3/2000, the West Victoria RFA was signed by Premier Bracks and Prime Minister John Howard. http://www.alporig.green.net.au/downloads/vic-west-rfa.pdf
· On 6/11/2002, the Victorian State Labor government announced its election policy, Forests and National Parks, Labor’s Plan to Ensure Victoria’s Forests are Here to Stay, which included ending logging of native forests in the Otways and an expanded Otway National Park. http://www.alporig.green.net.au/downloads/ALP_ORIG_documents/ALP_2002_Forests_and_National_Parks
· On 29/11/2004, VEAC completed its final recommendations for the Angahook - Otway Investigation. See final recommendations: http://www.veac.vic.gov.au/angahookotway.htm
· On 15/9/2005, the Victorian parliament passed legislation establishing the Great Otway National Park (102,000 ha) and the Otway Forest Park (40,000 ha), and ending native forest logging on public land in the Otway Forest Management Area as at June 2008. See National Parks (Otways and Other Amendments) Act 2005
West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement
It is important to note that whilst OREN maintains on its website that the Otways/OREN campaign ‘destroyed the Regional Forest Agreement process’, and that ‘former Premier Bracks is the only State Premier to ever have cancelled a Regional Forest Agreement in its entirety anywhere in Australia!!', the reality is that the West Victoria RFA remains intact (as explained in the introductory commentary of this document). A challenge for environment groups is to ascertain the remaining obligations that the State government must still comply with under the West Victoria RFA for ecologically sustainable management of native forests, as well as for regulating plantation forestry operations.
Geelong Environment Council Inc (GEC) releases a Proposal for the Extension of the Otway National Park
The document presented an overview of Geelong Environment Council’s proposed extension to the Otway National Park and the implications for conservation, tourism and timber values in the area. It recommended increasing the Otway National Park by trebling the size to around 43,000ha. The study area covered the ranges to the north-west of Apollo Bay, north as far as the Carlisle State Park, and west as far as Mount Acland. GEC also released a pamphlet The Otways – A Vision for the Future which provided a list of key elements for its proposed expanded Otway National Park.
(In contrast, the state government’s 2003 VEAC investigation resulted in the new Great Otway National Park extending from near Anglesea to Moonlight Heads and is about 9 times the size of the previous Otway National Park) and brought about the end of public forestry in the Otways.
1995 - 1996
Activities (1995 – 1996) of Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) and other groups.
(OREN Convenors include Simon Birrell, and later Chris Tipler)
According to OREN website:
· Mid 1995 - Otway Forest Network formed from numerous existing groups [becomes OREN].
· 1995/96 summer - 5 Actions in the Otway Forest protesting against woodchipping, water quality issue, and the destruction of the rainforests. Actions included shutting the entire forestry operation down in the Otways for a day though a series of coordinated actions.
· 1995/96 summer - Supporters occupied the offices of the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) as part of the Otway Forest Campaign
· 1995/96 Feb - OREN used Freedom of Information legislation to expose the Victorian Government for withholding vital documents relating to the disease Myrtle Wilt - which is destroying the rainforests of the Otways.
1997 - 1998
OREN conducts anti-woodchipping campaign in the Otways - Refuse to use Kleenex tissues
According to OREN website, in 1997 and 1998 OREN conducted the "Refuse to use Kleenex tissues" campaign. Kimberly Clark Australia Pty Ltd (the Kleenex manufacturer) was 50.01% controlled by Amcor at the time. According to OREN, in December 1998 Kimberly Clark made a public comment in the Geelong Advertiser they would not take any more woodchips from the Otways.
Australian Labor Party (ALP) general members Trevor Poulton and Lindsay Hesketh join ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee to lobby within the ALP for native forest management reform (focussing on the Otways and Goolengook), and later formalise establishment of the lobby group ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG) and co-establish ‘Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk)’
Whilst members of ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG) commenced campaigning in November 1998, formal establishment of ALP ORIG with an executive occurred in 2000.
Steering Committee and founding members -
· Trevor Poulton (Elwood Branch)
· Nick Adams (Fitzroy Branch)
· Lindsay Hesketh (Upper Yarra Branch)
Other founding members -
· Carol Wilmink (Apollo Bay Branch)
· Sandra Skene (Apollo Bay Branch)
Stated objective of ALP ORIG - To end logging of the Otways by 2002. See: www.alporig.green.net.au
ALP ORIG members Poulton/Hesketh meet with OREN at offices of Chris Tippler in Collins Street, Melbourne
OREN expressed concern about lack of headway in convincing the Kennett Liberal government of the destructive impact of logging on water catchments and tourism potential of the Otways. ALP ORIG pointed out to OREN the strategic importance of environment groups liaising and co-ordinating with ALP members for agitation within the ALP in anticipation of a possible ALP 1999 state election victory.
Adrian Whitehead and Mathew Rees are assaulted by ‘logger/s’ in separate incidents
The Greens candidate for Corangamite, Adrian Whitehead, received five stitches to his head after being knocked unconscious in an attack with an axe-handle while compiling a biological inventory of a logging coupe off Garvey Track in the Cumberland River Catchment. In an earlier incident at the same location, Matthew Rees of Warrnambool was struck on the back of the head with the blunt end of a hand-axe.
ALP ORIG and other ALP members move to remove AMCOR’s ‘A-Team’ timber faction from control of ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee.
(See ABC Four Corners documentary THE A TEAM televised on 2/10/2006. Producer consults Poulton.
Agreement was reached between Socialist Left faction and Centre Unity of ALP to not support AMCOR’s A-Team members for re-election to ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee at 1998 December State Conference resulting in the end of the A Team’s influence on the policy committee.
ALP ORIG members Poulton/Hesketh were elected to the ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee with Poulton as Convener of the Forest Sub-committee and Hesketh as Secretary of the Committee.
Formation of ‘Earthworker’. Organisers include Dave Keran, BLF union member and Colin McNaughton.
It adopts the slogan, No jobs on a dead planet.
Earthworker was established in 1999 to overcome wedges placed between unionists and green groups by identifying areas of agreement that could be jointly actioned. 14 unions and 3 green organisations joined Earthworker within a year. It operated out of a room in the Trades Hall Building. Chief unions – Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and AMWU. Environmental groups included Friends of the Earth (FOE).
Publication of West Victoria Comprehensive Regional Assessment(CRA) Report (Commonwealth and Victorian Regional Forestry Agreement Steering Committee, 1999)
The comprehensive assessment was completed for the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement to establish a CAR Reserve System comprising of Dedicated Reserves, Informal Reserves and values protected by prescription.
Assaults on protestors at SSP Track and Seaview Ridge Road takes place between 25/1/1999 and 29/1/1999. Civil action is taken by 12 protesters in the Supreme Court with a Writ filed on 20/12/1999. The case concluded in December 2007.
See hyperlinks for the Court case at 20/12/1999
Orchestrated violence and assaults occurred against protestors at SSP Track and Seaview Ridge Road near Apollo Bay protest camp when loggers, some labourers and a representative of Timber Workers Union picketed the camp site for several days.
The Age (by Andrea Carson) - For this band of greenies, victory tastes so sweet
Journalist paints an ‘endearing’ portrait of protesters in 1999
For this band of greenies, victory tastes so sweet (by Andrea Carson) –
This group of about 15 is an eclectic mix of experienced hard-core activists, university students, locals and two newcomers. They have travelled from Tasmania, Mildura, and Melbourne in an attempt to help locals save the forest from logging. Although many have met for the first time, love is a word they say to each other freely, and kissing and hugging is plentiful.
The Age (by Geoff Strong) - Trouble in Paradise
Click: Trouble in Paradise The Age 1999
Trouble in Paradise (by Geoff Strong) -
The Age article provided a lengthy narrative of the conflict (sometimes violent) between loggers and environmental activists during late 1998 and early 1999.
OREN paper – Victoria: The Key Issues in Hardwood Logging and Sawmilling
OREN targeted management practices of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE, now DSE) through compilation of various reports on ‘hidden’ government subsidies to the timber industry.
First meeting of a newly formed ‘pro-environment’ ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee
A motion was drafted by the Committee for an independent economic inquiry into the wood products industry. Several members of the committee met with Michael O’Connor of Timber Workers Division of CFMEU advising him (to his displeasure) of their intention to lobby for forestry reform and of the cultural change on the policy committee with the removal of the ‘A-Team’.
KPMG Report (1999) is released in compliance with the state government’s obligations under the RFA to ensure the implementation of National Competition Policy for the timber industry.
The KPMG report is drawn on by environment groups to critique government subsidising of the native hardwood industry.
The KPMG Report, commissioned by the Kennett Liberal government was published in May 1999. The report investigated compliance of DNRE’s hardwood pricing with National Competition Policy. National Competition Policy requires government departments to not engage in anti-competitive trade practices. KPMG found that :
· Royalty rates and licence fees set by DNRE for sawlogs were on average 30-60% below market value (disadvantaging private hardwood plantation operators);
· Native forest sawn timber was being undervalued and competing unfairly with other building materials such as softwood, concrete and steel; and
· Non-timber forest values such as domestic water supply catchments and the forest based tourism industry were being undervalued.
The KPMG Report recommended: a review to ensure that royalties and charges cover all State management costs, that there be a level playing field between native forests and plantations in setting charges for logging timber resources by applying Competitive Neutrality Principles, and in particular that there be greater separation between the policy and commercial forestry functions of DNRE to ensure that forest management policies were not being manipulated by the timber industry in relation to resource access and pricing.
The state Liberal government, in response to the report, separated the regulatory and commercial forestry functions into two agencies within DNRE: the policy and regulatory functions would be managed by Forest Services, and the commercial section managed by Forestry Victoria.
Upon Labor achieving government on 30/11/1999 the State Labor Government initiated a review of sawlog royalty rates. Various environment groups, in particular ACF and TWS hoped that raising royalty rates would have a dramatic impact on the financial viability of native hardwood sawmills across Victoria. (This is to be distinguished from the reduction in the sustainable timber yield rates for forest management areas as a result of the Vanclay Report which in 2002 saw closure of over 30 mills).
In May 2002 the Bracks government released Our Forests Our Future policy which included full separation of the two agencies by replacing the commercial forestry arm, Forestry Victoria, with a state owned corporation called VicForests.
The structural reform had been encouraged and supported by ACF and TWS. Serious questions remain as to the wisdom of their support for the creation of an independent state owned forestry business in relation to environmental and social outcomes.
See environment groups support for corporatisation of public forestry in Defining, Identifying and Protecting Old-growth Forest in Victoria, T Poulton 2006 - page 61 http://www.alporig.green.net.au/downloads/old-growth-forest.pdf
OREN report – Clearfell Logging in the Otway State Forest and its affect on water resources in the region
Geelong Community Forum Inc public briefing at Geelong West Town Hall on proposed West Victoria RFA (facilitated by Serena O’Meley)
Geelong Community Forum convened the meeting to raise public concern that Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast Shire fell outside of DNRE’s West Region formal consultation circuit, and to brief the public on the RFA’s implications for the Otway State Forest.
See transcripts: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~gcforum/rfa.htm
ALP ORIG report - Achieving A Swing Labor’s Way – Otway State Forest Water Catchments Election Policy Statement’
drafted by Poulton/Hesketh
Proposed hydrology study election commitment -
ALP ORIG drafted an Otways water catchment policy for recommendation to the ALP State Election Campaign Committee. The chief recommendation provided that:
‘Labor will undertake comprehensive hydrology research to determine the impact of logging on water yields and water quality in the proclaimed water catchments of the Otway State Forest.’
The ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee confirmed the draft. ALP ORIG members on the policy committee met with Labor’s Election Campaign Committee to recommend the proposed policy. Present: Rob Hudson (now MP), Tim Pallas (now Minister for Roads and Ports), Trevor Poulton, Lindsay Hesketh and Yorick Piper (also on the policy committee but wearing CFMEU hat, and now staff member for Premier Brumby). The Election Campaign Committee agreed to adopt the Otways hydrology study policy as they were satisfied that there was consensus between the policy committee members and CFMEU on the text of the draft policy.
OREN submits The Native Forests of Western Victoria Preliminary Evaluation of the Comprehensive Regional Assessment for the Western Region of Victoria (principal author, Christopher Tipler)
Submissions to the government included OREN's detailed preliminary evaluation of the first nine chapters of the CRA document.
Labor Opposition Leader, Steve Bracks’ Office releases election policy - Labor’s Policy for the Western Region Forest Agreement
The policy is also encapsulated in ALP Conservation & Environment Policy 2000 (Forest Section)
The Bracks’ State Election Campaign Committee adopted ALP ORIG’s draft water catchment policy verbatim under the new heading: ‘Labor’s Plan for Managing the Otway State Forest Water Catchments.’
The policy announcement represented a positive political response by the ALP to concerns within the electorate over continued logging of the Otways.
The release also included commitments such as:
‘Labor will set up an independent review to ensure that royalties and charges cover all State management costs,’ and ‘Labor’s Plan for Managing the Wombat and Cobar Forests’.
18 September 1999 Victoria State Election - Australian Labor Party (ALP) wins government
ALP is elected to govern the State of Victoria with a minority government, relying on support of 3 independents
Jeff Kennett (Liberal Party) lost government. Steve Bracks (ALP) became Premier. Sherryl Garbutt was appointed Minister for Environment & Conservation replacing Marie Tehan of the Liberal Party.
Two new Labor candidates were elected in South West Victoria to parliament with a sitting Labor member re-elected:
· Peter Loney (Geelong North) (sitting member)
· Ian Trezise (Geelong)
· Elaine Carbines (Geelong Province)
late 1999 - early 2000
Intense blockading and protesting by environment and community groups between 1999 – April 2000.
Includes aerial forest blockades using ropes, platforms, pulleys and climbing equipment to construct a tree village in the canopy of Rileys Ridge.
Equipment is largely self-funded by the activists themselves but there is also some input of resources from groups including FOE, TWS and local residents.
Blockades and protests between October 1999 – April 2000 included:
1. Riley's Ridge (Continuous Camp – Tree Village from 31 October 1999 - April 2000)*
2. Lardners Creek (14 - 17 December 1999)
3. Number Nine Road (February 2000)
4. Mud Road (February March 2000)
5. Gail Clearing (Cumberland River - February 2000)
6. Curtis Track (Cumberland River - March 2000)
7. Middle Spur (April 2000)
8. Callahans Creek (April 2000)
* According to OREN’s website, several conservationists were assaulted at Rileys Ridge and car windows smashed. A logging contractor was subsequently charged by police over the incident and convicted at Geelong Magistrate Court on 21/6/2001 after pleading not guilty to charges and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and $1,600 damages to conservationists.
ALP ORIG members gain consent from ALP for ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee to liaise outside of the party with Earthworker
The liaison represented a reaching out by the ALP to proactive union/green organisations. The Earthworker model was confirmed at ALP State Conference. ALP members attended Earthworker meetings where there was ongoing dialogue over the future of the Otways.
Writ is issued in Supreme Court of Victoria by protesters against CFMEU and loggers in relation to violence at SSP Track on 25 -28/1/1999 (see above). CFMEU and other defendants counterclaim, with costs escalating on both sides.
McFadzean v Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union  VSC 289 (19 August 2004)
Click on to Writ (10MB)
Writ Wilderness Society 2000
Appeal by Plaintiffs (13/12/2007)
Appeal as to costs (18/12/2007).
The Plaintiffs (Gavan McFadzean of TWS and 11 other protesters) sued the CFMEU and 16 individuals for false imprisonment, civil assault etc in relation violence at the SSP Track in January 1999. The Defendants counterclaimed against the Plaintiffs and also claimed against TWS, OREN and Simon Birrell. Recurring violence may have prompted TWS to coordinate the filing of the Writ. However, the litigation against the CFMEU (of which the Timber Workers Division was a small constituent member) consumed 64 days of hearings with judgment being delivered on 19/8/2004 and an appeal by Plaintiffs dealt with by the Supreme Court on 13/12/2007 which was dismissed.
The costs for all parties was extraordinarily high – on paper, over $1Million The strategy to take civil action against a national union, with many of its members being supportive of the conservation movement, ultimately proved fatal to the vision of Earthworker which was caught in the crossfire.
Despite the financial and human resources invested by TWS into the case which concluded in 2007, the case had no relevance for resolving environmental issues, and caused much damage to the potential for an alliance between unions and green organisations. A number of the activists involved in the case have been now left with huge financial debts.
The case was not endorsed by groups such as Friends of the Earth (FOE) (nor the writer).
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Protesters sue loggers' trade Union
Protesters sue loggers' trade union (by Claire Miller) – ARTICLE:
Conservationists say they were imprisoned by timber workers.
The trade union that represents timber workers is being sued for false imprisonment by conservationists involved in a tense, five day stand-off with loggers in Victoria's south-west last January. In a writ lodged in the Supreme Court yesterday (20/12/1999), 16 conservationists allege they were encircled and held against their will, and subjected to physical and psychological intimidation, harassment and injury by about 70 timber workers.
The campaigners, mostly members of the Otways Ranges Environment Network and the Wilderness Society, had set up camp beside a public road as part of a blockade to stop work in an area designated for clear-felling. Local timber workers then set up what the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union described as a picket line to protect workplace health and safety. The loggers refused to allow the conservationists to leave their camp unless they signed an agreement to stop blockading in the Otways.
The court action comes amid growing criticism by some conservationists about the new State Government's handling of the Commonwealth-state regional forest agreements covering western Victoria and Gippsland.
Environment Victoria, the Wilderness Society and community groups from the Wombat, Cobaw and Enfield state forests, the Otways and East Gippsland, have accused the Environment and Conservation Minister, Ms Sherryl Garbutt, of failing to reform the process as Labor policy promised.
In a letter, the groups say Ms Garbutt's statement on sustainable forest management last week, which outlines improved consultation, still leaves, the process in the hands of-bureaucrats accused of presiding over "poor-quality, conflict-ridden" agreements elsewhere. A spokeswoman for Ms Garbutt said Labor went into the election with a commitment to maintain the regional forest agreements, but to make the process more open and accountable.
She said the minister was disappointed some groups were not giving the reforms an opportunity to work before condemning them.
The Wilderness Society's campaign Coordinator, Mr Gavan McFadzean, said blockades would continue at Riley's Ridge in the Otways after protesters disrupted logging across the region last week. About 30 conservationists; also stopped logging yesterday at Starvation Creek, in the central highlands near Warburton. Mr McFadzean, who was blocked in by the timber workers in January, said violence and intimidation would not be tolerated.
He said conservationists did not stop loggers entering blockaded areas, and they were free to remove machinery and equipment. "False imprisonment is a serious offence and that is what it was," he said.
The secretary of the CFMEU forestry division, Ms Jane Calvert, who was involved in organising the loggers' blockade, declined to comment.
About 60 conservationists rallied outside Parliament House yesterday, holding aloft papier mache bottoms symbolizing their belief that forests are getting the "bum end" of the deal. Environment Victoria's forests campaigner, Dr Rod Anderson, said the Government must resolve hidden industry subsidies.
Forests are getting the "bum end" of the deal, said conservationists protesting outside Parliament House yesterday.
OREN presentation to City of Greater Geelong Council
OREN’s report Clearfell logging in the Otway State Forest and its Affect on Water Resources in the Region Report was circulated at the council meeting.
Public meeting facilitated by Geelong Community Forum on imminent signing of West Victoria RFA
See presentations in relation to the proposed Western Victorian RFA:
Professor Tony W. Norton (Department of Land Information, RMIT University) -http://home.vicnet.net.au/~gcforum/COMMENTS_ON_THE_WESTERN_VICTO_1.doc
Chris Tipler (OREN) -
Striking The Right Economic Balance In The Management Of The Otway Native Forest raises the following issues:
· viability sawlog operations in the Western Region lose approximately $2.5 million p.a.
