The Victorian Forest Harvesting and Cartage Council (VFHCC) have labelled a protest rally in Melbourne today to gain support for illegal blockades in East Gippsland as a cheap stunt trying to shift the focus of real environmental issues.
“If these people were really concerned with forest management then they would be outside the Royal Commission protesting about excessive fuel loads on the forest floor,” said Scott Gentle, Executive Officer of the VFHCC.
“If they were true environmentalists they would be calling for more active management of our forests, not more reserves and more fire traps. The recent fires have exposed green idealism for what it is and its time the environment movement
got real and started to work towards better forest management and move away from their lock it up mentality,” Gentle said.
“If those at today’s rally really understood the issues facing the environment they would be talking up the positive contribution of sustainable forestry as a potential supplier of green energy and green fuel not trying to stop it,” said Gentle.
The amount of forest that is available for timber harvesting in Victoria is around
600,000ha or 9% of public forest. Of this 9% only around 0.8% of the land is harvested and regenerated on an annual basis.
“Ninety percent of forest unavailable for timber production should be enough to satisfy the
greenest of greens yet they continue with their campaigns against a sustainable Timber industry,” said Gentle.
“Targeting innocent small business operators is not the way to prove their point. Illegal protests are not only impacting financially on Contractors and their employees but their families as well. If protestors have a problem with the Government then like all other law abiding citizens they should go through the right channels to air their opinions. If we
all took their approach to disputes it would be total anarchy,” said Gentle.
“If well known environmental activists, such as Patrick Moore, Bjorn Lomborg and our own Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garret can see the value of well managed sustainable forestry then it’s about time the radical minority in the environment movement stopped barking up the wrong tree and started actually helping the planet,” he said.