Monday, November 20, 2006

Strzelecki Forest Buy-Back

Although this doesn't relate directly to our farm, I reckon it's an important topic - and as this is my Blog here goes!

An announcement by the Victorian Government to buy back 8000 hectares of forest in the Strzelecki Ranges, which had been earmarked for logging (mainly for woodchips) confirms the great result for protecting the areas identified as the Cores and Links.
There are always people who are disatisfied with any negotiated conservation agreement - but by any test the Strzelecki agreement is a top result! The State Government has committed to Provide $7 million to buy back the iconic Cores and Links area to be vested with the Trust for Nature for future conservation. The previous Kennett Government privatised much of the Strzelecki ranges when it sold the Victorian Plantations Corporation.
The current Government worked with the local community and Hancock Victorian Plantations to ensure the protection of the high biodiversity sites in the Strzelecki Ranges. As a result, the Government and the community reached agreement with Hancock's to buy-back over 8,000 hectares of native forest and hardwood plantation, funded through existing resources.
This high value Cores and Links forest will be gifted to the Trust for Nature for on-going conservation and management so it can be enjoyed by all Victorians. It really is a 'win-win' as there will be no job losses resulting from the protection of these key areas and Hancock Victorian Plantations timber requirements to feed the pulp- mill will be met through accessing timber supplies identified with the community, including once only harvesting of 1,500 hectares of hardwood plantation within the Cores and Links area (remember that's out of the 8000 ha buyback). The deal may not be perfect but it's a damn sight better than most people thought was achieveable.

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