· industry is ‘viable’ only because of woodchip revenue, and government subsidies
· royalties well below commercial levels
· KPMG Report (1998) - sawlog royalties 30%-60% too low
· woodchip royalties $3.60 (ave.), when commercial cost is >$20 per m3
· DNRE expenses exceed revenue
· non-payment of royalty debts
Other statements -
NRE establishes Tiger Quoll Special Management Zone after evidence is produced by conservationists of the existence of Tiger Quoll habitat
DNRE formally incorporated Riley’s Ridge inside a Tiger Quoll Special Management Zone under the RFA process, although still scheduled the area for logging under the Wood Utilization Plans (WUP).
Geelong Community Forum facilitates meeting at Geelong West Town Hall opposing logging of Otways
On this same day the police attempted to break up a protest at Riley’s Ridge.
Geelong Community Forum stages silent protest at Minister Garbutt’s opening of the rail trail
Members of GCF held up signs with question marks and asked the crowd to question why the Minister was authorizing the logging of Cumberland, Wye River and Riley’s Ridge areas.
ALP ORIG (as members on ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee) meet with Minister Garbutt to present a package of reforms titled Timber Industry Reform – A hallmark of Bracks’ first year of government (drafted by Poulton/Hesketh)
The package reiterated the Bracks government’s 1999 forest election commitments. It was proposed that they be included by Minister Garbutt with the inevitable (but problematical) signing of West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement and Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement on 31/3/2000. (The strategy was to ensure the Bracks’ conservation election commitments would remain on the Minister’s agenda.)
Attendees at the meeting with Minister Garbutt were Joanne Duncan MP, Yorick Piper, Lindsay Hesketh and Trevor Poulton.
The package was ultimately compiled by the Minister’s Office as a set of Media Releases enclosed with the RFAs on 31/3/2000 and included the following commitments:
In the next 12 months the State Government will:
· Commission an independent study of the economic potential of the tourism industry in the Otways
· Place additional restrictions on timber harvesting the Otways in preparation for the hydrology study into the effects of logging on water yields and quality in catchments in the Otway Ranges
· Examine current forest practices including clear felling and the production of woodchips from forest residue
· Review royalties, charges and the grading and recovery of sawlogs from State forests
· Conduct an independent review into the process of setting sustainable yields and supplying sawlogs to the industry
· Commit a further $20M to regional development and employment initiatives, including support for hardwood plantations, improved inventory resources, forest management initiatives and tourism development (this is in addition to $42.6 Million for Victorian Forest Industry Adjustment Program already committed)
· Create a Commissioner for the Environment
· Establish Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC)
· Establish a Forest Industry Council as the principle body responsible for advising on the development of the Forest and Forest Industry Plan.
· Conduct an independent audit of logging rates in the Wombat Forest.
Geelong Community Forum later noted in its newsletter 24/8/2000 – ‘The RFA is over – signed on 31 March 2000 and we are left with yet another appalling RFA sweetened with a packet of reviews. These reviews could become critical in ensuring that our forests are cared for rather than mismanaged by the Forestry Division of DNRE.’
City of Greater Geelong Council passes resolutions after presentation by OREN
City of Greater Geelong Council passed resolutions relating to the direction of the proposed West Victoria RFA after OREN’s presentation on 17/1/2000 titled Clearfell logging in the Otway State Forest and its Affect on Water Resources in the Region.
Moyne Shire Council passes resolution after presentation by OREN
Moyne Shire Council resolved to advise RFA Steering Committing that it required detail research regarding impacts of logging on Otways Water Catchments.
Future Rescue and residents blockade Wye River Coupe at Mud Road
See notes on blockade of Wye River Coupe:
Future Rescue activists in the Otways blockaded in the Wye River Coupe at Mud Road. With the support of hundreds of local residents, who formed the Wye River Action Group, the activists attempted to gain the government’s intervention in the DNRE decision to allow clearfelling to commence (despite the results of the Spotted Quoll Report). Future Rescue and other activists blockaded with "possums" in tree sits with one tree sit cabled through logging machinery, and "black wallabies" in the bushes. DNRE called WorkCover to the site and it was assessed as an unsafe work place as long as the tree sit was in the trees. Police Search and Rescue came to the site and secured the tree sit and cut the cable.
Future Rescue members and other direct action protestors during the campaign included - Ricky, Amelia Young (Meals), Jasmin, Adam Bear, Will, Gus, Big Bear, Tony Quoll and many others.
Geelong Community Forum delivers comprehensive submission to the West Regional Forest Agreement Independent Panel
The submission included highlighting and commentary on the Bracks government’s election commitments.
See presentation of Serena O’Meley of GCF:
“RFA No Way” rally at Midway’s export woodchip mill in Geelong
Community rallied outside Midway against imminent signing of the West Victoria RFA.
Apollo Bay Music Festival is interrupted by ‘anti-green’ acts of intimidation
The power supply to Apollo Bay was cut off during the Apollo Bay Music Festival with two electricity polls that supply the town cut down with a chain saw. Graffiti was sprayed on the power poles, "OREN war". A police investigation failed to find those responsible but the action was perceived as an ‘anti-green protest’.
Quolls arrive at the festival in their suits, including Tony Quoll a.k.a. Hastings (see Tony Hasting’s comprehensive forest website on various campaigns and court cases: http://www.green.net.au/quoll/ )
West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) (incorporating the Otways, Midlands and Portland Forest Management Areas) is signed by Premier Steve Bracks and Prime Minister John Howard.
The West Victoria RFA set aside 633,000 hectares in the region adding 194,000 hectares to existing reserves (increase of 44%).
The maximum annual rate of logging for sawlogs in the Otways Forest Management Area was reduced from 44,000 cubic metres to 27,000 cubic meters.
The signing of the West Victoria and the Gippsland Regional Forest Agreements on 31 March 2000 supposedly completed the RFA process in Victoria, meeting the government’s commitment for protection of native forests in accordance with the criteria of the 1997 the Joint ANZECC / MCFFA National Forest Policy Statement Implementation Sub-committee (JANIS) for assessing which areas should be included in the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) Reserve System. The assessments took into account existing legislated reserves such as National Parks, State Parks and Flora and Fauna Reserves.
As part of the process DSE was required to complete old-growth forest studies to identify and map old-growth forest in each Regional Forest area, applying the Woodgate Definition of ‘old-growth forest’ (as a surrogate for the JANIS Definition). However, the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement was signed in March 2000, whilst the Study of Old-growth Forests of West Victoria (DNRE 2001) was completed in 2001. The reason for the premature signing of the West Victoria RFA was that Commonwealth legislation provided that no exports of native forest woodchips would be allowed from areas not covered by an RFA after 31 January 2000.
(See p 41 - Defining, Identifying and Protecting Old-growth Forest in Victoria, T. Poulton, 2006)
The Age (by Andrew Rule) - When the lights went out in paradise
When the lights went out in paradise (by Andrew Rule) -
Article publicised ongoing conflict in the Otways, including the chain-sawing of power poles at Apollo Bay Music Festival.
OREN’s First ‘Offer of Truce’
Early 2000, OREN changes its political strategy. According to OREN’s website, OREN entered into an agreement with DNRE to not endorse protest action by individuals that stop contractors from logging forest on the basis of DNRE deferring logging of ‘highly contentious coupes’ it has nominated for season 2000/2001.
On 4/4/2000 OREN alleges DNRE broke the agreement by commencing logging of Cianco Creek coupe.
DNRE does not admit to any agreement although the Department has participated in ongoing dialogue with OREN and others over logging of specific coupes.
Click: Docs ORENs contentious coupes strategy
According to OREN website:
‘During the 2000/2001 logging season the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE), with endorsement from Environment Minister Garbutt, made an agreement with conservationists and the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) to defer the clearfell logging of highly contentious coupes in the Otway State Forest. In return OREN would not endorse protest action by individuals that stopped contractors from logging forest. As a result of this agreement contentious coupes were not logged and OREN received information about where logging was occuring and how many logs had been extracted from Forstry Victoria as agreed. But this only lasted until the end of the 2000/2001 logging season.
In March 2000 OREN was advised that the DNRE (Forestry Victoria) needed to log a contentious coupe at Ciancio creek. OREN advised the government that the forest at Ciancio Creek was highly contentious due to the presence of Cool Temperate Rainforest of national significance.
The government ignored this advice and went ahead with logging on Wednesday the 4th of April. On the following Friday, conservationists set up a direct action blockade and prevented any further logging for the following two weeks.
During the protests, Environment Minister Garbutt denied any agreement had been struck between conservationists and the government to avoid logging contentious coups in the Otways. Despite the denying the existence of the agreement, Environment Minister Garbutt was forced by conservationists to suspend logging and then eventually call off the logging by using the excuse that it was too wet to log anyway.
When asked questions in Parliament on the 3rd May about an agreement to avoid logging contentious coups, Garbutt denied any agreement and mislead parliament.
Clearfell logging at Caincio creek has now been deferred to the 2002/2003 logging season.’
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Otways truce declared
Otways truce declared (by Claire Miller) –
Summary of the article from Forest Letter Watch:
‘A temporary truce has been reached in the bitter showdown between loggers and conservationists in the Otway State Forest. The truce was announced yesterday by the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN), whose members have been protesting in the forest and been involved in violent confrontations with loggers. The group agreed not to back protest action that prevented logging contractors clearfelling native forest, in return for concessions. The deal will apply until May 31’
3-4 June 2000
ALP State Conference adopts ALP Conservation & Environment Policy 2000
Drafted by the ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee
The comprehensive environment policy document included the following:
· Labor to exclude further logging in closed catchments (in accordance with 1999 election commitment)
· Labor to undertake comprehensive hydrology research to determine impact of logging on water yields and water quality in proclaimed water catchments of the Otways (in accordance with 1999 election commitment)
· Labor supports policy models such as that developed by Earthworker, an affiliation of unions and environmental organisations.
DNRE seeks expressions of interest for membership of the Otways Regional Forest Reference Group
(See below - Minister Garbutt announces the formation of the reference group on 25/1/2001, three days before ALP ORIG’s Aireys Inlet Address)
The new reference group is to provide:
· a forum for raising forest management issues;
· an exchange of views between stakeholders; and,
· advice on issues associated with the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement and other forest management issues.
OREN’s Second ‘Offer of Truce’ http://www.alporig.green.net.au/downloads/ORENs_Truces/Docs_ORENs_contentious_coupes_strategy.pdf
Between 12/4/2000 - 11/9/2000 OREN had participated in regular meetings of industry, departmental officers and conservationists, informally called Otways Reference Group (to be distinguished from the later Otways Regional Forest Reference Group established by the Minister on 25/1/2001).
The meetings are convened by the Minister’s Chief of Staff at the time, Rosemary Barker, and once again according to OREN’s website, OREN offers to ‘not support or endorse direct action that stop logging contractors cutting down trees.’ This time OREN encapsulates its position in a Recommended Memorandum of Understanding for 2000/2001 season (dated 11/9/2000 and marked ‘confidential’).
It is forwarded by the Otways Reference Group to the Minister.
OREN then provides DNRE with a list of 45 Contentious Coupes, dated 25/8/2000, which OREN requires of DNRE to avoid logging.
OREN presumes that the attached letter [http://www.oren.org.au/images/rosemary.gif ] from Minister’s Chief of Staff confirms that an agreement exists on the terms contained in the Recommended Memorandum of Understanding.
Minister Garbutt publicly states in 2001 that the government never accepted the Memorandum.
Other groups continue to support Direct Action -
Residents, and groups including Doctors for Forests, FOE, TWS, ACF, Wye River Residents Action Group, the Democrats, Greens Party and ALP ORIG, continue to endorse and support Direct Action in the Otways
According to OREN website: (http://www.oren.org.au/campaign/intro.htm ):
‘The Middle Spur incident in April 2000 was the last straw for the State Government. On the 7th April 2000, a letter authorised by Minister Garbutt was sent to the Wilderness Society acknowledging the violence at Middle Spur and calling on conservation and other stakeholder groups to meet in order to find some sort of resolution.
The Wilderness Society declined to meet but OREN and other local conservationists took up the offer to discuss issues. The conservationists were joined by
· Ministerial Advisers,
· Victorian Association of Forest Industries,
· Forestry Division of the CFMEU Union,
· Forestry Victoria DNRE (Peter Rutherford),
· logging bosses
· and sawmill owners.
The meetings were facilitated by two representatives from the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.
OREN had much difficulty in getting consensus from those involved in blockading to attend the first meeting. Many activists harbored a great distrust of the government and did not want OREN to go and speak on their behalf. Others activists were prepared to let OREN have a chance at the negotiating table. In the end there was never any real consensus. OREN and some local residents decided to take up the Government invitation to explore opportunities of avoiding further conflict.
About a dozen meetings were held between 12 April and late September2000. During these meetings it was agreed by all parties that critical to avoiding further violence/conflict in the Otways during the 2000/2001 logging season, an attempt must be made to avoid logging contentious forest areas. In return OREN and other local conservationists would not support or endorse direct action that stopped logging contractors cutting down trees.
After a great debate over how much forest Forestry Victoria needed to cut down to meet sawlog licence commitments, a memorandum of understanding [http://www.oren.org.au/campaign/memo.htm ] was drawn up between all stake holders. The memorandum was a 'meeting of the minds' in regards to avoiding conflict for 2000/2001.
After an agreement was reached, the Department Chief of Staff, Rosemary Barker sent a letter [http://www.oren.org.au/images/rosemary.gif ] to OREN advising that further meetings were temporarily postponed. Another meeting was never organised and formal dialogue stopped at this point. In her letter Rosemary Barker thanked OREN for "the effort that you have made to ensure the success of the difficult process with which you have been engaged". This comment implies that an agreement had been reached between all parties.
A part of the agreement written into the Memorandum of Understanding http://www.oren.org.au/campaign/memo.htm
was for Forestry Victoria to regularly inform OREN where logging was occurring and the volumes of timber extracted. When logging recommenced in early November 2000, the DNRE began to regularly send faxes containing this information. OREN had never received faxes with this information before from the department. In the following four months the DNRE informed OREN by fax six times. None of the coups listed on these faxes (and logged) during this time were contentious. No protest blockades occurred.’
Note: Minister Garbutt clarified to parliament the following year in 2001 (Hansard) that there never was any ‘agreements’:
‘I have said publicly all along that there was no agreement not to log in those so-called contentious coupes or no-go zones. What happened was that last year a mediation group was pulled together and a memorandum of understanding was proposed by the Otway Ranges Environment Network - the protest group - but was rejected by me, the department, industry and the union.’ (Hansard)
ALP ORIG has developed a two pronged strategy by applying internal pressure within ALP to end logging of the Otways in western Victoria and to save Goolengook in eastern Victoria.
In September 2000, with circulation within the ALP of ‘Extension to Errinundra National Park – Goolengook Policy Statement’ (drafted by T. Poulton in consultation with non-ALP member Andrew Picone, author of Goolengook National Park Proposal 1999, first edition), the two pronged attack within the ALP built up further tension for the ALP and the CFMEU (Timber Workers Division) over logging of native forests.
On 2/10/200 a motion was passed by the ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee to establish the ‘possibility’ of an independent inquiry to investigate the integration of the Upper Goolengook Catchment into Errinundra National Park. (Motion was opposed by Yorick Piper and Moss Cass, a former Federal Environment Minister, on the basis that the policy would supposedly create job losses.)
ALP ORIG paper – Comparative analysis of West Victoria Regional RFA (2000) and East Gippsland RFA (1997)(Poulton)
The West Victoria RFA signed by the Bracks government is found to be less flexible that the East Gippsland RFA signed by the Kennett government.
The ALP ORIG paper pointed out that the West Victorian Regional RFA was NOT an improvement on the previous RFAs signed off by the previous Kennett government despite claims by the Bracks Labor government to the contrary.
The paper was drafted by ALP ORIG to primarily dismiss the Minister’s requirement that in order to protect Goolengook, environment groups had to agree to a swap for high conservation value forest that provided the same timber resource.
QUOTE FROM ALP ORIG PAPER:
“Trade-off” and Guidelines for Reviewing Management Zones:
NRE [now DSE] is not obligated to provide an alternative comparable timber source, out of protected or reserved areas or otherwise within the East Gippsland Forest Management Area to mitigate any loss to the timber industry arising out of a change in boundaries. Terms of the East Gippsland RFA must not be confused with terms contained in other Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).
The East Gipplsand RFA (completed February 1997) provides for more flexible management guidelines for reviewing of boundaries, compared with restraints imposed on shifting of boundaries within the Comprehensive Adequate and Representative (CAR) Reserve Systems in other Regional Forest Areas. A comparison with the West Victoria RFA (completed 31 March 2000) illustrates this point.
The West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement states:
“Industry Development -
69. Parties agree that any changes to the area of State Forest available for timber harvesting will not lead to a net deterioration in the timber production capacity of the forest.”
This is a substantial term of the Agreement. The section also includes reference to Sustainable Yield. Further, Attachment 1 - Management Guidelines states that proposed zone amendments will be assessed according to whether they:
“at least maintain the timber production capacity of State forest in terms of volume, species and quality.”
Importantly, there is no comparable substantive term or condition under Industry Development in the East Gippsland RFA prohibiting a “net deterioration in the timber production capacity of the forest” nor is there reference to Sustainable Yield in that section of the agreement. In fact, references to timber capacity production and sustainable yield only appear in the guidelines attached to agreement. The corresponding attachment in the East Gippsland RFA - Guidelines for Reviewing Management Zones states that proposed zone amendments will be assessed according to whether, amongst others, they:
“ensure there is no net deterioration in timber production capacity.”
‘Timber production capacity’ in the context of the East Gippsland RFA has a broad meaning and can refer simply to land area (hectares); there exists no obligation to replace timber lost to industry through changing of boundaries, with timber of the same volume, and/or species and/or quality as in the later West Victoria RFA.
The absurdity of the clause “in terms of volume, species and quality” is fully apparent with the Government maintaining that “Goolengook would have to be logged if the investigation failed to find an appropriate alternative supply of wood.” (The Age - 30/10/2002) It would seem that the government is intent on importing terms into the East Gippsland RFA that do not exist to justify a trade off in terms of volume, species and quality.
(The above interpretations by ALP ORIG were adopted by VEAC for the Goolengook investigation.)
In accordance with the state government’s 1999 election commitment, the Minister releases the Otway Forest Hydrology Project – Impact of Logging practices on Water Yield and Quality in the Otway Forests (prepared by Sinclair Knight Merz on instructions from DNRE)
Hydrology Report Part 1
Hydrology Report Part 2
Hydrology Report Part 3
According to the report, computer models were developed to simulate stream flow change with forest type and age. Three study catchments were selected to represent the main types of water supply catchments and hydrological conditions in the Otways. It concluded that without logging the average increase in the West Barwon catchment over 100 years is estimated to be about 1,650 ML per year, or less that 6% of the average annual flow, assuming no forest disturbance such as fire etc. Further, the study claimed to show that, on average, without logging the amount of available water would increase by about 1% of the average annual flow over a 100 year period.
It stated that modelling of average annual catchment yield changes over the next 100 years demonstrated that impacts due to logging in the West Barwon, Greater Arkins and St George catchments vary between a decrease of 1% of mean annual flow to an increase of 15% of mean annual flow [due to maturity of tree].
