Eastern Victoria

Strzelecki Ranges timber harvesting

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Strzelecki Ranges timber harvesting
Ms SHING (Eastern Victoria) — Thank you, Acting President. I look forward to the relevant level of interjection from across the chamber as recompense for my rude interruptions earlier. To that extent, I confirm that I have apologised to Mr Elasmar effusively for any break that I may have caused in the rhythm of his earlier contribution.

The matter I wish to raise this evening is for the attention of the Minister for Agriculture, Ms Pulford. It relates to a meeting that I attended last Thursday night in Mirboo North, where VicForests has coupes on the timber release plan in the Strzelecki state forest north of this particular town. There are three coupes in this area: Samson, Doug and Oscine. These coupes were the subject of a lengthy and extensively detailed conversation and discussion between VicForests’s Lachlan Spencer and many hundreds of members of the community who turned out to discuss their views. I look forward to providing the names of attendees on notice to where the minister on duty tonight, the Special Minister of State, would like them.

However, the views that were expressed at this particular community meeting were very much in favour of an extensive community consultation, and a motion was passed at that meeting, as put by local resident Marg Thomas on behalf of the Mirboo North community, that a committee be established and that work be done with the relevant ministers to do everything possible to convey the community’s concerns about the potential for harvesting — whether clear harvesting or selective harvesting — in these coupes and the impact that it would have on the local community if it were to occur. To this end I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to hear these concerns directly from people within the community.

The action that I seek from Minister Pulford is that she engage with her counterpart, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change in the other place, Ms D’Ambrosio, to make sure that there is a fulsome engagement in accordance with the motion that was passed at this particular community meeting to understand the priorities of the community and the concerns of the community as they were expressed at this meeting and in other correspondence that has been forthcoming to me, and to make sure that every effort is made to give effect to the community wish that the natural environment is considered and its value is properly understood as part of an informal decision making process on the future of these three coupes.