In Australia, the Victorian Greens have released a strongly worded statement expressing their discontent with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews’ controversial decision to renew logging contracts with ‘VicForests’; the state owned logging business for another ten years.
According to a group of Australian researchers, continued deforestation in the state of Victoria has led to a marked increase in the intensity of the province’s summer bushfires in recent years. Moreover, researchers warn that if logging continues at the current rate, the state’s bushfire problems will only continue to worsen.
The signing of the new logging deal sees premier Andrews effectively granting VicForests an exception from respecting Australia’s environmental laws, thereby giving them work-around permission to continue logging in Victoria’s native forests.
Victorian Greens Argue that New VicForests Deal is All Around Bad Business
“Ending native logging forest now, rather than in ten years, will help both the environment and the economy” says Victorian Greens Deputy Leader Ellen Sandell. In their statement, the Victorian Greens argue that not only will the deal with VicForests have devastating environmental consequences, but that it will also cost the province’s tax-payers hundreds of millions of dollars. According to Sandell, the Victorian Greens “got an independent costing last year which found that by putting an end to native forest logging now and supporting workers through that transition, the government would save $191.9 million dollars by 2030.”
In addition to the economic benefits, the Victorian Greens argue that ending logging in the state’s native forests is crucial to the preservation of local flora and fauna. With bushfires in the state having increasingly devastating impacts on a yearly basis, Sandell says it’s time to act now. “Last year’s bushfires pushed many animals and plants to the brink of extinction. Under the state government’s plan, the […] possum habitat and our water catchments will stay open for logging for ten years – which could wipe them out for good.”
With the ever present threat of stronger and stronger bushfires, Sandell believes the issue has reached a breaking point. “Victoria should follow the lead of other Australian states like Western Australia and end logging now, or we risk pushing even more species to the brink of extinction,” states the party’s Deputy Leader.
While for the time being it seems as though Premier Andrews’ deal with VicForests remains intact. The Victorian Greens’ statement makes it clear that they do not believe it to be a good deal for the flora, fauna, economy or people of Australia’s second most populous state.