The report also stated, ‘Should no disturbance [logging, fire etc] occur to the forest cover, average annual yields will increase. For the West Barwon catchment, simulated yield was to have shown to have increased by up to 10% after 100 years. The corresponding increases in the Greater Arkins and St George catchments are 28% and 7% respectively.
OREN releases glossy 2000 Otway Ranges Calendar with heading Stop clearfell logging
Calendar distributed widely to promote the Otways campaign.
2000 – January 2001
Sabine Falls – there is intense public opposition to proposed logging of a Mountain Ash coupe adjacent to Sabine Falls (highest waterfall in Western Victoria)
The state government ignored community pleas to not log at Sabine Falls.
· The Sunday Age on 19/11/2000 ran a feature article about DNRE’s proposed logging of Sabine Falls - Rape of the Sabine? Call to save Otways for fellers (by Claire Miller) http://www.lexicon.net/~lis01101/Letters/20001119_01.htm
· Issue of logging at Sabine Falls was raised in State Parliament by Hon. P.A Katsambanis (29/11/2000)
· Surf Coast Shire passed a motion condemning scheduled logging at Sabine Falls (13/12/2000)
· In early January 2001, Forestry Victoria destroyed walking tracks constructed by activists to access waterfalls and forest. Environment groups including Doctors for Native Forests rebuilt the tracks with hand tools.
· Conservation representatives stressed that until an Action Statement for Habitat Fragmentation was completed, no logging should proceed.
ALP ORIG announces to ALP Head Office its intention to convene a meeting of ALP Members at Aireys Inlet (Great Ocean Road)
Global email was sent out to ALP members inviting them to attend at Aireys Inlet to initiate the ALP grassroots campaign to save the Otways with immediate focus on securing Sabine Falls.
State government Media Release - Garbutt Releases Otway Hydrological Study
Minster Garbutt claimed that in the Release that “the findings reinforce the Bracks Government’s commitment to achieving the right balance between conservation of our valuable forest resources and their sustainable utilisation.”
ALP ORIG meeting with the Minister’s Chief of Staff over Sabine Falls
Present at meeting, representing ALP ORIG - Nick Adams, Carol Wilmink, Sandra Skene, Davydd Griffths and Linsday Hesketh.
The Minister’s Chief of Staff, Rosemary Barker, maintained, despite public outrage, that DNRE would be logging Sabine Falls but that the timing depended on the Department’s timber requirements.
Poulton of ALP ORIG is contacted by representative of the Minister with a demand that the ALP ORIG Aireys Inlet meeting be called off
The Minister’s Office also:
· complained to ALP Head Office that ALP ORIG was not a constituent unit of the party and therefore ought not to exist; and
· telephoned ALP Members of Parliament urging MPs not to attend the Aireys Inlet meeting.
Minister’s Media Release announces a reprieve for Sabine Falls
Minister Garbutt is concerned about the potential impact of the imminent ALP ORIG meeting at Aireys Inlet and finally responds to public outcry over the scheduled logging at Sabine Falls by announcing in a Media Release a reprieve for Sabine Falls and the establishment of Otways Regional Forest Reference Group (previously advertised in August 2000 for expressions of interest)
See Minister’s Media Release –
New Otway Reference Group to Consider Sabine Falls
Minister Garbutt states, ‘One of the first tasks for the Group will be to consider the issue of timber harvesting in the vicinity of Sabine Falls’
Minister Garbutt also announced the constituency of the Regional Forest Reference Group for the Otways as comprising of:
· Chairperson - Dr Martin Westbrook - Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Ballarat
· Simon Birrell - Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN)
· Greg Hocking - Wye River Residents Action
· Anne Wallis - Environmental Scientist
· Graeme Saddington -
· Robert Missen -
· Robert Hutchinson -
· Ken McCallum -
· Stuart Toplis - Tourism Victoria
· Malcolm McDougall -
· Michael Murnane – ET & EW Murnane Pty Ltd
· David Colless – Calco Timbers Pty Ltd
· Steve Roffey -
· Allan Browning - Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative
· Sally-Anne Brown – Greens Party
· Gillian Blair- conservationist
ALP ORIG meeting proceeds in public hall at Aireys Inlet despite the Minister’s objection. The meeting is followed by a walk at Sabine Falls. Approximately 90 ALP members in attendance.
ALP Aireys Inlet Address
· Carol Wilmink (ALP)
· Trevor Poulton (ALP)
· Geoff Kennedy (ORWTA)
· Peter Loney (ALP MP,
· Lindsay Hesketh (ALP)
· Nick Adams (ALP)
Trans-Otway Walk Report
(Note – 20MB)
Extract of message delivered to audience by ALP ORIG:
‘We want to ensure that the unique natural assets of the Otways are preserved for the benefit of the public and for future generations. There is a state-wide interest in bringing clearfell logging to an end, and there needs to be a state-wide response within the Australian Labor Party.
This meeting represents the beginning of that state-wide response. The fight for the Otways will not only take place along the Surf Coast and Geelong. It will be in Melbourne, and it will be in Bendigo and Ballarat. It will be in Northcote, Fitzroy, Brunswick, Williamstown and Brighton. It will be wherever there are ALP Branches in the State of Victoria.’
Yorick Piper, ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee member and Assistant State Secretary of Timber Workers Division (CFMEU), protests at the meeting: ‘We cannot breach faith with timber communities and workers and throw heaps of them out of work. This campaign has potential to cause an internal blue within the Party, to cause a split.’
The Trans-Otway Walk Report (Otway Ranges Walking Track Association Inc, Nov 2000) was distributed at the meeting.
The meeting sent a strong message to the ALP and the Timber Workers Union that the ALP grassroots was raising the stakes within the party.
As pre-arranged, Simon Birrell of OREN was present at Sabine Falls after the meeting and guided ALP members to the falls pointing out Mountain Ash forest that had been scheduled on DNRE’s Wood Utilization Plan for logging. Doctors for Native Forests were present, restoring the walking track, when the convoy of ALP members arrived from the meeting.
MPs in attendance at the meeting – Peter Loney, Joanne Duncan, Glennys Romanes, Senator Barney Cooney. Other attendees included Michael Crutchfield (elected in 2002 as MP for South Barwon) and Mike Hill of VLGA.
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Sabine Falls win a reprieve
Sabine Falls win a reprieve (by Claire Miller) –
‘The Victorian Government has put on hold controversial plans to clearfell the forest surrounding the Sabine Falls in the Otway Ranges this summer.
Logging has been deferred pending a review by the community-based Regional Forest Reference Group for the Otways. The group, convened by the government in the face of mounting opposition to logging in the Otways, consists of 16 representatives from conservation groups, universities, local government, tourism bodies, water authorities and the timber industry.
Environment and Conservation Minister Sherryl Garbutt said in a statement that immediate plans to log the area around the falls were on hold while the group considered the issue of clearfelling and the development of the area for tourism and walking tracks.
The 130-metre Sabine Falls - the highest in the Otways - have become a rallying cause for a broad coalition of conservationists, bushwalkers, doctors, councillors and local business people alarmed at the impact of clearfelling on water catchments, tourism and wildlife.
The government's handling of forest issues is also causing increasing disquiet in ALP ranks, with about 100 people yesterday attending a meeting of the ALP Otways Ranges Interest Group in Airey's Inlet.
This group, formed last year as a non-factional network, seeks an end to clearfelling in the Otways, implementation of ALP eco-tourism policies and monitoring of future native forest industry developments in the region.
Yesterday's meeting at Airey's Inlet attracted representatives from country and Melbourne branches, including marginal regions such as Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat. Speakers included Geoff Kennedy, president of the Otways Ranges Walking Track Association, and Peter Loney, ALP member for Geelong North. It was followed by a picnic at Sabine Falls.
The group's representatives declined to comment yesterday, but Mr Kennedy said the network was a positive move on behalf of the ALP grassroots. "From our point of view, it can only help our cause," he said. "It has been a battle for us and other groups to be heard by the minister, and this group is hoping to influence her."
The Otways Ranges Walking Track Association wants a 70-kilometre Trans Otway Walk. It would link the Surf Coast Walk, ending at Lorne, and the Great Ocean Walk starting at Apollo Bay. The government supports such flagship walks to promote nature-based tourism along the Great Ocean Road.
But clearfelling 77 hectares across the Sabine Falls' headwaters and down a ridge to its west would cut a swath through the only possible route for the Trans-Otway Walk in that section. It would also destroy the view for proposed short walks through the Sabine area's gorges.’
2001 - 2002
During 2001 - 2002 ALP ORIG addresses ALP Branches –motions are passed by 33 ALP Branches to immediately end logging of Otways and are forwarded to Premier Bracks and to Labor Parliamentary Wing. 5 Branches oppose the motion.
Click: ALP_Branch motions_2001
The lobby group also participates in monthly ALP policy committee meetings evolving policy for the Otways.
Speakers at the ALP Branch meetings: Trevor Poulton, Lindsay Hesketh, Nick Adams. Presentations included a slide show (slides provided by OREN). Branch motions were forwarded to the Environment Minister and the Premier and gave greater exposure and legitimacy to the internal ALP campaign to end logging of the Otways placing pressure on the party and the Parliamentary wing.
33 ALP Branches that passed motions included Apollo Bay, Colac, Ocean Grove-Barwon Heads, Belmont and Warrnambool and Metropolitan Branches
ALP ORIG established a large supporter base within the ALP across the state including MPs, and orientated debate within the electorates of Melbourne through the conduit of ALP Branches.
DNRE Notice – Call for Consultancy: Examination of strategic public land recreation & tourism infrastructure priorities in the Otway Region
The notice reflects the government’s position that logging can co-exist with other industries in the Otways.
A consultation tender was sought by the state government to complete the vision contained in the Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism Development Plan (1996) and Nature Based Tourism: Directions & Opportunities – Tourism Victoria (2000). A key recreational stakeholder is identified as the Otway Ranges Walking Track Association (ORWTA).
Community walks hosted by environment groups (see pamphlet - A vision for the future – picnic at Triplet Falls)
Regular eco-walks and picnics were organised by community groups such as OREN and Doctors for Native Forests to promote the Otways campaign.
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Internal feud hits ALP over forests
Minister Garbutt attempts to discredit ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG)
Internal feud hits ALP over forests (by Claire Miller) –
‘Victorian Conservation and Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt has written to ALP branches in a bid to quash rising internal dissent over the government's handling of forests. Ms Garbutt wrote to branch secretaries this month after ALP head office distributed offers from the ALP Otways Ranges Interest Group to provide speakers at meetings.
The group, formed last year as a non-factional network, is seeking an end to clear-felling in the Otways, implementation of ALP ecotourism policies and monitoring of future native forest industry developments in the region. It is offering speakers to deliver a 15-minute presentation at branch meetings.
But in correspondence obtained by The Age, Ms Garbutt accuses the Otways group of misrepresenting some of the ALP's policy commitments. She urges members interested in forests to work through the party's conservation and environment policy committee. A spokeswoman for the minister said Ms Garbutt was not trying to stifle debate, simply urging it be conducted in the appropriate forums.
But the minister's move has angered the party, with sources saying they are concerned that the government is trying to stifle democratic processes in the face of mounting internal tension. The Otways group has since written to branches saying it was important that the Victorian ALP moved with the times and that clear-felling areas such as the Otways and converting forests into "woodchip-directed plantations" was neither sustainable nor acceptable.
"The growing strategic importance of responsible management of our native state forests is evidenced by the WA Labor Party's promise to end clear-felling in that state," the group states. It says Otways tourism is worth more than $800 million a year and is developing. "Forest-based tourism, as well as rebuilding a timber industry based on rational principles, will provide job growth which will more than offset job losses in the native forest timber industry," it says.
The group says it neither attempted to offend the minister nor criticise her capacity to manage her department, but it had to respond "unequivocally" to her attempt to discredit its members. Ms Garbutt's spokeswoman said there was always vigorous debate on future policy directions but the government would continue implementing its election commitments on forestry.’
Interim Victorian Plantation Management Position Statement is drafted by environment groups (Convenor - Serena O’Meley of West Victorian Forest Protection Network, Earthworker and Geelong Community Forum)
Serena O’Meley drafted an initial working document. The document was relevant to the Otways campaign as many environment groups spoke of the need for a transition out of the Otways native forests into plantations, including OREN and TWS, but had not developed a policy for ecologically sustainable development of plantations.
A meeting of environment groups took place at the then ACF offices in Fitzroy with an in principal interim position statement being adopted by the groups. However, despite peak groups arguing for a transition from native forests to plantations, there was resistance to developing a final draft and it appears no rigorous process has been pursued to finalise a common position on environmentally sustainable plantation management to date (apart from work done by people such as Anthony Amis of FOE).
Forest activists and locals oppose logging at Caincio Creek on Wait-a-While Road
A direction action campaign was commenced by conservationists and local residents to stop clearfell logging at the Ciancio Creek Coupe. Conservationists were concerned about the lack of adequate buffers between the edge of the logging operation and stands of Cool Temperate Rainforest at Ciancio Creek. The protest camp lasted for two weeks with around a dozen arrests.
See photos of Direct Action at Ciancio:
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Resident's Support Otways Protesters
Resident's Support Otways Protesters (by Claire Miller) - ARTICLE:
‘Business and resident groups along the Great Ocean Road are rallying to support protesters who yesterday succeeded in halting logging for a fourth day in a block bordering endangered Myrtle Beech rainforest in the Otways.
Business groups from Lorne and Apollo Bay and the Wye River Residents Action Group condemned Environment Minister Sherry] Garbutt for denying there was an agreement that the Ciancio block off Waitawhile Road, near Lavers Hill, would not be logged this season in return for peace in the Otways.
Ciancio is on a list of environmentally sensitive blocks drawn up during six months of negotiations between the timber union, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, conservationists and community representatives.
Ms Garbutt set up the consultation group to avoid a repeat of the violent blockades and tension widespread in the Otways in the 1999-2000 logging season. However, the department cancelled a final meeting to sign off the agreement last September and the group was never reconvened.
Lorne Business and Tourism Association president Michael Hoey, a member of the minister's group, accused Ms Garbutt of breaching the community's trust in her own process. He said people were furious and confrontation was now the only possible outcome.
Mr Hoey said the meetings revealed there was perhaps at best three years' worth of logs suitable for sawmilling left in the Otways, with the rest good only for woodchipping. "They are just taking the last remnants out," he said.
A spokeswoman for Ms Garbutt claimed the industry, department, union and minister never agreed to the list she said was tabled by the community and conservation representatives. She said the main conservation group, the Otway Ranges Environment Network, wanted an end to all logging "and their constant claims should be seen in that light" She said the department had no choice but to log Ciancio because conservationists rejected suggested alternatives. The main alternative was logging the Sabine Falls.
The stand-off between protesters and timber workers dragged into its fourth day yesterday, with no arrests. About 20 protesters are locked on to equipment. They claim the logging is illegal because it breaches measures to protect rainforest under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
Loggers blocked the public access road with trucks for just over an hour, but called off their counterblockade to allow firefighters to remove equipment from Ciancio to control a regeneration blaze set by the department elsewhere.
Ciancio borders old-growth mountain ash forest with a rainforest understorey, all undisturbed since European settlement.’
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Anger over water flyer
Anger over water flyer (by Claire Miller) - ARTICLE
The State Government has launched a campaign to persuade Geelong residents that logging in the Otways is not affecting their water supply.
This is despite a government commissioned report that concluded the city would gain 10 per cent more water over 100 years if forests were left undisturbed.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment this week began distributing a brochure that claims logging has a negligible impact on the present level of run-off and water quality for Geelong and Warnambool
But consultants Sinclair Knight Mertz concluded in a report released in January that run-off to Geelong would be 10 per cent higher by 2080 and 26 per cent higher for Warnambool if the forests aged naturally.
‘Two lobby groups, Lawyers for Forests and Doctors for Native Forests, accused the department of wasting money on "propaganda justifying its pro-logging position" Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt did not return calls.
Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) launches Forestry and National Competition Policy (2001) report prepared by Marsden Jacob for ACF
ACF employs a strategy to amplify concerns of environmental groups over subsidization of public forestry in regions such as the Otways by endorsing and promoting corporatization of public forestry to satisfy National Competition Policy.
The question remains as to whether this was a significant blunder by ACF and other peak environment groups such as TWS that embraced the strategy (despite resistance from other groups).
ACF submission re:VicForests September 2003
ALP Forest Working Party letter re: VicForests 15/09/2003
Draft Delivering Sustainable Forest Management Directions Paper 31/7/2003
FOE response to VicForests 16/09/2003
The ACF National Forest Campaigner’s primary brief was to lobby the state government to apply the Commonwealth-State 1995 National Competition Policy to public forestry operations in accordance with the RFA process. The former Liberal government had implemented the policy initially by transforming the commercial forestry section of DNRE into a separate agency within DNRE known as Forestry Victoria.
With the release of ACF’s Forestry and National Competition Policy (2001) Report, ACF argued for full separation through the corporatisation of public forestry. ACF gained support from TWS, with both peak environment groups believing that if public forestry had to compete with the plantation industry on a level playing field then public forestry would ultimately collapse.
Unsurprisingly, the Bracks Labor government also favoured the corporatisation model, and in 2002 announced in its Our Forests, Our Future policy the impending creation of VicForests which would operate as a separate state owned corporate entity designed to principally turn public forestry into a profitable enterprise for the government.
See - Defining, Identifying and Protecting Old-Growth Forest in Victoria, page 41 - http://www.goolengook.green.net.au/OldGrowthForestTPoultonAug06.pdf
Media Release from the Minister for Environment and Conservation -
Unsafe conditions continue to delay logging in Ciancio’s Coupe
Minister Garbutt released a statement that logging at Ciancio Creek was being suspended due to wet weather after five days of heavy rain.
See Minister’s Media Release
However, the suspension of logging is seen as a victory by residents and conservationists.
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Dissent grows in ALP over Otway
Dissent grows in ALP over Otways The Age 21/04/01
Article reports on increasing pressure applied by ALP ORIG within the ALP and on the State government to end logging of the Otways.
Dissent grows in ALP over Otways (by Claire Miller) -
Opposition in ALP ranks to the State Government's forest management is hardening, with members of a suburban branch voting this week to end clearfelling in the Otways and appealing to Premier Steve Bracks to show leadership. The non-factional ALP Otways Ranges Interest Group sent the April 17 motion passed by the Kilsyth-Mooroolbark branch to Mr Bracks, saying the party needed to resolve the matter and "we need your leadership".
In its presentation to the branch, the group said the ALP won the federal Ryan byelection on Green preferences after promising to end land clearing, while Labor won office in Western Australia promising to end logging in old-growth forests. It said the federal election and the fate of the Labor government at the next state election could also be determined by green votes.
"Still, the Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt, persists with clearfell logging, clearfelling areas around waterfalls, clearfelling catchments, clearfelling old-growth forest stands and mixed-species rainforests, and clearfelling potential environmental votes."
About 50 branches have invited the group to speak at meetings, despite an appeal by Ms Garbutt last month for branches to deal with forestry issues through the party's policy committees. The closing of ranks against Ms Garbutt came as the second week of a forest blockade near Lavers Hill in the Otways closed with no further arrests.
About 10 protesters are on platforms strung on cables between the trees to prevent their felling in the contentious Ciancio block, which borders endangered rainforest. Supporters are camped below them.
Logging crews were sent to Ciancio two weeks ago after Ms Garbutt denied she had agreed at meetings last year not to log contentious blocks in return for no blockading in other parts of the forest.
