Salvage by VicForests in proposed National Park

Massive log landing carved out of standing forest

Massive log landing carved out of standing forest (photograph Gayle Osborne)

Over 100 people walked into a logged area of the Wombat State Forest to express their opposition to a destructive salvage operation that is being undertaken by VicForests in part of the promised national park.

The Wombat Forest community is outraged that VicForests have commenced an industrial scale salvage operation in the Wombat State Forest, in an area that is part of the proposed Wombat-Lerderderg National Park.

At Babbington Hill, about two acres has been cleared of all trees and vegetation to create a log landing and machine depot, tracks have carved through the coupe, and there is substantial damage by large machines to the sedgy riparian area. Large bark and debris heaps have been generated throughout the area.

Without any consultation, VicForests have created a new Timber Utilisation Plan and added 175 coupes in the Wombat and Cobaw State, with approx. 80 of these within the promised national park.

Gayle Osborne said "the local community fought long and hard for the forest’s protection from logging and for its protection with park status and are now very distressed and angry to see this environmental destruction. This block of the Wombat Forest is considered to have conservation values that make it deserving of national park status, including a large population of Greater Gliders, a species threatened with extinction."

"The over logging of the Wombat Forest from the 1970s onwards produced more than 13,000 hectares of thick regrowth, which is a serious fire hazard, yet no management has been undertaken by the department to reduce this. Instead we are seeing a destructive grab for a resource. If the government was serious about protecting communities from fire they would have addressed this risk years ago."

On 24 June the Victorian Government tabled their response to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council’s Central West investigation report. Three new National Parks were to be created including the Wombat-Lerderderg National Park. Since that date the government has failed to legislate the promised Wombat-Lerderderg National Park, despite Minister D'Ambrosio claiming publicly that the government have already created these central west parks.

In their response, the Victorian Government stated that the Wombat-Lerderderg National Park would be used in accordance with the general recommendations for national parks including to "permanently protect the natural environment and natural biodiversity along with underlying ecological structure and supporting environmental processes."

Gayle Osborne said "this destructive salvage operation is completely ignores the government's undertaking to protect the environment and its biodiversity."

Wombat Forestcare calls on the Andrews government to call an immediate halt to this salvage operation and launch an investigation into how this could happen in a proposed National Park.