Victoria, Australia, government has its numbers wrong on how much native forest a timber harvesting ban by 2030 will protect; trade group says native forestry sector has access to 367,000 hectares, translating to harvesting less than 3,000 hectares/year

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DUNEDIN, New Zealand , February 18, 2022 (press release) –

Victorian Government gets its numbers wrong by a wide margin when estimating forest areas protected from timber harvesting.

The Victorian Government released its Climate Change Adaptation Action Plans last week. The emissions reduction pledges include a Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry pledge which sings the praise of the government’s decision to cease native forestry in the state: “This pledge reflects that from 2030 commercial native timber harvesting in Victoria’s state forests will cease – protecting an area of native forest greater than the landmass of Tasmania.”

“The Government has their numbers wrong – big time. With a factual error the size of Tassie, we can’t help but wonder just how this Government arrives at its decisions”, Deb Kerr, CEO of the Victorian Forest Products Association, said. According to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), over 7.7 million hectares of public land in Victoria are already protected. Native forestry in total - over an 80-year rotation - has access to 367,000 ha (Tasmania has a landmass of 6,840,100 ha). This total area translates to harvesting less than 3,000 ha per year. Ceasing native forestry by 2030 will permanently lock up an area equivalent to 5.4% of the area of Tasmania.

“Not only are the numbers wrong - the Government also has the science wrong. The Government’s plan contradicts the 4th assessment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has recognised that sustainable forest management - including the harvest and regeneration of forests - will generate the largest sustained climate change mitigation benefit.

“It is time the Victorian Government listens to the global scientific consensus that our sustainable native forestry industry is part of the solution - and stops listening to the misguided ideology to shut down this industry on the false premise that it will lead to better climate change outcomes and fanciful tourism jobs.

“With ‘facts’ like these, it’s understandable that the state government pats itself on the back for ending native forestry. It also makes it obvious why this Government has so far refused to share the information and data they used to arrive at this decision, despite calls from Senator Duniam, Federal Assistant Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and Regional Tourism and the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Council. But it does not make the numbers any more correct”, Ms Kerr concluded.

Source: Victorian Forest Products Association

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