Members of the ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group have appealed to ALP branches, policy committees, MPs and factions to support a motion to the party's October state conference to end clearfelling in the Otways.
The Age (by Claire Miller) – Sparks threaten to ignite Victoria’s forestry tinderbox
Sparks threaten to ignite The Age 27/04/01
Minister Garbutt is under siege as a result of various forest conflicts.
Sparks threaten to ignite Victoria’s forestry tinderbox (by Claire Miller) –
‘ A downpour doused a political spotfire over logging deep in the Otways last weekend, just before it threatened to rage out of control. If only for a moment, embattled Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt was saved by the rain.
But the issues that fuelled the stand-off between logging protesters and the State Government remain red hot. A rising middle-class green consciousness; increasing scrutiny of the environmental credentials of all political players; the Labor party's inherent vulnerability, given its membership, to the jobs-versus-conservation rift; and a pending federal election.
As ALP veteran Lindsay Tanner warned the next generation at a Young Labor gathering this month, the party cannot afford to take the environment vote for granted. Only 30 per cent of voters choose the ALP as the best party to manage the environment, he observed - putting Labor a mere five percentage points above the Coalition. "The message is clear," Tanner told his audience. "In an era when green credentials have assumed critical importance, Labor's lead is not enough to make the environment a major political strength for the party.
"Environmental protest is no longer the exclusive preserve of conservation activists," Tanner said. "Business and communities whose livelihoods are threatened by inappropriate activity are at last beginning to make their voices heard. The Bracks Government would be wise to heed these voices."
The voices reached screaming point after decisions by Sherryl Garbutt provoked confrontations over logging in two contentious areas - the Wombat State Forest and the Otways - these past two months.
In the first case, dozens of residents of the central Victorian township of Trentham entered the forest to stop logging in the hunting territory of a pair of endangered powerful owls. The community, fighting for a 1000-hectare habitat reserve, was especially riled by ministerial claims the existing 500-hectare reserve was adequate. The reserve has only 200 hectares of mature forest - 300 under the legal requirement.
After a week, the logging crew left of its own accord, moving on to another part of the forest where they are getting bigger and better logs without community complaint.
In the second instance, protesters, supported by many Great Ocean Road businesses and residents, disrupted logging for two weeks in the Ciancio block. The block borders endangered rainforest, and a key concern was its vulnerability to a fatal fungal disease which logging helps to spread. The protesters accused Ms Garbutt of hypocrisy - in opposition she had demanded buffers of up to 350 metres between logging and rainforest. But in office, she was satisfied with 40 metres - just like the previous government.
Logging on the coupe breached what the protesters claimed was a peace deal mediated last year, and their anger boiled over when Ms Garbutt argued that the terms of the disputed deal had not been "universally recognised by the other stakeholders". There was no deal, she said.
Now all bets were off, and the situation reached crisis point earlier this month when protesters occupied the coupe so effectively that logging was suspended. When they came back, down came the rain.
The confrontations achieved little in the way of asserting Ms Garbutt's authority to manage the forests. But they did succeed in unifying an alliance of public interest groups including small-town business, local government, tourism operators, lawyers and doctors, conservation and recreational clubs. This eclectic movement shares the conviction that the government is determined to support logging at all social, economic, environmental - even political - cost.
Greg Hocking, the Athenaeum Theatre owner-turned-forest-activist, said it was impossible now for the community to deal with the minister in good faith. "Many of us are middle-class and experienced businesspeople who don't appreciate being treated like fools. She has burnt the moderates who were trying to give negotiation a go ... She can't be trusted."
How did it come to this? Of all the ministers in the Bracks Government, Ms Garbutt was one of the most experienced and best prepared for her portfolio when Labor unexpectedly won office.
She entered parliament in 1992 and was appointed shadow environment spokeswoman four years later, soon scoring points against her counterpart Marie Tehan and securing the support of community groups alarmed at the Kennett government's approach to forestry.
Ms Garbutt went into the 1999 election promising to reform forest management. She launched a policy pledging an independent audit of how the department set sustainable logging rates. Ms Garbutt was not available for an interview on these issues, but she said in a written response to questions that Labor was committed to involving the community in decision making, meeting the RFA criteria for conservation reserves, and supporting a sustainable timber industry and forests that are protected and managed for a range of forest values. "These were the Bracks Government's election platform, this is being delivered and there are no surprises." But 18 months later, Tim Anderson of the Wombat Forest Society echoes the disappointment of many community and conservation groups, claiming little has changed under Labor despite the promises.
Chris Tipler, a Collins Street corporate adviser and member of the Otway Ranges Environment Network, argues this is not surprising given that the minister is listening to the same people who advised the previous government. Within the department were timber industry "stooges" with a deep commitment to logging and who were used to running the show, he said.
"And I think the government, having signed the regional forest agreements in haste, now feels obliged to meet the licence commitments - but I think it is a fundamental misreading of the politics. If they paid out the mills and invested in tourism, people in the region would embrace the change."
Ms Garbutt rejects the criticism, saying she is committed to fostering a culture of change within the department in line with the Bracks Government's commitment to being open and transparent. But she remains hamstrung by the fraught nature of the relationship of Labor to green issues, with the party's support base divided between environmentalists and those who see jobs lost for every tree saved. Sources within the Victorian ALP say Ms Garbutt is compromised by her membership of the Labor Unity faction, which enjoys the financial support of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the timber industry. "It is all about woodchips," said one source. "It is all about winning the land back for the woodchip industry and they are using the little mills as their front."
Mutterings from the Victorian ALP's rank and file now urge an end to clear-felling in the Otways. In a presentation to branches, the strengthening non-factional ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group is arguing that the Otways $20 million timber industry is undermining jobs for the future in the region's burgeoning $1 billion tourism industry. "The minister needs to be reminded that the ALP holds the state seat of Geelong by only 14 votes, and that Labor wants to win the seat of Corangamite (in the Otways) at the next federal election," the group says in its literature.
ALP sources said federal Labor could intervene to break the factional deadlock at state level. "If federal Labor feel that what the people want is to pay out the timber industry, then they will do it.’
Letter from then ALP State Secretary (now Senator), David Feeney, applies pressure on ALP ORIG to curtail its activities
Letter from David Feeney, ALP State Secretary, to ALP ORIG:
‘As you are aware, Party Officers resolved unanimously that it is inappropriate for the abbreviation “ALP” to appear in your literature or material. I note from the attached document that you are persisting in using the abbreviation ALP ORIG. Unless this ceases immediately, I will personally charge you [Trevor Poulton] with breaching the Party’s Rules.’
The ALP State Secretary did not persist with the threat, and in fact he became a critical player during the 2002 state election campaign for carving out a policy to save the Otways.
Minister Garbutt clarifies to parliament that there was no agreement with OREN or any environment groups on logging ‘contentious coupes’
According to OREN website:
Ministers Garbutt stated in parliament (Hansard):
'-- There was no agreement in any shape or form. The honourable member for Polwarth also talked about additions to the contentious coupes. Protest groups have now added to their list of contentious coupes, which I also reject. So there is clearly no agreement between me and any protest groups about what will or will not be logged.'
Chris Tippler (OREN) releases report – Using economic arguments to win the conservation war.
Report circulated at Greens Forum Presentation convened by the Greens Party in Geelong
Otway Regional Forest Reference Group -
(Regional Forest Manager, Western Victoria) recommendation for Sabine Falls, prepared for Reference Group meeting (presumably one of many documents circulated by members of the group, with differing views)
Release of video documentary - Too Precious to Plunder, produced by Jenny Mitchell (©OREN 2001)
Jenny Mitchell of Wye River Residents Action Group produced a 13 minutes documentary on the impacts of clearfelling in the Otways.
Socialist Left (SL) Faction of ALP, (representing around 40% of ALP State Conference delegates) votes at its factional General Meeting at Trades Hall to end clearfell logging of the Otways
ALP ORIG gave a presentation to the ALP Socialist Left (SL) Faction of the ALP at Old Council Chamber, Trades Hall Building titled Otways Native Forests – Developing an SL position as part of a regional development policy.
Approximately 100 ALP members were present including union representatives. The presentation included screening the video Too Precious to Plunder. ($700 was donated to ALP ORIG by Jenny Mitchell of the Wye River Residents Action Group for hiring of video projector equipment.)
The Socialist Left faction passed the following motions:
1. That the Victorian ALP Socialist Left adopts a policy to end clearfell logging of native State forests in the Otway Ranges forthwith, with comprehensive support measures, including retraining, for the workers affected.
2. That the SL supports the work of the Conservation & Environment Policy Committee in developing a comprehensive policy to end clear fell logging in Victoria.
In an expression of their loyalty to the Minister’s position, the now current MP Johan Scheffer, another MP Liz Beattie and ironically, the Secretary of the Conservation & Environment Policy Committee, Marg Lewis, were the only members to vote against the motion to end logging of the Otways.
ALP ORIG, having gained support of the Socialist Left Faction (controlled by Senator Kim Carr), gave notice that it would be taking the resolution to the ALP State Conference.
Otway Ranges Walking Track Association (ORWTA) convenes meeting of stakeholders.
Meeting of The Sabine Forum – a Meeting of Otway Community Interest Groups held at Wye River Surf Life Saving Club, Wye River and convened by ORWTA.
Present: Geoff Kennedy, John Spencer, Frank Parsons (ORWTA); Les Noseda (Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism); Tony Webber, Doug Bartram (Otway Forum); Hans Fank.Hanel (Otway Planning Association); Margaret MacDonald, Evelyn Jones (Friends Angahook-Lorne); Cyril Marriner (Otway Scenic Circle Association); Geoff Holbery-Morgan (ANGAIR); Cr Glenda Shomaly (Surf Coast Shire); David Rimmer, Fay Rimmer (VicWalk); Cherry' Smith (Wye River Residents Action Group); Carol Wilmink (Otway Barham Landcare Group); Gavan McFadzean (The Wilderness Society); Lucy Turner, Andrew Walker (Lawyers for Forests); Nigel Strauss, John Piesse (Doctors for Native Forests); Arnelia Young, Simon Birrell (Otway Ranges Environment Network); Bear Golasson (Future Rescue); Sally-Anne Brown (Greens Party);
Apologies: Julie Hanson, Fiona Nelson, Michael Hoey, Greg Hocking, Jenny Mitchell
The Minutes of the Meeting dealt with a range of issues regarding logging of the Otways. In particular, the minutes refer to OREN’s controversial negotiations with the Minister’s Office as follows:
On the matter of schedules, OREN did negotiate with the DNRE over the coups to be logged. However, OREN is not prepared to do a similar deal for the coming season. Part of the logging program proposed is near Cool Temperate Rain Forests, with the real danger of Myrtle Wilt die back affecting the Forests. Buffer zones of up to 250m are required rather than the existing 40m, On this issue OREN will arrange a public meeting later in the year.
(Note: OREN did continue to negotiate with the Minister’s Office with offers of a ‘truce’.)
The meeting unanimously resolved to demand that the State government and the DNRE and all other responsible management authorities:
1. Cease all clear fell logging of the Otway State Native Forests immediately.
2. Ban clear fell logging on public land and State Native Forests in the Otways.
3. Ban all logging in designated water catchment areas in the Otways.
OREN report circulated - Are sawlogs a by-product of the woodchip Industry in the Otway State Forest
Irving Saulwick & Associates conducts A Quantitative Study of Corangamite Voter Attitudes on clearfell logging in the Otways, which is commissioned by ALP ORIG.
Donations towards ALP ORIG’s costs of $11,300 for the poll included from ACF and Chris Tippler of OREN
Poll questions are drafted by ALP ORIG members with assistance from Geoff Lazarus, then member of the ALP and now Greens Party member. The questions are drafted specifically in a form typical of political party polling, to give it greater relevance for politicians.
Whilst logging of forests comes predominantly under State jurisdiction due to the RFA process, the poll was invaluable for providing an environmental platform during the 2001 federal election to apply political pressure on the Bracks Government in the lead up to the 2002 State election.
Analysis of results of “A Quantitative Study of Corangamite Voter Attitudes”
Between 20-22 September 2001, Irving Saulwick & Associates conducted an independent poll of 800 random Corangamite voters’ attitudes to clearfell logging of the Otways. The poll was titled A Quantitative Study of Corangamite Voter Attitudes. It was conducted by Saulwick & Associates for ALP ORIG.
The Saulwick poll drawing on a random sample of 800 Corangamite voters showed:
A substantial majority of electors in Corangamite oppose the clearfelling of native forests in the Otways:
· 69% of all voters oppose it, of whom half (35%) oppose it strongly.
· I9% of all voters support it, of whom only 3% support it strongly.
Opposition to clearfell logging is drawn from all the main parties:
· 60% of Coalition voters oppose it,
· 76% of Labor voters oppose it,
· 89% of Democrat voters oppose it, and
· 100% of Greens voters oppose it.
· 72% of voters yet to determine which party they will vote for (21% of all voters) are opposed to it
A substantial minority of voters say that if either the Labor party or the Liberal National parties were to announce a move to end clearfell logging of native forest in the Otways this would make them more likely to vote for them.
· 34% of all voters assert this,
· 21% of Liberal voters assert this,
· 39% of Labor voters assert this,
· 64% of Democrat voters assert this,
· 67% of Greens voter assert this,
· 50% of other parties voters assert this,
· 38% of ‘Independent” voters assert this,
· 43% of voters who don’t know for whom they will vote also assert this.
Only 5% of all voters would be less likely to vote for a party who advocated the ending of clearfell logging.
Of the Coalition voters who are swinging voters 31% say that they are more likely to vote for a party that moves to end clearfell logging in the Otway Ranges.
An examination of all the various tables in the independent Saulwick poll showed that Labor would have a greater chance to win the seat of Corangamite at the 2001 Federal election if the Federal Labor Party had announced (jointly with the State government) a policy to end clearfell logging of the Otways.
The poll was made available to the ALP State Secretary and to the Federal Campaign Committee by ALP ORIG on 4 October 2001.
Geelong Advertiser – Council outlaws clearfell timber
Council outlaws clearfell timber
‘Surf Cost Shire Council will refuse to buy building products from suppliers involved in clearfell logging in the Otway Ranges.’
(Council lobbied by Simon Birrell and Chris Tippler of OREN)
NRE completes A Study of Old-growth Forests of West Victoria
ALP ORIG meets with the ALP Federal candidate for Corangamite, Michael Bjork-Billings and Campaign Director Joe Taylor and provides them with the Saulwick Poll. Bjork-Billings agrees to support ALP ORIG’s forest campaign within the ALP and use the Saulwick Poll for his Federal election campaign (although noting as a result of the RFA process, logging native forest has primarily become a State public land use issue)
Logging of Otways became a prominent issue during the local Federal election campaign with candidates debating the issue in public halls and through newspapers, radio and TV.
See Geelong Advertise article by Tony Prytz – Otway logging poll challenge (30/10/01). Also Geelong Advertiser - Union mauls ALP man which commences, ‘A major split has developed between a powerful union and ALP Corangamite candidate Michael Bjjork-Billings after he pledged to end clearfelling in the Otways.’
See further articles below.
ALP ORIG meets with ALP State Secretary, David Feeney, and presents the Saulwick Poll
( Note: In 2002 Feeney runs the 2002 ALP State Election Campaign Committee and is instrumental in Labor adopting the policy to end logging of the Otways)
The Saulwick poll was made available to ALP Federal Campaign Committee at a meeting between Trevor Poulton, Lindsay Hesketh and Nick Adams of ALP ORIG, ALP Corangamite candidate Bjork-Billings and his campaign manager Joe Taylor and State Secretary David Feeney (now Federal Senator) and Deputy State Secretary, Daniel Andrews (now Victorian Minister for Health).
Feeney compared the Saulwick Poll with Labor’s election committee polling on logging of the Otways. Labor’s own polling (which involved a significantly smaller sample of Corangamite voters) showed that 59% were opposed to clearfell logging of native forests in the Otways. The Saulwick Poll which stated 69% were opposed to clearfell logging was more authoritative due to the form of questions and the larger sample of voters.
OREN’s Third ‘Offer of Truce’
The Otway Regional Forest Reference Group (which also forwarded OREN’s Recommended Memorandum of Understanding on 11/9/2000 to the Minister) sends letter to Minister Garbutt conceding to logging of native forests until adequate plantation resources become available, but subject to reconsideration by DNRE of logging coupes identified by OREN as contentious for the logging period 2001/2004. Letter signed by Professor Westbrooke.
OREN delivers a list of Contentious Coupes for deferral of logging at the end of October 2001.
The following extract from a letter forwarded to Minister Garbutt from the reference group states:
‘Further, the Group made a commitment to work with staff of your department to assist with development of strategies to enable such transition (from native forest into plantation) to take place in a manner which recognises industry, sociological, environmental and economic realities....
(a) The Otway Regional Forest Reference Group recommends that the State Government support the establishment of sufficient hardwood sawlog plantations in the Otway region to yield at least 30,000m3 per annum of D Grade and better sawlogs on a sustainable basis, enbabling a transition from the existing native forest resource to hardwood plantation resources as these become available.
This motion was passed unanimously.
(b) The Otway Regional Forest Reference Group recommends that until adequate plantation resources become available, timber harvesting in the Otways continue in accordance with the arrangements established by the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement and that, in particular, that the coupes identified in the 2001/2004 Otway FMA Wood Utilisation Plan (subject to reconsideration of coupes identified by this committee prior to the end of October 2001 for which suitable substitution can be found) be harvested as planned.
The motion was passed with nine in favour and one against.
ALP ORIG’s Saulwick Poll is publicly released and covered by Geelong Advertiser (by Wade Pearce) – Labor eyes upset after Corangamite logging poll – FOREST VOTES THE KEY
The article appeared on the front page of the Geelong Advertiser and included a table extract of the Poll providing key findings and included the following: ‘The Saulwick poll, conducted in September, also revealed many conservative voters were likely to support a major party that moved to end clearfelling in the Otways.’ And, ‘Mr Bjork-Billings said “The Otways timber industry must move into plantations, despite the threat of job losses.”’
Bjork-Billings commitment gave significant institutional support within the ALP for ending logging in the Otways, and put the Otways’ campaign in good stead for the 2002 state election.
The Sunday Age (by Paul Heinrichs) - Pain in lumber region as MP jumps the gun
Pain in lumber region as MP jumps the gun (by Paul Heinrichs) - EXTRACT:
Labor's federal candidate for Corangamite is risking tension with the Bracks Government by releasing and backing a poll demanding the end of clear felling in the Otway Ranges. The candidate, Michael Bjork-Billings, who needs a 4.5 per cent swing to take the officially marginal seat, did not consult his party's Minister for Conservation and Environment, Sherryl Garbutt, before releasing the poll. But he said he believed her office knew about the poll results.
Commissioned by the informal ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group, the Saulwick poll of 800 people shows nearly 70 per cent want to end clear felling, with majority opposition across all age, gender, income and political groupings. Even in the timber industry town of Colac, more people oppose clear felling (45 per cent) than support it (38 per cent). "Myself and many others have been campaigning within the Labor Party to protect the Otways for a number of years," Mr Bjork-Billings said. "This poll was commissioned to demonstrate to government the need to move in this direction."
Although opposing clear felling, he does not totally oppose logging, arguing that sawlogs can still be taken and job losses in the timber industry kept to a minimum. It could also be done with the regional forests agreement process, in which there was now a review of harvesting practices. Mr Bjork-Billings wants a transition to a more plantation-based softwood and hardwood industry.
Geelong Advertiser (by Ward Pearce) - Forest pledge angers loggers
Article reflects increasing tension between Timber Workers Division of CFMEU and ALP members opposing logging in the Otways.
