Friday, September 29, 2006

greens candidate for gembrook slams vcat

Last week Gordon Watson's selection as Greens candidate for Gembrook was announced at the Gembrook Market. Speaking at the announcement of his selection, Gordon Watson asked, "Why has VCAT overturned the Shire of Yarra Ranges' decision to block clear fell logging at Hoddles Creek?"

"The VCAT decision to allow the clear felling of 99 hectares at Hoddles Creek rides roughshod over community opinion".

"The State Government's current controls are clearly not good enough if VCAT can overturn a local Council decision that was made in the best interests of the community and in line with planning regulations," said Gordon Watson.

"That's why the Greens are needed in Spring Street to ensure communities are protected by adequate environment and planning controls."

Gordon Watson, left, is congratulated by Louis Delacretaz, the Greens Eastern Victoria Region Upper House lead candidate, at the Green's Gembrook District candidate launch at the Gembrook Market.

Rob Stephens, Candidate for Monbulk, Me (Greens Councillor Yarra Ranges Shire) and Gordon Watson, Candidate for Gembrook at the campaign launch.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just a Moment @ Karwarra

I had the great pleasure of attending the opening of Just a Moment, an exhibition by the Knox Photographic Society at Karwarra Australian Plant Garden in Kalorama. It was the second time the KPS has exhibited at Karwarra and the event has become a binennial must see.

The calibre of photographs was high and subject matter vast, I highly recommend a visit.

It was also great to have a stroll through the gardens and see such a great range of Australian plants especially as many are in flower at the moment, it is a spectacular time to visit the garden. (

Well done to all involved.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Bracks' Labour Government lets our community down

Thonemans Road logging site in Hoddles Creek

20% Sawlog, 55% Pulpwood, 25% Firewood,
99 Hectares

VCAT says this is okay, why does our system allow this to happen? Because of the lack of weight given to local planning policies.

Goodbye to rare and/or endangered species - this is our State Planning Scheme letting us down. Where is the value to our community? Only a "proportion" of Mountain Ash Sawlog will be transported to Powelltown (in the Shire), the remainder going to Geelong and Gippsland for pulpwood.

The Shire recognises the conservation values of the area, but the Bracks' Labour Government doesn't.

This article appeared in the Upper Yarra Mail (19/09/06)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

VCAT - let the forest be pulped

In yet another dark day for the shire I have learnt that the application, which council refused back in January 2006, to log 99 hectares of forest in Hoddles Creek has been overturned by VCAT.

One of the key tribunal findings was the environment can recover from logging operations and is therefore sustainable providing sensitive areas are protected.

How out of touch is VCAT, when are ministers in the Bracks Government going to call the tribunal to account? This decision flies in the face of what our community wants and how they want to live their life. It is outrageous that VCAT have made this determination given the application falls so short in achieving the aims of the Regional Strategy Plan, the Shire's Planning Scheme and Vision 2020.

The decision is short sighted and fails to recognise how locals feel about the issue.

It is environmental vandalism - the applicant will be allowed to log such a pristine area for pulp and firewood, of what value is this to our community and our environment?

This is such a waste of resources, does nothing to protect biodiversity in the shire, increases the likelihood of extinction of flora and fauna and it is insulting that VCAT think that logging forests is sustainable because they'll grow back. Logging on this scale is only about a quick buck for the few at the great cost of the environment.

It saddens me that there is such a long way to go educating so many in our community about the devastation of our environment, I can assure my constituents I will do whatever I can to challenge this decision.

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