Press Release - October 5, 2023

Open letter calls for Premier to wind up VicForests

5 October 2023

Sixty environment, community and legal organisations have signed onto a letter calling for Victoria’s new Premier, Jacinta Allan, to wind up VicForests.

You can read the open letter here.

Environmental Justice Australia forest campaigner, Luke Chamberlain said:

“The decision by former Premier Dan Andrews to end native forest logging in Victoria was a momentous turning point, but the Victorian government still has work to do to restore and protect forests and close loopholes to make sure logging doesn’t continue under another name.

Forests are the lungs of communities, homes for threatened wildlife and vital climate solutions. That’s why we’re calling on Premier Allan to stay the course and end native forest logging for good.

VicForests has been at the centre of public controversy for years. It has a shocking track record and simply cannot be trusted.

This is a public agency that conducted illegal logging, breached environmental protections, ran covert surveillance of scientists and environmentalists, faced a dozen recent court challenges and is under scrutiny for greenwashing and mismanagement.

Successive court rulings found VicForests killed endangered wildlife, logged illegally and seriously harmed the state’s environment.

There is overwhelming evidence that their industrial logging devastates forests, kills threatened wildlife, degrades biodiversity, and makes forests more vulnerable to frequent and intense bushfires.  

It’s time to finally protect, respect and enjoy Victoria’s native forests including in new National Parks and assess the most outstanding of them for World Heritage listing, with Traditional Owner management at their core.”

Matthew Landolfo, Campaign Manager for the Wilderness Society Victoria, said:

“In theory, repurposing logging workers and equipment into forest fire management seems like the perfect transition, but with the sordid history of VicForests laid bare in this letter, there needs to be a major rethink of what that looks like.

“Those decision-makers responsible for shovelling millions in taxpayer funds into overlogging the forests for decades have lost all credibility and don’t deserve a seat at the table when it comes to planning this new era of forest restoration.

“In years to come, VicForests is going to be held up as one of the worst examples of public mismanagement in this state’s history – socially, economically and environmentally.

“We’re not naive to the challenge ahead in protecting people, property, wildlife and our iconic forest landscapes from degradation and extreme weather events, but it’s also a huge opportunity to rebuild public trust, generate employment in the regions, and work in partnership with Traditional Owners who’ve cared for Country for millennia.”

Matt Ruchel, Executive Director, Victorian National Parks Association said:

“VicForests have lost the trust of the Victorian community and should be abolished immediately. We need a new vision for the forest which permanently protects their ecological and cultural values.”