Forest pledge angers loggers (by Ward Pearce) –
‘Timber workers yesterday blasted Corangamite ALP candidate Michael Bjork-Billings for demanding an end to clearfell logging in Otways native forest.’
‘The Saulwick poll, commissioned by the ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group, was being used to shore up support within the state ALP for an end to clearfelling in Otways native forests as well as arguing the case for change federally.’
Minister Garbutt’s spokesman Ben Hart states, ‘Our [current] policy also recognises there are some not-so good things about clearfelling and that is being looked at as part of our review.’
The Age (by Claire Miller) -Logging pressure on Labor
Logging pressure on Labor (by Claire Miller) -ARTICLE:
Minor parties are withholding crucial preferences from Labor's candidate in the marginal Victorian seat of Corangamite, despite the popularity of his call for an end to clear-felling of forests in the Otways region.
Candidates for the Democrats, Greens and Liberals for Forests welcomed Michael Bjork-Billings' stand against clear-felling in the electorate, in the state's south-west, but said it meant little if the ALP did not change its forest policies.
Minor-party preferences could affect the outcome in Corangamite, where logging and its impact on water catchments, tourism and endangered species.is a key issue.
A Saulwick poll commissioned by the informal ALP Otways Ranges Interest Group found 69 per cent of voters wanted an end to clear-felling. Of the 21 per cent of undecided voters, almost three-quarters wanted the practice to stop.
The Greens and Liberals for Forests candidates, Iain Lygo and Dr Nigel Strauss, said Mr Bjork-Billings would receive their preferences if the ALP guaranteed an early end to logging in the Otways. Democrats candidate Robyn Hedge has split preferences on her how-to-vote card between the ALP and the Liberal Party.
But the State Government and federal ALP yesterday indicated there would be no policy change. A spokesman for the shadow forestry and conservation minister, Laurie Ferguson, said Mr Bjork-Billings was expressing a personal view and had no authority to make promises.
He said the ALP understood forestry practices needed to improve, but any changes had to be implemented under the Commonwealth-state regional forest agreements. These agreements allow unlimited woodchip exports without federal approval.
A spokesman for Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said a review of logging was being undertaken but there were no plans for a transition from native forests to plantations.
Mr Bjork-Billings said Corangamite's future lay in tourism. "The timber industry in this area would be best served by an expansion in hardwood and softwood timber plantations," he said.
"If there is proper consultation and partnership between state and federal governments to redirect employment in the Otways, there will be jobs created in the medium to long term."
The Liberal Party's Stewart McArthur holds Corangamite by 4.5 per cent. In 1998 he won 46 per cent of the primary vote, followed by Mr Bjork-Billings with 36 per cent, The Greens and Democrats won a combined 9.5 per cent, while One Nation polled 5.5 per cent. Liberals for Forests is a new party formed this year to offer conservative voters a green alternative.
DNRE releases report by Prof J Vanclay and Dr D Turner of the Expert Data Reference Group - Evaluation of Data and Methods for estimating the Sustainable Yield of Sawlogs in Victoria (‘Vanclay Report’)
The report finds that logging in the Otway Forest Management Area is sustainable. This represents a setback for the campaign.
Resource security had been provided by the introduction of fifteen year hardwood licences which were subject to sustainable yield rates enshrined in section 52D of the Forest Act.
The Expert Data Reference Group was created by DNRE to report on the reliability of resources data as a basis for long-term wood supply commitments.
Although the report recommended an overall 31% reduction in the sustainable yield across Victoria (leading to the closure of around 35 mills and loss of 600 jobs), the report found that logging in the Otway Forest Management Area was sustainable and therefore there was to be no further reduction of the sustainable logging yield for the Otways since the signing of the West Victoria RFA.
(See 21/2/2002 - state government response to Vanclay Report)
Federal election result - the Howard Liberal government retains power; the Labor Party fails to win Corangamite
The sitting Liberal Federal member Stewart McCarthur received 47.4% of votes and 55.4% after distribution of preferences, Bjork-Billings received 33.2% and 44.6% after preferences, Iain Lygo of the Greens Party received 6.4% and Dr Nigel Strauss of Lawyers for Forests received 2.5%.
The Federal ALP did not make any commitment to ‘saving’ the Otways despite Bjork-Billings’ personal commitment. However, his efforts represented another key turning point for applying pressure within the Labor Party for forest reform.
(Note: Corangamite had been a conservative seat since 1931 and was finally won by Darren Cheeseman of the Labor Party at the 2007 Federal election. Labor won the seat with strong preferences from the Greens Candidate, Fiona Nelson who received nearly 8% of the votes.)
ALP ORIG report to ALP Admin Committee – Incapacity of ALP Policy Committees to resolve Otways Policy Debate
The report identified continual obstructionism within ALP policy committees including:
· Concealing by the Secretary of the Conservation & Environment Policy Committee (Marg Lewis) of resolutions passed by ALP Branches calling for an end to clearfell logging of the Otways
· Constant resistance and obstruction by the Executive of the Economics Policy Committee and Labor government staff (most notably, now Labor MP for Yan Yean, Danielle Green) to forming a subcommittee to develop a policy for regional economic and industrial development of South West Victoria which would take into account the positive and negative impacts of ending logging of the Otways.
ALP ORIG Website set up with assistance from Serena O’Meley (now archived on www.alporig.green.net.au )
The website was launched in readiness for the ALP State Conference in May 2002 and to further promote the campaign internally within the ALP to MPs, ALP general members and Unions.
Warrnambool City Council passes a motion opposing logging of its water catchments
Councillors were lobbied by OREN and referred to the SKM Otways Hydrology Study. Warrnambool City Council passed a motion opposing all logging and clearfelling of native forest in the South West Water Catchment area of the Otways immediately and the construction of a new road to a logging camp in the lower Arkins Creek area.
The Age (by Claire Miller) – ALP members seek an end to Otways logging
ALP members seek an end to Otways logging The Age 9/12/01
ALP members seek an end to Otways logging (by Claire Miller) –
The article added further tension within the ALP. It stated, ‘The ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group will move a resolution to end clearfelling by June 2002 (in the Otways). Minister Garbutt responded that it is ‘logical that some parts of the ALP would reflect community support to phase out logging in the Otways.’
OREN releases 2002 Calendar Stop clearfell logging the Otways
The calendar was circulated widely throughout the community.
“The Common Position” –
ALP ORIG convenes meeting of stakeholder groups to develop and endorse a Common Base Position Statement
Common Position Statement for the Otways 12/2/2002
Also see Appendix “A”
Groups present include ALP ORIG, ACF, OREN, Greens Party, TWS, Geelong Community Forum, Liberals for Forests, Doctors for Native Forests.
On 13 January 2002 ALP ORIG writes to stakeholder groups that:
‘If all the organisations are willing to project a Common Position, we have a chance of achieving not only some small inevitable gains in the Otways but an historic victory.’
(See 20/2/2002 - release of Common Base Position Statement)
A meeting of stakeholder groups was set up by ALP ORIG (held ACF’s former Fitzroy premises) to establish a Common Position to challenge the state government’s policy over logging of the Otways. Up until this time, environment and community groups had not reconciled their differing and diverging views on strategies and objectives for ending native forest logging in the Otways (especially OREN which had differentiated itself with its series of ‘deals’ with the Minister’s Office on logging of coupes and series of non-endorsements of Direct Direction).
The following is a summary of the different strategies of some of the groups, as expressed by them at the meeting (and referred to in a letter from ALP ORIG to the groups dated 13/1/2002 attaching a draft of the Common Position Statement).
(The summary was made from notes taken at the meeting by the Convenor, Trevor Poulton, but may not exactly reflect the actual positions of the groups.)
· ALP ORIG, Australian Democrats and Doctors For Native Forest – end clearfell logging of the Otway State Forest and reserves. The strategy is about rising above the RFAs rather than negating them, which immediately alienates politicians. The emphasis is on silvicultural management practices with the knowledge that once the government decides to end clearfell logging it will end logging totally, as clearfell logging is the only form of logging acceptable to the timber industry in the Otways terrain and it is the form that deliver woodchips. The reform process involves operating within the RFA and under the Forest Act, and provides that fundamental reform will rely on a commitment by the state government to end clearfell logging in the Otways, followed by legislating for the state forest to be protected as National Park.
· OREN, The Wilderness Society, and Liberals for Forests - emphasis on a transition from logging native forests to plantations with concurrent creation of a new CAR Reserve, principally on the whole of the southern face of the Otway State Forest and some on the northern face in contentious areas. This involves a focus on land tenure. It does not exclude clearfell logging in parts of the northern face. The strategy would require scientific justification for creating the new reserves under the RFA guidelines.
· Geelong Environment Council (GEC) (not present at meeting but ascertained from discussions) – create a new National Park on the southern face of the Otway State Forest, and new reserves on the northern face. GEC’s principle strategy is to garner popular public support for converting the southern side into an expanded National Park.
· Greens Party – end all native forest logging in the Otway State Forest at the end of the 2002/2003 logging season or thereafter. The policy negates the RFA system.
· ACF – drive the native hardwood timber industry out of native forests including the Otways through pressuring the Federal and State governments to end subsidization of the native timber industry. Also call for the commercial forestry functions to be removed from DNRE control and corporatize public forestry, with an assumption that public forestry will not be able to compete with the plantation sector without government subsidization.
Geelong Advertiser (by Scott Morton) – Green lobby unites
Article refers to Common Base Position Statement developed by ALP ORIG to pressure the ALP to change its policy at May 2002 ALP State Conference
Letter from Minister Garbutt to Otway Regional Forest Reference Group (including OREN) responds to letter of the reference group’s ‘truce’ proposal on 22/10/2001and advises that any transition to plantations ‘would take some time to achieve.’
Minister Garbutt letter included:
‘Your advice in relation to a transition from native forests to plantations is couched in the context of reducing conflict over continued timber production in native forests. However, it is not clear that Government or industry acceptance of the principle of transition will translate into reduced conflict, specifically the cessation of blockading forest operations. This is particularly the case if, as I expect, a transition would take some time to achieve and that continued access to native forest timber resources will be necessary in the interim.
Email from Secretary of Electrical Trades Union, Dean Mighell, to ALP ORIG
The email reflected divisions in union movement with CFMEU (Timber Workers Division) over logging of native forests. ‘The ETU fully supports your stance on Otways logging. Clearfell logging must stop in the Otways.’
The Age (by Claire Miller) - Peace Deal Over Logging of Otways
OREN’s Third ‘Offer of Truce’ is accepted by the Minister’s Office
The article reveals OREN’s third ‘deal’ with the government. The deal must be read in conjunction with the letter of offer sent to the Minister via the Otway Regional Reference Group dated 22/10/2001.
The article states that the government has entered into a deal with ‘conservationists’ whereby ‘conservationists’ would not interfere with crews logging six blocks in water catchment areas (included on OREN’s list of contentious coupes) in exchange for the government deferring road plans and deferring logging in the remaining 34 contentious coupes out of its original list of 45.
On this occasion, a spokesman for Minister Garbutt confirms that a deal has been entered into.
However, by April 2002, the Ministers Chief of Staff, Phil Martin, advises Simon Birrell of OREN that NRE requires a further two or three more ‘contentious coupes’ to meet the licence quotas for the 2002 logging season. (See 11/4/2002 - Otways logging battle set to ignite.)
More than likely, the OREN strategy produced a split within OREN, as it seems highly improbable that many of OREN’s longstanding activists would have endorsed a strategy to oppose Direct Action, particularly when the strategy did not involve any substantial or definitive commitment by the state government to end logging of the Otways.
Peace Deal Over Logging of Otways (by Claire Miller) -
State Government deal struck with protesters
The State Government and conservationists have struck a peace deal over logging in the Otways.
Under the deal, conservationists will not interfere with crews logging six blocks in water catchment areas in return for the government deferring road plans and logging in 34 other environmentally sensitive blocks.
The list of deferred blocks includes an area containing mixed old growth and rainforest on Hills Ridge, where conservationists used a blockade to bring logging to a standstill this week.
A spokesman for the Environment and Conservation Minister, Sherryl Garbutt, said all parties were to be congratulated on the deal.
‘This is proof of what can happen if people sit down at the table and thrash out the issues,’ he said.
The deal came as unrest continued to bubble in East Gippsland. Several activists were arrested on Wednesday when police and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment officers broke up a blockade near Bonang River.
Fiona York, of the Goongerah Environment Centre Office, said conservationists were open to negotiating an end to blockades in return for deferring logging in contentious areas such as tiger quoll habitat.
A departmental spokeswoman said discussions had been held with protesters and the department looked forward to further talks.
An Otway Ranges Environment Network spokesman, Simon Birrell, said the compromise meant the government could meet its timber licence commitments but blockades could be easily reimposed if the deal was breached.
Mr Birrell said he hoped the government would reduce the pressure to log contentious areas in the Otways by not renewing sawmill licences falling due mid-year.
The suggestion alarmed David Colless, managing director of Calco Timber, a Colac sawmill whose licence is up for renewal. He said he had had no news on his licence renewal and the uncertainty was shocking. ``We can't install new equipment or make any investment at all because we don't know where things are going,'' Mr Colless said.
Mick Murnane, chairman of the Otways' largest sawmill, ET &EW Murnane, said it was unfair for protesters to stop contractors doing an honest day's work. He said the environment network and industry had agreed in a community reference group to a transition out of the forest, but it would take 50 to 60 years to establish plantations.
According to OREN website:
Halls Ridge logging was stopped with no protest arrests after OREN negotiated with the State government to avoid logging contentious areas in the Otways for the remainder of the season.’
As a part of the OREN ‘deal’, OREN agreed to logging of 6 coupes including Head Cold Coupe and Dunse Track Coupe, leading to protests by community and conservation groups led by people such as Cameron Steele of Geelong Community Forum (and Democrats)
ALP ORIG emails stakeholders involved in establishing the Common Position Statement, and stresses the imperative of the groups distinguishing themselves from OREN’s ‘peace deal’ with the Minister’s Office.
ALP ORIG emailed stakeholders (including OREN) recommending urgency for endorsing the draft Common Base Position Statement in light of OREN’s dealings with the Minister’s Office.
COPY OF EMAIL:
Dear Groups/Political Parties
Attached is the 3rd and final draft of the "Memorandum of Common Position for the Otways" after incorporating all views expressed by you.
1. Inclusion of a Disclaimer on the front page to protect independence of each organisation.
2. ‘Transition Period’ has been amended to “Interim Provisions”
3. The Addendum that referred to OREN's anticipated list of areas for Reserves has been removed. OREN has indicated that it is yet to formulate an official list, and at any rate, as part of its strategy it does not want to disclose the areas to the Government at this point in time.
The Common Position now simply consists of 7 demands. It allows the Groups/Parties to project a united position on the Otways, which is essential if we are going to win this war. Simultaneously, it allows flexibility for each Group/Party to go on and propound its particular policies and vision, and ‘flesh out’ its proposed reforms as well as time frames, for ending all logging.
A recent development, of which most of you would be aware, is that OREN has signed an agreement with the State Government which OREN describes as a "truce". This truce has involved agreeing to DNRE logging 6 out of 10 contentious coupes (including 3 in water supply catchments) during the current logging season, and also an agreement to end all blockading for this logging season. In exchange, the government has promised to defer logging of Hills Ridge coupe and not construct a planned new logging road. (There also appears to be intimation of future promises or assurances which are unclear.) Simon Birrell was quoted in The Age as saying, the truce “means that the government can now meet its timber licence commitments,” this season.
As a result of the agreement, the 40 contentious coupes, which had previously represented the line in the sand for the environment movement, have now suddenly been reduced to 34. From one perspective, this represents a shift in OREN's strategy. Considering NGOs ultimately have similar environmental objectives and are working in with OREN, it is important that OREN clarifies the rationale and purpose of the new "agreement" as soon as possible. (A copy of relevant news articles are attached in an email to follow).
Regardless of the viability of OREN’s strategy, without a doubt, Minister Garbutt will now use the truce to dismiss any environmental/economic objections to imminent logging of the contentious areas, and will disparage any future objectors as irresponsible and out of tune with the community and general conservation groups. (Garbutt has already referred to the OREN agreement, through the media, to slam the invasion of DNRE building last Friday by frustrated Wombat Forest activists.)
There is also a danger that the OREN agreement may have impact on the capacity of the minor parties to apply political leverage through preference negotiations during the lead up to the forthcoming State election. Labor’s Campaign Committee (knowing them) will simply argue that logging the Otways is now of little electoral significance as it has been resolved for this year.
The political landscape is now such that it is more necessary than ever that the other high profile organisations articulate a united position. Our objections, protests, lobbying, and political & community actions will need to be understood and justified in terms of a logical and defensible unified set of demands, such as through a Common Position, that differentiate us from the OREN agreement. If we do not operate within such a framework, we WILL be dismissed as rabble.
This does not, however, have to mean undermining OREN’s achievements and its own current strategy for dealing with the Minister’s office.
With the forthcoming election, this year provides a tremendous opportunity to shift the government and win the war. Could you please provide your final response to the proposed Common Position as soon as reasonably practical, in order to keep the momentum going.
Yours in solidarity
Australian Democracts Senator, Lyn Allison, condemns deal between Minister Garbutt and OREN
Click: Docs ORENs contentious coupes strategy
Media Release from Senator Lyn Allison -
Otways deal disappointing
The Democracts today criticised the deal negotiated by the Victorian State Government, effectively forcing Otways’ forest protection groups to agree to more logging of Geelong’s West Barwon water catchment.
Lyn Allison, Democrats’ Senator for Victoria, said “Minister Garbutt may have saved Hills Ridge from clear fell logging but the trade-off of primary water catchment coupes such as ‘Head Cold” will cost Geelong dearly.
The Age - Loggers blockade city in protest
Protest by unionists and loggers outside parliament is linked to OREN’s most recent ‘deal’ with the government
Loggers blockade city in protest -ARTICLE:
About 30 logging trucks blocked traffic along Melbourne's Spring Street today as timber workers and carters protested about being left out of negotiations on a peace deal with conservationists.
Under the deal struck last week, the government agreed to defer plans to log 34 contentious coups in the Otways in return for unhindered access to another six.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) assistant federal secretary Michael O'Connor said forest workers were outraged they had not been consulted about the deal.
"We think it's our right to be consulted if people are going to discuss our future," he said.
"We've got more right to be consulted than a bunch of conservationists who've been victimising our members for the last four or five years. We've got a right to have our voice heard as well."
Wye River Residents Action Group spokesman Greg Hocking said the protest demonstrated how much of the forests were being destroyed for wood chips.
"This is a fantastic display by the logging industry of our forests going off to woodchip," he said.
"Every single truck here today is headed to the woodchip mill."
Mr Hocking said the union had enjoyed a stranglehold on forestry policy for the past 30 years and was unable to accept that other members of the community now had a strong involvement in what happened in the forests and water catchments.
A union delegation met with members of Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt's staff following the protest.
A spokesman for Ms Garbutt said sections of the logging industry were consulted about the peace deal, but the CFMEU was informed of the deal immediately after it was struck.
He defended the agreement, saying it would ensure timber workers access to the forest.
"The bottom line is the contractors got hardly any wood out of the Otways last season, and we brokered a deal that will allow them to get their allotted wood out this season," he said.
Head Cold coupe protest is organised by Cameron Steele.
Photoshot with banner followed by a briefing from Simon Birrell from OREN on the politics involved in securing the Otways future
· Cameron Steele referred to the significance of the government’s Otways Hydrology Study in showing that clearfell logging does have an impact on water catchment yields and quality.
