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Wilderness Society paper claims totally unfounded says VicForests

Claims have been made by the Wilderness Society that paper Australians are printing on is produced from illegally sourced wood taken from Victoria’s state forests. In particular, the Wilderness Society has claimed that Nippon-owned Australian Paper has illegally processed more than half a million tonnes of logs sourced from Victoria’s native forests. Source: Timberbiz

However, VicForests say there has been no findings by authorities of the “illegalities” claimed by the Wilderness Society.

VicForests says it complies with the legislative and regulatory framework for timber harvesting in Victoria and denies Wilderness Society claims that paper companies don’t comply with the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act when buying VicForests’ timber.

“Australian paper companies are compliant in buying timber from our operations,” VicForests said.

“Further to this, we are certified under the Australian Responsible Wood Standard, endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification – the largest such standard in the world.

“Under that standard, which we have maintained since 2007, we are independently audited every nine months,” VicForests said.

“Beyond that, we are regularly and rigorously monitored by Victoria’s Office of the Conservation Regulator, including through the Victorian Government Forest Audit Program.”

The Wilderness Society article appears to have been sourced from a previous report in The Age.

That report, VicForests says, wrongly stated that breaches had been recorded and reported by the Victorian Auditor General. In fact, the Auditor General has never done so.

Other data related to a four-year-old Forest Audit Program report, and those issues had been addressed.

“There has been no report by the Auditor-General making findings against VicForests about Illegal Logging Prohibition Act breaches,” VicForests says.

“VicForests can state categorically that it is compliant with the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulations.

“Reports to the contrary are incorrect, misleading and disappointing.”

VicForests says the public rely on accurate information being provided by all parties about native forestry – including The Wilderness Society