Tuesday, 20 December 2022


Native forest logging

Native forest logging

Tim READ (Brunswick) (19:39): (9) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Agriculture, and I ask the minister to legislate for native forest logging to cease in Victoria by December 2023 and to accompany this with a support package for workers, and for the industry to transition to plantation timber and paper alternatives. The worsening climate crisis requires us to eliminate emissions from every part of our economy, but, as the Premier often says, it is not like flicking a switch; it takes time, and during that time more greenhouse gases are pumped into our atmosphere. Worse still, the consequences of global warming, like forest fires, further accelerate global warming both by producing large amounts of carbon dioxide and by killing the trees that remove CO2 from the atmosphere, so the one thing we should stop as soon as we can is the logging and subsequent burning of native forest in Victoria.

Victoria’s Central Highlands forests store more CO2 per hectare than any forests in the world, but we continue to subsidise their destruction, putting over 3 million tonnes of that CO2 back into the atmosphere every year. I was surprised to read – I know the number for South Gippsland will be interested in this – that our Central Highlands forests contain more carbon per hectare than even the Amazon forests.

Decades of unsustainable logging, fires and climate change mean very little of Victoria’s original forests remain. Everything that is left is critical habitat for Victoria’s sadly growing list of species facing extinction. Recent court cases brought by community groups to protect threatened species habitat have highlighted that continuing to log native forests in Victoria is untenable. As we understand it, logging across much of the state is now on hold and workers face an uncertain future. The environmentally and socially responsible thing for the government to do at this time is to reset. And we know that 2030 is too late to end logging – too late for our climate, too late for the threatened species and too late for the very workers whose fate is the concern of the member for South Gippsland.