· Simon Birrell of OREN explained to around 80 protesters and residents at the clearfelled coupe the need to negotiate with the government on sacrificing 6 contentious coupes to secure coupes it considered had higher conservation value.
· ALP ORIG member, Poulton, addressed protesters stating that there should have been no agreement to log the coupe, and produced the endorsed Common Base Position Statement describing the document as the Magna Carta of the Otways, and invited protestors to attend outside the ALP State Conference for a Forest Rally being organised by TWS, ACF and FOE
Release of Framework for ending logging within Otway State Forest - Memorandum of Common Position Statement drafted by ALP ORIG and endorsed by peak Environment and Community Groups and Political Groups
Common Position Statement for the Otways 12/2/2002
Also see Appendix ‘A’
The Common Position Statement was circulated to the Premier Bracks, MPs, ALP Head Quarters, ALP Branch members and made available for circulation by the endorsing groups for their own campaigns.
Critical to winning over the government and politicians, the framework clarified that native forest logging could be brought to an end in the Otways without negating the West Victorian RFA.
The statement contrasted with the Greens Party statewide campaign of ‘RFA No Way’
Letter from ALP ORIG to the Premier and Minister enclosing the ‘Common Base Position for the Otways’Click:
Common Position Statement for the Otways 12/2/2002
See response from Minister to ALP ORIG on 16/4/2002
Letter to the Premier from ALP ORIG -
Mr Steve Bracks
Premier State of Victoria
Mrs Sherryl Garbutt
Minister for Environment & Conservation
Dear Premier and Minister Garbutt
Attached is a “Memorandum of Common Base Position for the Otways”. The Memorandum has been endorsed by core community/environmental organisations and political parties. It calls for an end to logging in the Otway State Forest.
The Memorandum represents a convergence of political interests in the face of destructive and intractable State Government policy to continue clearfell logging the Otway State Forest.
The endorsing organisations call on the Victorian State Government to immediately put into effect the political-legal framework contained in the Memorandum, in order to secure the unique natural assets of the Otway Ranges for the benefit of the public and for future generations.
ENDORSING ORGANISATIONS OF ATTACHED MEMORANDUM:
ALP ORIG (a non-constituent unit of the ALP)
Liberals for Forests
The Wilderness Society
Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)
Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA)
Doctors for Native Forests
Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN)
Geelong Community Forum
Otway Ranges Walking Track Association Inc Environment Victoria (EV)
Wye River Residents’ Action Group
(Letter of Encouragement - Greens Party)
Email to ALP members -
Development of the Memorandum has been an initiative of ALP ORIG. The framework identifies powers and processes to achieve an orderly transition by the timber industry out of the Otway native State Forests and provides for structural adjustment for workers.
Inevitably, significant areas within the Otway State Forest will ultimately be reserved as National Park (if it is not converted into native plantations beforehand). ALP ORIG through its broad consultation process recognises this inevitability although it makes no claims on any time frame. However, there are steps that must be taken presently by the State Government to secure the Otways and these are identified in the interim provisions of the Memorandum, and primarily involve ending clearfell logging.
Yours in friendship
ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group
(a non-constituent unit of the ALP)
State Government releases Our Forests Our Future (with policy to create VicForests as the commercial timber arm of the government).
The policy is released with the announcement that logging rates would be reduced by 31% across the state (but no reduction in the Otways).
VicForests was ultimately set up as a state owned business corporation under the State Owned Enterprises Act 1992, with corresponding amendments made to the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act(1987) by the Forests and National Parks Act (Amendment) Bill (2003).
Our Forests, Our Future policy provided for:
· 31% reduction in logging across the State
· $80 million assistance package, which includes funding for a Voluntary Licence Reduction Program and a Workers Assistance Package
· new legislation to ensure resource security
· independent auditing of forests
· establish a new commercial entity, VicForests, to separate commercial forestry objectives from the policy and regulatory functions of government and ensure that the logging industry is managed efficiently.
Minister’s Media Release – Government acts to protect forests and workers (in support of the Vanclay Report which arose out of the RFA process)
Minister’s Media Release – Government acts to protect forests and workers
Premier Steve Bracks announced today the Government would cut logging in native forests by one third and provide $80 million to help forest workers and regional communities. .... If logging continued at current levels, there would be less harvestable timber, and native animals and their habitats would be seriously threatened as early as 2011.
As a result of the report’s recommendations, the Victorian State government reduced the native forest timber resource by 31%, guaranteed industry an annual sustainable yield of 578,000 cubic metres of sawlogs, bought back logging licences causing the closure of around 35 mills and loss of around 600 jobs (although this did not affect the Otways Forest Management Area as the logging rate in the Otways was deemed sustainable).
Australian Democracts Senator, Lyn Allison, affirms strategy of Common Base Position Statement
Common Position Statement for the Otways 12/2/2002
Media Release from Senator Lyn Allison -
Otways groups should guide ALP
The Australian Democracts today welcomed the initiative of ORIG the Otway Ranges Interest Group, an unendorsed group of ALP members, in bringing together community and political groups to form a strong pro conservation position on the Otways.
Democrats Senator for Victoria, Senator Lyn Allison said, “There are hopes that ORIG will give the State ALP Government direction on their plans for the Otway Region,”
Various groups endorsed the release yesterday of the Memorandum of Common Base Position for the Otways – Framework for ending logging within the Otway State Forest....
....The Democracts are proud to join with groups progressing the wishes of their community. Polling just before the Federal Election showed support for clear fell logging in native forests in the Otways had dropped to 19%.
The Age (Claire Miller) - Pressure mounts in Otways
1. Common Position of groups presented by ALP ORIG to the State Government
2. Vanclay Report on Sustainable Yield
3. Residents from Lorne, Pennyroyal and Deans Marsh occupying the Dunse Track Coupe, one of six contentious coupes OREN agreed not to blockade if logging was deferred in 34 other coupes
4. OREN’s deal with NRE, and Minister’s Office acknowledging that the deal did not prevent other conservation groups from acting independently
5. Imminent forest industry workers 24 hour work stoppage over 31% reduction in sustainable yield.
Pressure mounts in Otways (by Claire Miller) -
Political pressure over logging is mounting in the Otways, with a key ALP group uniting with minor political parties to call for an end to logging, and residents near Lorne ignoring a deal to end forest blockades.
Pressure is building despite a statewide review that found the Otways was one of the few regions where logging was sustainable. But the report's author, Professor Jerry Vanclay, cautioned that he had insufficient data for reliable estimates, particularly on overlying environmental values to be considered.
The ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group, a non-factional network with broad branch support, has sent Premier Steve Bracks and other ministers a statement of a common position with the Australian Democrats, Liberals for Forests, and nine conservation and community groups. The Greens sent a letter of encouragement that calls for an end to all logging and a new national park. It wants catchments protected immediately, and clearfelling ended by July.
A spokesman for the ALP group, Trevor Poulton, said the statement represented a powerful convergence of political interests. "The fight for the Otways has gone beyond the normal political boundaries," he said. "The State Government is now under maximum pressure from outside the ALP and within the ALP, and with an election possibly at the end of the year, Premier Bracks would be wise to heed the warning signs."
Democrat Cameron Steele said the statement indicated what was needed to appease people. Logging, particularly in catchments, was a hot issue in Geelong, where the government holds several marginal seats.
A spokesman for Environment and Conservation Minister Sherryl Garbutt said the logging figures were not 100per cent, but they were the best information the state had ever had. The government would continue to fine tune their accuracy, but they were enough to begin making decisions about forest reforms.
The spokesman cautioned against oversimplification of the public debate. "I think there are some people out there who think we can wave a magic wand and end all logging, and that is simply not the case," he said.
Mick Murnane, the director of the E.T. and E.W. Murnane, the largest of the Otways' two sawmills, said the situation was frustrating. He believed the logging was sustainable, but "one-eyed" people just wanted to jeopardise family companies working with a renewable product.
Logging has been disrupted with residents from Lorne, Pennyroyal and Deans Marsh occupying the Dunse Track coupe since Tuesday. It is one of six contentious coupes the Otways Range Environment Network agreed not to blockade if logging was deferred in 34 others.
But Sally Daly, from Lorne, said residents and tourism operators would not accept logging on their back doorstep. "None of us are ferals," she said."We are all terribly conservative and we have nothing to do with OREN." Ms Daly said the department would not budge on clearfelling despite residents negotiating to let logging go ahead, but in a less destructive manner.
Ms Garbutt's spokesman said when the government brokered its deal with OREN, it expected others could act independently. Victorian forest industry workers will stop work for 24 hours next week to protest against moves to slash logging in the state by up to 31per cent.
Geelong Advertiser (by Tony Prytz) - ALP group out to end logging
ALP group out to end logging (by Tony Prytz) –
An influential group of ALP members have united with community groups and other political parties in a bid to force the State Government to end logging in the Otways.
Establishment of Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk), later known as Save Goolengook Inc
In February 2002, Minister Garbutt ended an informal moratorium on logging Goolengook in East Gippsland, with DNRE dismantling Fort Goolengook and commencing logging of coupes. The operation was initiated by the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Phil Martin, to appease the Timber Workers Union who were angered by the 31% reduction in the sustainable timber yield across the state and closure of around 35 mills and loss 600 job.
Not only was the Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk) campaign contribution successful for Goolengook (which is now to be included as National Park), but members of the group who were also members of ALP ORIG were able to use participation in both groups to amplify critique of the Minister’s environmental credibility.
Nicky Moffat, Trevor Poulton and Andrew Picone established Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk) to bring the campaign in East Gippsland to Melbourne. The group organised a Common Position Statement for integrating Goolengook into Errinundra National Park and conducted numerous meetings with the government. Soon after, Nicky Moffat became the Forest Campaigner for Environment Victoria.
On the evening of 10/4/02 ALP ORIG had a scheduled meeting with the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Phil Martin to discuss its Otways campaign within the ALP. Phil Martin agreed to ALP ORIG’s request to meet with stakeholders in relation to Goolengook during the second half of the meeting. It was formally announced to him, the establishment of Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk) and he was provided with a copy of the Goolengook Common Position Statement. Attendees were Nicky Moffat, Trevor Poulton, Nick Adams, Shelly Nundra (GECO), Adrian Whitehead (Greens Party) and Lindsay Hesketh (wearing ACF hat).
Dialogue continued on a regular basis and in October 2002 the state government announced a formal moratorium on logging of Goolengook and that its future would become the subject of a VEAC investigation. (Goolengook is to now become part of the National Park system.).
Community protest at Dunse Track coupe.
See flyer from residents – Stop the clearfell logging in Dunse Track
Docs ORENs contentious coupes strategy
OREN seeks to discourage the protest
Local residents protested at Dunse Track coupe off the Mount Sabine Road, Lorne, which had been partially clearfelled by NRE.
OREN member, Roger Hardley was given the job by OREN of standing near the entrance to discourage any of its supporters from protesting at the coupe in line with OREN’s deal with the government (although there was no forest operation occurring on the day).
Around 150 people protested over the clearfelling of the coupe. Nick Adams of ALP ORIG addressed the gathering encouraging people to protest at a planned Forest Rally outside of the ALP State Conference on 18/5/2002.
Otway Business Group seeks support for preservation of the Otway Ranges
The group did a mail-out to the community requesting endorsement for their letter calling for an end to logging of the Otways.
CFMEU (Timber Workers Division) - Yorick Piper tables paper ‘A secure future for Timber Harvesting in the Otways and other Victorian Forests’ at ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee meeting to challenge the internal ALP campaign to end logging of high conservation value forests in Otways, Goolengook etc.
The Timber Workers paper argued that ending logging would affect the ALP’s support amongst its constituency in the region. They also attacked ALP ORIG members in stating, ‘It is incredible, that despite this, there are ALP members who wish to push for even greater job losses in timber towns. We will not agree to this. The Conservation and Environment Policy Committee should reject these ill-considered proposals. The ALP should act to prevent the current attempts to subvert and abuse the Economics Policy committee to pursue this sordid outcome. The Labor Party and the State Government should act to secure the future for timber communities by legislation to enshrine the sustainable use of the remaining land base and timber volumes and to secure the RFAs.’
OREN’s ‘peace deal’ fails - The Age (by Claire Miller) - Otways logging battle set to ignite
Article refers to OREN’s third ‘deal’. As a result of negotiations by OREN its most recent list of 40 contentious coupes has been reduced to 34 coupes. Further, the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Phil Martin, advises OREN that further coupes on OREN’s list will be logged.
On 17/4/2002 the Otway Regional Forest Reference Groups is suspended and presumably so is the last of the OREN ‘deals’ as the ‘contentious list’ further diminishes and the OREN strategy proves to be a ‘mirage’.
Further, according to OREN’s website in May 2002 DNRE produced a WUP plan for the following logging season 2002/2003 which was “the most contentious to date” with large tracts of forest areas that OREN has consistently opposed logging being included in the areas to be logged.
This outcome signals the most dramatic failing of OREN’s strategy to negotiate peace deals with the Minister’s Office (at the expense of activities of other stakeholders).
Docs ORENs contentious coupes strategy
Otways logging battle set to ignite (by Claire Miller), -ARTICLE:The Otways are shaping up as the next theatre of confrontation between conservationists and the State Government as logging winds down in Goolengook this week. The government has spent more than $550,000 over the past five weeks battling conservationists disrupting crews in Goolengook cutting timber nominally worth $250,000 to $350,000. More than 75 protesters have been arrested. Logging was all but completed yesterday, but a week-long blockade in the Wombat State Forest continued while a peace deal keeping the lid on protests in the Otways came to the point of collapse.
The much-heralded deal struck in January may come undone because the government wants to log contentious areas to make up for timber falling short of estimates. Under the deal, the Otways Ranges Environment Network agreed not to interfere with crews logging six coupes in water catchments in return for the government deferring road plans and logging in 34 other environmentally sensitive blocks.
Network spokesman Simon Birrell said the deal was struck in good faith to allow the government to meet its licence commitments for 37,500 tonnes of timber. That volumes fell short of estimates proved logging was unsustainable, he said. Mr Birrell urged the government to avoid confrontation by compensating the sawmillers for the shortfall or choosing non-contentious coupes.
A spokeswoman for Environment and Conservation Minister Sherryl Garbutt said the department and minister were always sceptical that the six coupes would yield enough timber. The deal was contingent on volumes being realised, she said. "The necessity to go to other coupes to harvest the remainder is regrettable but necessary," she said. "The department will now identify two or three coupes to ensure the yield is delivered in the short time remaining of the season."
Mick Murnane, chairman of the Otways largest sawmill, ET & EW Murnane, said he was short 800 tonnes on his licence for mountain ash. He defended the department, saying there was an element of guesswork in estimating volumes because some areas had been picked over selectively for their best timber in the past, and the loss of quality logs was not apparent until crews got in. Mr Murnane said everyone wanted to look after the forest for timber, water and tourism, and it was disappointing that some people would stop logging contractors doing an honest day's work.
In the Wombat Forest, residents have disrupted logging for more than a week at Mount Wilson. Spokesman Tibor Hegedis said the protest started when a few residents went to the area to see for themselves what was happening "and had been moved to stay".
Minister Garbutt initially rejects the Common Base Position Statement
Common Position Statement for the Otways 12/2/2002
Minister Garbutt forwarded a letter to ALP ORIG rejecting the common position in favour of consultation with Otways Reference Group (including OREN).
Note: despite the Minister’s endorsement of the reference group she suspended it the following day.
Otway Regional Forest Reference Groups (of which OREN is a member) is suspended by the government as a result of establishment of the new forestry arm of government, VicForests
Minister Garbutt announced that Victoria's Regional Forest Reference Groups would be ‘suspended pending a further consideration of more effective ways to engage regional communities on forestry matters’ which would fit in with the operations of VicForests.
“The Merging” –
ALP State Conference
+ Rally For Our Forests
Maximises political pressure.
In the lead up to ALP State Conference at World Trade Centre on 18/5/2002 ALP ORIG proposes to Lindsay Hesketh (wearing his ACF hat) for environment groups to organise a forest rally in Batman Reserve outside ALP State Conference where the conference will be debating ALP ORIG motions on the Otways and Goolengook. McFadzean of TWS intended to organise a rally sometime during the year and agrees to have the rally outside the ALP State Conference as proposed.
(ALP ORIG describes the event as ‘the Merging’.)
A pamphlet, Rally For Our Forests, was circulated by environment groups for the rally in Batman Park opposite the ALP State Conference. Scott Alderson was appointed organiser of the rally.
QUOTE FROM FOE/TWS/EV/ACF PHAMPLET:
‘Momentum is gathering for an end to logging in old growth forests. In the lead up to the next Victorian election, the Bracks government will be making critical decisions on whether to protect or destroy old growth, box ironbark, and red gum forests as well as water catchments such as Goolengook, the Otways, Melbourne’s water catchments and the Wombat forest. There has never been a more critical time for Victoria’s forest.’
Teachers for Forests called on their members to join the rally. QUOTE FROM WEBSITE:
Instead of blockades in forests that momentarily highlight the plight of our endangered species and question breaches of forestry practice as well as the inconsistencies practised by Government departments with regard to their brief of restoring forests to original condition after logging, a new approach is being taken to more directly reach both the voting constituency and the politicians themselves who will be at the ALP State Conference- over the road - at the World Trade Centre Building.
On 15/5/2002 Poulton of ALP ORIG organised a meeting with World Trade Centre staff for a tour of the conference centre. He attended in company with Gavan McFadzean of TWS, Scott Alderson, Nicky Moffat of EV and Lindsay Hesketh of ACF. The group identified the most strategic position for placement of a large banner in Batman Park so it would be visible through a panoramic window to ALP conference delegates and MPs as they entered the conference hall on the second floor.
On 16/5/2002 ALP ORIG and Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk) set up ‘Teleroom’ (offices of Environment Victoria – arranged by Nicky Moffat) with around ten volunteers ringing ALP members to attend at the Rally for Our Forests and ALP State Conference on 18/5/2002.
(Details of organising the Rally, otherwise, are not known by the writer.)
OREN proposes to form a Melbourne Otways Forest Group, seemingly applying a similar logic to that of Save Goolengook (Melbourne Desk) which was established in February 2002 i.e. bringing the campaign to Melbourne.
Melbourne Otways Forest Group was formed on 27 May 2002 operating out of The Wilderness Society offices.
Letter from Margaret Jennings for OREN -
Formation of a Melbourne Otways Forest Group:
The Otway forests needs your help now. With the coming State election, now is the time to put pressure on both major political parties to stop destructive clearfell logging in Otway biodiverse native forest.
Over the past few years the Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) has won the logging debate with the community. This has culminated in regional local government support. The Geelong City Council, Warrnambool City Council and Surf Coast Shire Council all oppose logging native forest in the Otways. Powerful woodchip lobby groups are applying immense corporate pressure on the State Government to continue the destruction.
Melburnians familiar with the Otways have repeatedly expressed concern about continued clearfelling of our Victorian treasure. We are asking supporters to form a Melbourne group to assist the Winter/Spring campaign for the Otways.
We therefore warmly invite our Melbourne supporters to a meeting that will set up a Melbourne Otways group.
Together, though community strength, we can protect the Otway forests for future generations.
Geelong Advertiser – Group tries to change ALP Otways policy
Group tries to change ALP Otways policy -
‘A groundswell movement in the Labor Party ranks will call on this weekend’s party state conference to oppose clearfell logging in Otways native forest. Party members and anti-logging protesters are expected to converge on the Melbourne Convention Centre to rally against logging. A move to persuade the ALP’s parliamentary wing to oppose clearfell logging has been orchestrated by the ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group. Group spokesman Trevor Poulton said it was time government policy reflected public sentiment on the issue.’
