Tuesday, December 18, 2007

logging in catchments - melbourne's water at risk

At the top of the Armstrong Catchment - Cambarville, on Sunday 16th December, where logging has already commenced.

It's not just the forest that's at stake, it's thousands of litres of water loss in Melbourne's catchments.

The mainstream media picks up the story with the Herald Sun, Channel 7, 9 and 10 covering the issue.

Tonight: Bayside City Council unanimously votes to support Yarra Ranges' positon of opposing logging of Melbourne’s water catchments.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

logging in water catchments

It was with great dismay that I learnt that the pristine Armstrong catchment in the Shire of Yarra Ranges is be logged in 2007/08 with a total of 4 coupes scheduled for clear felling. I was appalled to learn of this information which came to me via The Central Highlands Alliance, a group I have the greatest respect for.
It was at that point I decided to move a motion through council to publicly support a statement opposing logging in water catchments in Yarra Ranges.

These forests will be clear felled with only 20% of logs removed for sawlog timber; the rest is used for wood chipping.

We are told that regeneration is 100% and that makes this practice sustainable, the truth is that regeneration is between 30 and 60% (and this is based on the DNRE's own data). Regeneration implies that the forest will return to its former state but given clear fell rotations are in 80 year cycles it really means the destruction of diverse ecosystems and the fauna in them.

This is what's at stake: pristine forest in the Armstrong Catchment, image taken by me on a tour of Fire Breaks in August 2007.

There are numerous reports supporting the link between loss of water yield with logging of catchments. In a time where water security is paramount to continue logging threatens even further the supply of water and I question these actions seriously.

So on the 27th November 2007 I moved the following motion:

That Council supports a public statement opposing logging of water catchments in Yarra Ranges, and further that Council also makes representation to the Premier, the Minister of Environment and Minister of Water, and I propose that the statement is:

The Shire of Yarra Ranges does not support logging in water catchments.

Council recognises that:

1. Logging has a dramatic and detrimental effect on water yield in catchments.

2. Young re-growth trees need more water to grow thus releasing less water into catchments.

3. Logging reduces stream flow and yields to water catchments.

4. It takes 150 years for water yields to return to their pre logged status.

5. It is poor water policy to continue to log our water catchments.

6. Logging of water catchments adversely affects water quality through increasing sediment as does road construction through logging coupes.

We urge the government to consider a policy of no logging in water catchments.

I'm pleased to report that the motion was supported unanimously by council (Cr Ken Smith absent).

write to your local MP, the Premier, the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Water, the State Government wont know what you think if you don't write to them.

Local MPs
James Merlino (ALP) - james.merlino@parliament.vic.gov.au
Tammy Lobato (ALP) - tammy.lobato@parliament.vic.gov.au
Ben Hardman (ALP) - benedict.hardman@parliament.vic.gov.au
David Hodgett (Lib) - david.hodgett@parliament.vic.gov.au
Christine Fyffe (Lib) - christine.fyffe@parliament.vic.gov.au

The Premier - john.brumby@parliament.vic.gov.au
Minister for the Environment - gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au
Minister for Water - timothy.holding@parliament.vic.gov.au

Thanks to the TCHA for the above image of Leadbeaters Possum and the following text:
Victoria’s Faunal Emblem- The Leadbeaters Possum: there are only 2000 left in the world and they are facing extinction due to logging and fire breaks in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

rudd takes loggers to bali

Bob Brown again calls for 10% cut in Australia's emissions by ending native forest logging.

The inclusion of the CEO and deputy CEO of the National Association ofForest Industries in the Rudd government's delegation to Bali is asignal of no change from the Howard years, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart late last week.

"The fastest way for Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent is to stop logging and burning native forests. NAFI, which fronts for Gunns and its pulp mill proposal, is there to agitate against this prudent move by Australia," Senator Brown said."How can Rudd join calls for Indonesia, Papua New Guinea or Brazil to end logging when he has a loggers' lobby group in his own camp?" Senator Brown asked.

"Instead, Mr Rudd should show he means business by announcing Australia will dump Gunns' pulp mill which will produce 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gases if it is built," Senator Brown said.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

brumby's backward gm decision

YARRA RANGES condemns government gm decision - below is a media release issued 28/11/07 in response to Premier Brumby's decision to lift the moratorium on GM Canola.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges has condemned the state government’s decision to lift a ban on the growing of genetically modified canola, with deputy mayor Samantha Dunn (that's me) calling on the new federal government to convene a meeting of the Gene Technology Ministerial Council to consider the matter nationally.

Cr Dunn criticised the decision, during a council meeting last night (27/11/07), saying it would open the flood gates for other genetically modified crops to be grown in the state, destroying Victoria’s clean and green image.

This is the most retrograde decision I've seen from the Brumby government to date,” Cr Dunn said. “The assertion from the Premier that the lifting of the moratorium is of economic benefit to Victoria is misguided. The majority of farmers, consumers and the food industry do not support genetically modified crops being grown in Australia; yet the Premier has chosen to disregard this.

Ending the GM bans is a national, permanent and irreversible decision as GM pollen knows no borders. It threatens the entire organic farming industry in Australia and weakens our market position as a clean and green primary producer.”

In pushing for federal government intervention, Cr Dunn also criticised the lack of transparency around the decision.

The submissions to Sir Gustav Nossal's review are not publicly available. This is poor process and fails the test of open and transparent government,” she said.

Cr Dunn said the council and the Yarra Ranges community had been vocal in saying not to GMO’s. Just last year the council collected more than 1000 signatures on a petition calling for a ban on a trial to grow a genetically modified blue rose in the shire.

The council adopted a policy in February 2001 opposing the introduction of GM crops into the shire. “Yarra Ranges’ agricultural produce is regarded as some of the finest in the world. This decision threatens our agricultural and horticultural producers and the region’s precious biodiversity.”

Cr Dunn said horticultural production in the shire was worth an estimated $710 million per annum with the nursery and cut flower sectors worth about $390 million and the orchard and berry fruit industries about $110 million (source Centre for eBusiness and Communications Swinburne University).

“The council’s objection to GMOs is not just based on philosophical concerns; we have major concerns on scientific grounds and the potential impact on our farmers and horticultural industries.

“Not enough is known about the potential effects of genetically modified crops on insect life including native and exotic pollinating insects, its potential for recombinant viruses and the level of gene flow between other crops,” Cr Dunn said.

WHAT’S AT STAKE Some of the state’s most significant biodiversity with important flora and fauna. A thriving agricultural sector renowned for its premium quality food and produce and a major employer of the region’s people.

Yarra Ranges Agricultural Sector Stats
The agricultural sector employs about 4000 people on a permanent basis with a further 6000 seasonal employees. It is a major generator of jobs and money in the local, state and national economies.
Nursery sector 93 businesses generating a Gross Value of Production of $290M per annum (“Farming Real Estate” Centre for eBusiness and Communications Swinburne University)
Cut Flower sector 73 businesses generating GVP of $100M per annum
Orchard Fruit Industry 50 businesses generating GVP of $50M per annum (industry sources)
Berry Fruit Industry 93 businesses $60M per annum (industry sources)
Wine grapes 113 businesses generating approximately $150 to $200million per annum
Vegetable Growers 47 businesses $10M per annum

Sources: Centre for eBusiness and Communications Swinburne University 2000 and ABS Shire of Yarra Ranges Economic Development Profile 2005.

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