The Age (by Ewin Hannan) – Warning to Labor over union plan
Warning to Labor over union plan (by Ewin Hannan) -
Premier Steve Bracks is likely to be confronted by protesters when he arrives at the Melbourne Convention Centre this morning for the state conference.
Environmental groups hope thousands of protesters will attend the "Rally For Our Forests" that is designed to pressure the State Government to change its forest policies.
Conference delegates are scheduled to consider urgency motions calling for an end to clearfell logging of the Otway state forest and an end to logging of proclaimed water catchments.
Trevor Poulton, the spokesperson for ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group, said 33 ALP branches had called for an end to clearfell logging in the Otways and party members would use the conference to apply pressure on the government to shift its position.
18-19 May 2002
ALP State Conference at Melbourne Convention Centre – Urgency Motions drafted by ALP ORIG
Motions to ALP State Conference:
1. End clearfell logging of Otways.
2. Integrate Goolengook into Errinundra National Park.
Rally For Our Forests
The ALP State Conference shuts down early to avoid dealing with the motions.
Several thousand people attend the Rally For Our Forests.
ALP ORIG MOTION TO STATE CONFERENCE:
THAT the ALP adopts the following policies:
1. That the Victorian State Government ends clearfell logging of native vegetation in the Otway State Forest by 1 July 2002 (under Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production) and does not permit, as an alternative, any form of industrial logging which is not ecologically sustainable.
2. That, in accordance with clause 1, the Victorian State Government:
a) ceases the annual renewal of Residual Log Allocations, which allow for the exploitation of the Otway State Forest for woodchips, as from 1 July 2002. (Forest Act); and
b) immediately ceases the granting of future Residual Log Licences under which residual logs are supplied for processing into woodchips. (Forest Act)
3. That the Victorian State Government immediately ceases logging within all proclaimed water supply catchments in the Otway State Forest, and schedules the catchments as non-logging reserves to improve water quality and achieve maximum water yield potential. (Crown Land (Reserves) Act)
4. That the Victorian State Government and the Federal Government assist with structural adjustment through retraining and employment creation programs in private plantation forestry and tourism industries in the Otway-Colac region, and acknowledge the experience of current forest workers for employment in future native State Forest management strategies.
Report by ALP ORIG to ALP members on the outcome of the Otways Motion at the State Conference
ALP State Conference gags forest debate
ALP State Conference ended on Sunday with debate on motions to end clearfell logging in the Otways and for a National Parks’ inquiry into Goolengook being gagged.
Trevor Poulton, spokesperson for the Otway Ranges Interest Group, an informal ALP lobby group said, “Despite resolutions from 33 ALP Branches opposing clearfell logging in the Otways and a poll showing that 69% of voters in the Colac-Geelong region oppose clearfell logging, a narrow majority of delegates voted to end the conference half an hour early to prevent the motions being debated. A procedural motion also meant that recommendations of the Environment Policy Committee’s report were never dealt with.”
Responding to claims in the media by Michael O'Connor of the Timber Workers Division, CFMEU, that the ALP State Conference had rejected a call for a ban on old-growth logging in East Gippsland and the Otways, Mr Poulton said, “No such decision was made by State Conference. It was never made.”
Mr Poulton stated, “In fact, the Otways and Goolengook debates were prevented from taking place. Conference was deliberately shut down early despite a large presence of delegates. What is at issue now is the capacity of the ALP to even discuss forest policy without party members being silenced through abuses of process.”
Mr Poulton stated, “Despite the gag, Elaine Carbines, MP for Geelong Province and associated with Labor Unity, the dominant right-wing faction within the ALP, used a proposed amendment to an earlier motion dealing with security for timber workers, to express opposition to clearfell logging of the Otways on behalf of her Geelong constituency.”
Mr Poulton said, “Ms Carbines appealed to State Conference to acknowledge the fact that clearfell logging was undermining the potential of the Otways region for long terms jobs in nature-base tourism and was having a destructive impact on the water supply catchments.”
He urged ALP members offended by the undemocratic processes of the Conference and now considering deserting the ALP for the Greens Party, not to do so but to continue to work within the ALP for change.
“The ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group will raise the forest debate at the Spring ALP State Conference in several months time. It is unfinished business. There is still time before the next State election for the ALP to properly air the issue and regain some credibility over its management of native forests. Deserting to the Greens Party is not the answer.”
Comments by ALP ORIG on Rally For Our Forests -
Organisers of rally also indulge in a bit of gagging
Several thousand people attended the rally. The Stump Truck was prominent. The rally was given positive media coverage alongside coverage of the ALP State Conference.
However, ACF and TWS had decided, inexplicably, to depoliticise the rally by banning speakers from political parties, including Senator Bob Brown of the Greens Party. This also meant that ALP ORIG was not able to have ALP members (including MPs) address the rally.
The organisers had chosen not to fully capitalise on the political context in which the rally was held. This depoliticisation of the rally meant many people who had turned up were not conscious of the battle for the forests occurring in the Melbourne Convention Centre opposite, and despite the vast resources involved in organising the rally it had virtually been turned into a festival.
Fortunately, many ALP members (including the current Minister for Environment, Gavin Jennings) wandered across from the Conference to mingle at the rally.
Political ploy of ‘merging’:
Michelle van Gerrevink reviewed the concept of ‘the Merging’ in her essay Goolengook: The Persistence of Radical Environmental Action (Michelle van Gerrevink, 2003) on page 39 in an interview with Poulton. She writes, ‘[He] believes that environmental groups and grassroots organisations are not going to be able to effect policy change unless they are supported from within institutions. [He said in an interview,] ”It’s important that you have your grassroots and they thrive and are dynamic, but in itself ... it will be very difficult for such organisations to change things.” Similarly, without the outsider strategies the voices for change within institutions can be marginalised. Trevor argues for the two-pronged momentum of institutional strategies and outsider strategies, but that at some point the strategies need to be merged to create maximum pressure for change. This merging he saw as evident in the [forest] rally outside ALP State Conference in 2002. “What better merging could there have ever been ... you had 5,000 people outside a State Conference and all of us people battling inside [the State Conference] for the Otways and fighting for Goolengook.”’
Poulton of ALP ORIG is invited to attend a meeting with Phil Martin, Minister Garbutt’s Chief of Staff and Marg Lewis, Secretary of the ALP Conservation & Environment Policy Committee. The Chief of Staff outlines a draft election policy plan for ‘tweaking’ silvicultural practices in the Otways.
Following the meeting on 14/10/2002, ALP ORIG receives an email which illuminates Minister Garbutt’s position on logging of the Otways. The email is historically significant as it was sent less than 7 weeks before the election.
The proposal contained in the email is unacceptable to ALP ORIG.
After the meeting on 2/10/2002 Poulton received an email from the Minister Garbutt’s Office on 14/10/2002, outlining matters being considered for an Otways election forest policy statement:
QUOTE FROM EMAIL FROM MINISTER’S OFFICE:
· Pre-logging statement – (to be considered).
· End clearfell logging (Advised Dept and Union fight this, so more work to be done to resolve it)
· Introduce new form of logging that leaves 150 trees per hectare
· Community involvement
· 6,000 hectares to be logged over next 18 years (300 hectares per year). Maps are being discussed.
· Buyback of licences – still progressing well
· Woodchips – looking at ways to reduce Midway’s stranglehold.
ALP ORIG advised the Minister’s Office that it rejected the proposal and that it would move a motion at ALP October 2002 State Conference (prior to the November State election) for ending clearfell logging in the Otways.
(It is understood by the writer that the Minister’s Office also consulted OREN on the above proposal.)
ALP ORIG forwards motion (same as at previous May State Conference Motion) to Minister’s Office which it threatens to move at October 2002 State Conference to end clearfell logging of the Otways
In response, the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Phil Martin, attended the Socialist Left (SL) general meeting at Trades Hall prior to the October State Conference, and debated Poulton of ALP ORIG over the Minister’s proposal. He argued that the SL faction should not support the ALP ORIG motion at the State Conference, expressing concern that an election was imminent. The SL resolved to defer any decision till the morning of the Conference.
ALP October 2002 State Conference at Moonee Valley
A discrete meeting to resolve forest amendments to Bracks Listens – Then Acts election platform, takes place upstairs of the Conference.
There are a number of proposed amendments by the Timber Workers Division and ALP ORIG to ALP’s election platform Bracks Listens – Then Acts, Chapter Eight - Sustainable Resources.
A discrete meeting was held to resolve all the amendments. Participants at the meeting included Nick Adams, Trevor Poulton and Lindsay Hesketh of ALP ORIG, MP Elaine Carbines, Andrew McKenzie (Convenor of Socialist Left Faction), Greg Sword, Secretary of the ANU and leading figure in Labor Unity, Michael O’Connor of the Timber Workers Division, Minister’s Chief of Staff Phil Martin, Joe Taylor and Marg Lewis, Secretary of Conservation & Environment Policy Committee (with Kim McGrath, the Premier’s Environment Adviser observing in the background).
ALP ORIG’s policy proposal was not agreed to at the meeting but it succeeded in getting an agreement for reference in the election policy statement to a review of clearfell logging of the Otways. Tension within the ALP over the Otways had reached a crescendo.
From an ALP ORIG campaign perspective, maximum pressure had been applied on the ALP and the state Labor government for an Otways announcement prior to the election. The future of the Otways was now in the hands of the ALP State Election Campaign Committee and Cabinet.
ALP ORIG is advised by the Minister’s Office that an announcement would be made during the November 2002 state election campaign that the Labor government would announce an inquiry into Goolengook
ALP 2002 State Election Commitment re Goolengook: Media Release - VEAC to investigate an end to logging in Goolengook
The Age (by Melissa Fyfe) - Logging in Goolengook to be halted
EXTRACT from Government Media Release:
Victoria’s independent environmental assessment body (VEAC) has been asked to investigate the possibility of halting logging in East Gippsland’s Goolengook old growth forests, the Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt, said today. ‘A moratorium will be placed on logging in Goolengook forest blocks while the investigation takes place. ... ‘Ms Garbutt said the investigation would look at whether the Goolengook forest block can be swapped for areas in Special Protection Zones outside Goolengook but within the East Gippsland Region.’
Greens Party claims the Goolengook announcement is a ‘green wash’
Whilst the announcement for a VEAC investigation into Goolengook was positive for many involved in the campaign to save Goolengook (noting that is now to become national park without swapping it for other forest for logging), there was much cynicism from environment groups and the Greens Party which described the announcement as merely a ‘green wash’.
Greens Party member and Barrister, Brian Walters wrote in an article in The Age on 1/11/2002 titled ‘Trees fall and the state's greenwash continues’ that stated that ‘The announcement by Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt of a moratorium on logging in Goolengook will be viewed with scepticism by an environment movement sick of greenwash from the State Government.’
Early November 2002
ALP moves to save the Otways
Minister Garbutt’s pro-logging policy is rebuffed by the ALP party machine that is desperate to pick up ‘green votes’ at the imminent State election. The Bracks Labor government promptly develops a detailed policy to end logging of the Otways.
The unimpressed response by environment groups to the Goolengook announcement appeared to worry the Labor Party which, with a minority government reliant on 3 independents, was contending for the environment vote to secure its inner city seats of Melbourne, Richmond, Northcote etc from the Greens Party.
In the opinion of the writer, the ALP (presumably at the direction of David Feeney, State Secretary and head of the State Election Campaign Committee) decided that the ALP needed to do something dramatic to capture the imagination of the electorate, particularly inner city electorates. Minister Garbutt’s ‘tweaking’ of its Otways policy was promptly dismissed and the ALP began to formulate its announcement for ending logging in the Otways.
Victorian State Labor government pledges to end logging of Otways, if re-elected
The Age - Bracks pledges to end logging in Otways
· all clearfell logging in the Otways native forest to end when hardwood sawlog licences expire in 2008, including an immediate reduction in logging by 25%.
· a new expanded National Park to be created from Anglsea to Cape Otway.
(The policy reflects the framework in the Common Base Position Statement.)
Note: ending logging is to be determined by the expiry date of licences and not any transition to plantation forestry.
Ironically (and typically), after years of dispute with the community over the future of the Otways, the Otways policy becomes an electoral gift from the community to the government.
Bracks pledges to end logging in OtwaysARTICLE:Logging of native forests in the Otways would end within six years and logging and woodchipping in the Wombat Forest would be further reduced under the Victorian Labor Party's forests policy. Releasing the policy in the Otways today, Premier Steve Bracks said a re-elected Labor government would phase out native forest logging there in favour of plantations and create a continuous national park between Anglesea and Cape Otway in the state's south west.
"We have listened to the community and we will now act on behalf of future generations to save the Otways," Mr Bracks said.
"If re-elected we will make the Otways one of the world's great national parks.
"All Otways sawlog licences will run out before 2008 and it will be our policy not to renew them."
Mr Bracks said the government would allocate $14 million to enable the transition to plantations and to help those who wished to leave the industry, which employs around 70 people in the Otways.
Both the Wombat Forest and the Otways are key conservation battlegrounds.
Mr Bracks said logging and woodchipping in the Wombat Forest was due to drop by at least 70 per cent by the end of the year under the government's timber licence buyback plan.
Under the forests policy, the government would immediately begin negotiations to end woodchipping completely and reduce logging by a further 10 per cent by Dec 31.
· The $50 million Forests and National Parks policy also includes:
· $16 million to employ 50 new park rangers throughout the state
· $10 million to control weeds and pests on public land
· $9 million to boost plantation resources; and
· funds for the state's environment advisory council to examine protecting threatened River Red Gums along the Murray River.
Election Release -
Australian Labor Party, Forests and National Parks, Labor’s Plan to Ensure Victoria’s Forests are Here to Stay, Melbourne, 2002.
See complete policy:
Note: The Liberal Party and the National Party condemned the Otways announcement. The Greens Party claimed the policy did not go far enough to save old-growth forest and high conservation value forest in Victoria and refused to give their preferences to the ALP candidate for South Barwon, Michael Crutchfield.
VICTORIAN ALP OTWAYS ELECTION POLICY:
EXTRACT FROM ALP FOREST POLICY -
A new future for the Otways:
Building on the success of this buy-back of licenses, the Bracks Government will provide $14 million over the next four years to:
· Immediately, reduce wood chipping and logging in the Otways by 25 per cent, following the surrender of a major timber licence.
· Create a single National Park, extending from Anglesea to Cape Otway following the Great Ocean Road on the eastern side of the range. This will protect key areas of the Otways including some of Victoria’s most striking waterfalls and rainforest areas.
· Renew the offer to buy-back native forest timber licences and provide financial assistance for new plantations in western Victoria.
· As further licences are surrendered or expire, provide further protection to other native forest areas in the Otway Ranges and complete the exit from native forests in the Otways by 2008.
· Invest in tourism developments and create new jobs in parks management for former timber industry workers.
· Invest $9 million over 4 years for a Victorian Plantation incentive
The forest policy also included the Goolengook Forest Block announcement and other announcements significant for native forests.
The Age (by William Birnbauer) – ALP forest plan angers unionist
The Age (by Gay Alcorn) - ALP accused on polling
ALP forest plan angers unionist (by William Birnbauer) -
Michael O’Connor, national assistant secretary of the Forestry Division of the CFMEU resigned from the ALP over Otways policy and promise to end wood chipping in the Wombat State Forest.
‘The government’s $50 million plan was aimed at securing Greens preferences.’ O’Connor complained that ‘It calls into question the way election policies are developed. If we had been defeated on the state conference floor, at least that would have been transparent process.
ALP accused on polling (by Gay Alcorn) -
The Victorian Greens accused the ALP of push polling in inner Melbourne seats where the Greens believe they have a slim chance of upsetting Labor candidates.
The Age (by Melissa Fyfe) - Labor forest policy a watershed
Labor forest policy a watershed (by Melissa Fyfe) -
It was very early in the campaign when Labor dropped its Otways bombshell from left field. Thousands of hectares of forest would be saved from logging. A national park would stretch from Anglesea to Cape Otway, the party promised.
Sounded wonderful, said the environmentally aware residents of the inner city. But there were grumblings. Some argued the 2008 phase-out was too long. The forest could be trashed by then, undermining the proposed national park. And what kind of time line was 2008 anyway? That's yet another election away.
While these are legitimate concerns, keen observers of the never-ending and often frustrating forestry debate noted that the Otways decision - and the wind-down of logging in the Wombat State Forest - was significant in that it marked a shift in the Labor Government's forest policy.
Associate professor Geoff Wescott, of Deakin University's school of economy and environment, says these announcements are a distinct change. "This is a watershed in Victorian Labor's forestry policy," he says.
The move is important because for the past three years the government has been mindful of - conservationists say hamstrung by - the interests of the forestry division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. Although it dropped state logging yields, the government has sided with loggers against protesters and spent millions trying to break up blockades and policing the state's forests.
After the Otways decision, the forestry union has actively campaigned against the Labor Party, which the union says has sold out workers. In a strange arrangement, the forestry union, its members and their communities are supporting the Liberal Party.
And that's the other significant aspect of Labor's Otways promise. For the first time it clearly divides the major parties on forests.
A Liberal government would continue logging in the Otways as surveys have shown it to be sustainable by industry standards. The Liberal Party has also promised to "minimise" old-growth logging by giving the timber industry access to other areas of forest. It says it will legislate the Regional Forest Agreements for industry "resource security", which the Bracks Government opposes.
Both parties say they will look at whether the state's native forests are sold to loggers too cheaply.
They also promise to consider the issue of logging in water catchments. With Melbourne's 50-year Water Smart plan recommending investigations into phasing out logging in the city's water catchments, it will be difficult not to.
Email from Federal MP Martin Ferguson (Batman Electorate) reflecting consternation within the ALP over the Otways announcement
An email was sent by Martin Ferguson, Federal Member for Batman (and now Minister for Resources and Energy) to a member of the ALP. Ferguson, who was clearly unhappy with the announcement, is in the same faction of the ALP as the leadership of the Timber Workers Division (CFMEU).
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 4:03 PM
Subject: Otways decision by Bracks' Government
Thank you for your email of 19 November 2002, concerning the forest debate.
As I was not at the last State Conference I have no knowledge as to the basis of Bracks' decision on forest policy or whether it was a cynical exercise. The only feedback I have received is that the forest policy
announcements during the campaign were made by Parliamentary advisors and are in conflict with the recent Party Conference decisions.
This aside it is to be hoped that the difficulties are worked out. Our priority must be to look after the workers who lose their jobs as a result of the forest announcements and that their regional communities are properly compensation by the Labor Government.
It is not a question of simply stopping logging. Proper regard must be had to the livelihood of workers and communities affected by such decisions.
The Age (by Paul Robinson) - Union split on support for Green
Click: Unions split on support of Greens The Age_27/11/02
Michael O’Connor, Secretary of Timber Workers Division (CFMEU), resigns from the powerful ALP Administrative Committee
Union split on support for Green (by Paul Robinson) -
‘The timber union has been at odds with the government since Premier Steve Bracks revealed during the election campaign that it would reduce logging in the Otway Ranges and in the Goolengook Forest in Gippsland’
Further, the timber workers suspended ties with Trades Hall Council over Leigh Hubbard permitting the Greens Party to launch their industrial policy (drafted by Dean Mighell of ETU) at the Ballroom of the Trades Hall building.
OREN prints a flyer endorsing the re-election of the ALP. Presumably, OREN had been approached by the ALP machine to do so. The flyer is letterboxed in the inner city electorate of Melbourne. It is also distributed in the electorate of South Barwon.
(Consternation is expressed by groups over OREN lending its brand name to endorse the re-election of the ALP, as opposed to simply just endorsing the ALP’s forest policy.)
According to OREN website:
In developing this flyer we have taken into account not just the policies of each party, but also the machinations of the Victorian electoral system and the probability of each party forming government after the election. This has not been an easy process and has involved much soul searching, however, when it comes to the crunch it is a two horse race between Liberal and Labor. In this situation Labor has the better policy in respect to the Otways.
30 November 2002 State Election – ALP commits to ending native forest logging in the Otways
ALP wins the state election and gains 16 extra seats including South Barwon and Bellarine in South West Victoria
The Otways announcement made on 6/11/2002 was covered by the media throughout the election and gave the ALP election campaign a positive momentum, with the public and media applauding the policy.
The Age (by Paul Heinrichs) – Labor lands a clear sweep
Labor lands a clear sweep (by Paul Heinrichs) -
Labor's landslide swept away the remaining Kennett legacy of a dominant Liberal presence in the Geelong region.
The win included the three seats of Geelong (notionally Liberal after a redivision), Bellarine and, for the first time, South Barwon.
"It's a premiership day for Geelong," said an elated Neil "Nipper" Trezise, the former champion Geelong dual-premiership player from 1951-52. His son Ian, who had held the central city seat of Geelong by just 16 votes, was re-elected with a swing of nearly 9 per cent.
The Labor clean-sweep also brings to Parliament a professional fireman, the CFA Officer Michael Crutchfield, a former Geelong mayor, who remained pessimistic about his chances right up until yesterday.
Instead he got a swing of more than 9 per cent. "The tidal wave was coming in, I can surf, I put the board out and Bracksy brought me home," he said.
In Bellarine, Labor's Lisa Neville, a candidate endorsed by the women's group Emily's List, romped in over former army officer, Frank Kelloway. Ms Neville, 38, is a neighbourhood house manager, and believes the government's addition of 162 nurses to Geelong Hospital helped in the win. She is the president of the board of Barwon Health, which runs the hospitals.
Her election makes it two Labor women from Geelong in State Parliament - the other is upper house member Elaine Carbines.
post-2002 Victorian State election
Hon John Thwaites, Deputy Premier, replaces Garbutt as Minister for the Environment
VEAC Advertisement in The Age – Amended Notice of Investigation: Angahook-Otway Investigation
The purpose of the investigation was to determine the boundaries of: (a) a single national park in the Otway Ranges including public land extending from Anglesea to Cape Otway, specifying whether or not the Great Ocean Road should be included in the park; and (b) any other public land managed as State Forest which would be suitable for addition to existing State Parks or nature conservation reserves, or for inclusion in new nature conservation reserves once native forest logging ceased in the Otways.
2003 – 2008
Environment groups such as OREN and Otway Conservation Council (OCC) monitor and encourage groups to contribute to the VEAC Investigation into the establishment of the new national park and ending of logging in the Otways
OREN used group emails and its website to provide regular updates on the government’s implementation of the policy. It also consulted with DSE on a regular basis to ensure minimal damage to forests whilst logging continued in coupes.
Release of - Angahook-Otway Discussion Paper Victorian Environmental Assessment Council
Proposals unveiled for new Great Otway National Park
Media Release from the Office of the Premier -
‘The Premier, Steve Bracks, and Environment Minister, John Thwaites, today unveiled Environmental Assessment Council’s (VEAC) Draft Proposals Paper for the new National Park extending from near Anglesea to close to Moonlight Head, beyond Cape Otway.’ http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/newmedia.nsf/b0222c68d27626e2ca256c8c001a3d2d/f91ecd7dd9ff3e3fca256ea0007c0939!OpenDocument
VEAC’s Great Otway National Park recommendations released
Media Release of the Minister for the Environment, Hon John Thwaites: EXTRACT:
Greate Otways National Park Recommendations Released
The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) has recommended a major new National Park of over 100,000 hectares for the Otways region, the Minister for the Environment, John Thwaites, announced today.
Mr Thwaites said VEAC’s recommendations from its Angahook-Otway Investigation included a 102,470 hectare Otway Ranges National Park, which would become Victoria’s sixth-largest National Park.
“The proposals recommend the Park would be slightly larger, about 4000 hectares, than in the draft proposals launched by the Premier Steve Bracks in May,” Mr Thwaites said.
“The formation of a comprehensive Otways National Park will fulfill a key election commitment from the Bracks Government and secure this magnificent environment for Victoria.
“The proposed park is about nine times bigger than the existing National Park and will be complemented by adjoining areas of Forest Park.”
Completion of VEAC Angahook - Otway Investigation
See final recommendation on VEAC website:
Media Release from Office of Premier & Minister for Environment - Great Otway National Park Soon To Be A Reality
Great Otway National Park Soon To Be A Reality -
The Premier, Steve Bracks, today announced the State Government would legislate to create a new 100,000 ha National Park for the Otways, stretching from Anglesea to Cape Otway.
Mr Bracks said the National Parks (Otways and Other Amendments) Bill, to be introduced to State Parliament next week, would establish the new Great Otway National Park and phase out logging by 2008.
The new National Park will become the largest on Victoria’s coast – linking the existing Otway National Park and the Angahook-Lorne, Carlisle and Melba Gully State Parks with tracts of former state forest.
Mr Bracks said $13 million would be spent over the next four years on its establishment, including employing 17 people to manage the Park.
“The Great Otway National Park will increase Victoria’s park areas by more than 60,000 ha and will be nine times the size of the existing National Park,” Mr Bracks said.
“This initiative fulfils a key election commitment from the Government, protects old growth forest and threatened flora and fauna and creates one of the world’s great National Parks along the Great Ocean Rd.
“The Great Ocean Road is a cornerstone of Victoria’s $10.6 billion tourist industry – attracting 2.5 million visitors a year. By protecting this magnificent environment, we are safeguarding the future of one of our greatest tourist destinations.”
Minister for the Environment, John Thwaites, said the Government had accepted the majority of recommendations from a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) investigation and would table a response in Parliament.
He said VEAC and the community had helped shape the recommendations, with more than 1800 submissions received during the two-year investigation.
“Despite some different views on exactly how we will preserve this amazing environment, Victorians generally want the tall forests, rainforests, coastal heathlands, surf beaches and world-class tourism facilities that we enjoy today to be enjoyed in the future,” he said.
Mr Thwaites said around 40,000 ha of public land in the Otways would also be set aside as Forest Park – a new category of public land.
“The Otway Forest Park will allow for a wide range of recreational activities and will have a strong emphasis on community access,” Mr Thwaites said.
“The development of a new category of public land is in response to community desires to have a diverse range of recreation activities available in the Otways, not usually allowed in National Parks.
“The Otway Forest Park will be available for horse riding, dog-walking and four wheel driving, as well as nature conservation and minor resource use like firewood collection.”
Mr Thwaites thanked Barwon Water and South West Water, who assisted by transferring land to the Crown for addition to the National Park. He said the main purpose for adding forested water catchments to the park was to supply high quality water to regional communities.
“This is another important Park in Victoria’s world class system of National and Marine Parks, providing economic benefits for our regions, recreational opportunities for Victorians and visitors and protecting our unique environment,” Mr Thwaites said.
Mr Bracks said the $121 million funding boost for Victoria’s parks system announced in the State Budget would mean better weed and pest control in parks, including in the new Great Otway National Park.
The establishment of the Park follows a range of other important State Government initiatives in the region including:
· The launch of A New Future for the Otways, a tourism initiative to stimulate and coordinate development and marketing of tourism on public land in the Otways hinterland;
· The Great Ocean Road Regional Strategy and
· The establishment of significant Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries to provide high levels of protection for representative marine ecosystems in the area.
Victorian State Parliament passes legislation to create new parks
National Parks (Otways and Other Amendments) Act 2005
National Parks Act 1975, version incorporating amendments as at 14 February 2008
Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 version incorporating amendments as at 24 April 2008, Section 42 - Otway Forest Park
Also see Appendix ‘B’
The National Parks (Otways and Other Amendments) Bill created the new Great Otway National Park (102,000 ha) under the National Parks Act and the Otway Forest Park (40,000 ha) under the Crown Lands and Reserves Act.
Almost 60% of the Otways State Forest was placed into the National Park and nature conservation reserves.
The Otway State Forest, which totaled 92,000 ha, was reconstituted with around 52,500 ha (57%) going into the Great Otway National Park and about 1,900 ha (2%) going into the Jancourt Nature Conservation Reserve and the rest of the Otway State Forest becoming a Forest Park under the Crown Lands Reserves Act where logging was banned when the last of the hardwood licences expired in June 2008.
Key areas of State Forest incorporated into the new National Park included all Rainforest Sites of Significance, the East and West Barwon Catchments which together make up the bulk of the Otway Geelong water supply, the Arkins Creek catchment which makes up critical part of the Warrnambool water supply catchment and the Aire Heritage River corridor.
According to OREN’s website, ‘Many areas where protests against logging occurred will now be put into the new National Park; these include the forests of Riley's Ridge, Cumberland river, Wye River, Sabine Falls, Wilddog Ridge and forest in the Aire river catchment at places such as Ciancio Creek and Halls Ridge.
Less well known but critically important areas in the far Western Otways will also be protected by the National Park. These area include the Carlisle Heathlands and significant remnant woodland forests left over from the Heytesbury Land Settlement Scheme; and about 43,000 ha of forest was cleared for dairy farming between of 1957 and 1970.’
September 2005 – June 2008
OREN and the Otway Conservation Council continue to monitor logging of coupes over next three years until logging ends in June 2008
Groups focussed on the remaining 37,000 ha of Otway Forest Park where clearfell logging continued until all logging licences had been bought out or expired in June 2008.
Australian Labor Party wins the Federal election, and takes the seat of Corangamite
The sitting Liberal Party member Stewart McArthur received a higher primary vote than the ALP candidate Darren Cheeseman, but the ALP won the seat with preferences from the Greens Party candidate Fiona Nelson who secured nearly 8% of votes. Labor also wins the federal election and Kevin Rudd becomes Prime Minister.
Logging of native forests in the Otways ends with the expiry of the last hardwood timber licence
DRAFTED by ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (ALP ORIG) - February 2002
Memorandum of Common Base Position for the Otways
Framework for ending logging within the Otway State Forest
12 February, 2002
A. Framework for ending logging within the Otway State Forest (7 points)
1. End all logging of Otway State Forest & establish new National Park
2. Include vision for Otway State Forest in Great Ocean Road Region strategy plan
3. End clearfell logging by 1/7/2002
4. End all Residual Log Allocations and the granting of Residual Log Licences - per para (3)
5. Immediately schedule all proclaimed Water Supply Catchments as non-logging Reserves
6. Immediately expand rainforest buffer zones from 40 meters to 350 metres
7. Provide structural adjustment for workers and industry
Not permit any form of logging in contentious coupes during interim period
B. Explanatory Table of Powers and Processes
ENDORSED BY FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS: -
Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)
The Wilderness Society (TWS)
Environment Victoria (EV)
Wye River Residents’ Action Group
Doctors for Native Forests
Otway Ranges Walking Track Association Inc
Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA)
Geelong Community Forum
Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN)
Liberals for Forests
ALP Otway Ranges Interest Group (a non-
constituent unit of ALP) (ALP ORIG)
Letters of Encouragement: -
Disclaimer: Endorsement of the Memorandum of Common Base Position by each of the organisations does not mean support by Community/Environmental Groups of any of the Political Parties, nor does the Memorandum in any way reflect political party preferencing.
FRAMEWORK for ending logging WITHIN the Otway State Forest
1. That the Victorian State Government ends logging of native vegetation within the Otway State Forest; and schedules the Otway State Forest and adjoining Reserves as National Park.
(National Parks Act)
2. That the Victorian State Government ensures that its proposed 20 year regional strategy plan Great Ocean Road Region (currently in draft form) highlights the need to preserve and protect the unique natural assets of the Otway Ranges for the benefit of the public and future generations through the ending of logging within the Otway State Forest and through the creation of the new National Park.
3. That the Victorian State Government ends clearfell logging of native vegetation in the Otway State Forest by 1 July 2002. (Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production)
4. That, in accordance with clause 3, the Victorian State Government:
a) ceases the annual renewal of Residual Log Allocations, which allow for the exploitation of the Otway State Forest for woodchips, as from 1 July 2002. (Forest Act); and
b) immediately ceases the granting of future Residual Log Licences under which residual logs are supplied for processing into woodchips. (Forest Act)
5. That the Victorian State Government immediately ceases logging within all proclaimed water supply catchments in the Otway State Forest, and schedules the catchments as non-logging Reserves to improve water quality and achieve maximum water yield potential. (Crown Land (Reserves) Act)
6. That the Victorian State Government immediately expands rainforest buffer zones from 40 metres to 350 metres to protect rainforest from Myrtle Wilt. (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act)
7. That the Victorian State Government and the Federal Government assist with
structural adjustment through employment creation programs in private plantation forestry and tourism industries in the Otway-Colac region, and acknowledge the experience of current forest workers for employment in future native State Forest management strategies.
Further, during the interim period, in order to ensure a constructive, sensible and orderly transition for ending logging of native vegetation within the Otway State Forest, the Victorian State Government is called upon to not permit any form of logging in coupes, identified from the Wood Utilization Plans (WUPs) by stakeholders as ‘contentious’.
This Memorandum represents the Common Base Position held by the endorsing organisations listed on the cover page, on the substantial processes that need to be implemented by the Victorian State Government to end logging of native vegetation within the Otway State Forest. Each organisation, however, has its own views and ideas with regards to, time frames for ending logging entirely and establishment of a proposed National Park within the Otway State Forest, and determination of the boundaries of the National Park.
powers and processes TO end logging WITHIN the Otway STATE FOREST
Powers and Political Processes
End of logging native vegetation; and
Scheduling of National Park
Powers under National Parks Act
Any accepted proposal for a National Park would need to be scheduled, through legislation, as reserved under the National Parks Act. Proposals will most likely first require assessment by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council. Boundaries and time frames would need to be determined and involve public consultation.
20 year strategy plan Great Ocean Road Region
Powers under National Parks Act
Inclusion of National Park and consideration of Trans Otway Walk
End clearfell logging by 1/7/02
(Saulwick Poll Sept 2001 -
69% of Corangamite electors oppose cleafell logging in the Otways)
Consistent with West Victoria RFA
Amend Otway FMP (Forests Act) to specifically prohibit clearfelling and to prescribe environmentally sustainable alternative extractive methods (if any). Powers under Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production See - ALP ORIG’s Legal Analysis (www.alporig.green.net.au); Also, OREN’s Are Sawlogs a by-product of the woodchip industry in the Otway State Forest (2000)
End Residual Log Allocations as at 1/7/02;
End issuing of Residual Log Licences immediately.
Consistent with West Victoria RFA
Otways FMP - Forests Act, Conservation, Forests and Lands Act and RFA. See - ALP ORIG’s Legal Analysis (www.orig.green.net.au)
Immediate exclusion of all logging in Proclaimed Water Supply Catchments and schedule as non-logging Reserves
Consistent with West Victoria RFA
Water catchments can be scheduled as non-logging Reserves under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act. The logging prescriptions in the Otway FMP would then need to be amended accordingly. Powers also under RFA (see Sinclair Knight Mertz Hydrology Study 2000 which provides, amongst other reports, scientific justification).
Immediate expansion of rainforest buffers zones from 40 to 350 metres to protect from Myrtle Wilt
Consistent with West Victoria RFA
See DNRE Technical Reports of 1996 recommending expansion of buffers under the management prescriptions for potentially threatening processes criteria. (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act)
Contentious Coupes -
Prohibition of logging of highly sensitive environmental areas and potential tourism tracks during interim period
The Bracks’ Government claims that all areas with National Estate value have been already recognised within the RFA process. In fact, there are large tracts of non-protected areas that have been identified as highly contentious by community/environmental groups which must not be logged in order for the Government to ensure the transition for ending logging is constructive and orderly.
Restructure DNRE -
Not included as a resolution, as is mandatory on the Government and is currently in process
Mandatory under National Competition Principles (NCP)
Mandatory on State Government under obligations of the NCP Agreement (Clauses 3 - Competitive Neutrality, and Clause 4 - Structural Reform of Monopolies) and the West Victoria RFA (Competition Principles, Clause 88).
Version No. 120
National Parks Act 1975
No. 8702 of 1975
Version incorporating amendments as at 14 February 2008
PART 31—GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARK
All those pieces or parcels of land containing 103 190 hectares, more or less, situate in the Counties of Colac, Heytesbury, Otway, Polwarth and Winchelsea, being the land delineated and coloured pink or coloured yellow or coloured blue in plans lodged in the Central Plan Office and numbered N.P. 111A/1, N.P. 111B/1, N.P. 111C/1, N.P. 111D/1, N.P. 111E/1, N.P. 111F/1, N.P. 111G/1, N.P. 111H/1, N.P. 111J/1 and N.P. 111K/1, excepting the Great Ocean Road, Beech Forest Road, Carlisle–Colac Road, Colac–Lavers Hill Road, Deans Marsh–Lorne Road, Forrest–Apollo Bay Road, Gellibrand River Road, Lavers Hill–Cobden Road, Otway Lighthouse Road, Princetown Road and Skenes Creek Road. Also excepted is any land between high water mark and low water mark forming part of the park described in Part 8 and in Part 11 of Schedule Seven.
Version No. 084
Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978
No. 9212 of 1978
Version incorporating amendments as at 24 April 2008
42 Otway Forest Park
(1) The Minister may recommend to the Governor in Council that any part of the land shown coloured pink on the plan lodged in the Central Plan Office and numbered LEGL./05–342 be a forest park on--
(a) receiving a plan of the land signed by the Surveyor-General; and
(b) being satisfied that the land shown on the plan represents land that is to be a forest park.
(2) On receiving a recommendation of the Minister under subsection (1), the Governor in Council may, by Order published in the Government Gazette, declare the land to be a forest park to be known as the Otway Forest Park.
(3) On the publication of an Order under subsection (2)--
(a) any reservation, under this or any other Act, of an area of land described in the plan referred to in the Order that was in force immediately before the publication of the Order is revoked; and
(b) any regulations made under section 13 of this Act that applied to any such area of land, immediately before the publication of the Order, are revoked in so far as they apply to the land; and
(c) any part of the land delineated and coloured yellow on the plan referred to in the Order that was a road or part of a road or road reserve ceases to be a road or part of a road or road reserve and all rights easements and privileges existing or claimed, either by the public or any body or person as incident to any express or implied grant, or past dedication or supposed dedication or any past user or operation of law or otherwise, cease; and
(d) subject to section 101 of the Forests Act 1958, the land described on the plan referred to in the Order is deemed to be freed and discharged from all trusts, limitations, reservations, restrictions, encumbrances, estates and interests; and
(e) the land described on the plan referred to in the Order is deemed to be permanently reserved under this Act for the purposes of--
(i) providing opportunities for informal recreation associated with the enjoyment of natural surroundings;
(ii) protecting and conserving biodiversity, natural and cultural features and water supply catchments;
(iii) supplying a limited range of natural resource products.
Time timbers down on
these philosophers of ranges.
Trunks lie stacked in sawmill yards
bark sheared from their backs.
Leaves download light in coupes
where money grows on trees.
In the canopy country
crowns turn grey and forlorn.
These are no longer kingdoms
that renovate and furnish gullies
or reshape horizons.
This is the fallen country.
by Trevor Poulton