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Minister flags new national park within this term to save the possum.

Farrah Tomazin for The Age on Sunday 3rd May 2015

Melbourne could have a new national park on its doorstep within this term of the Andrews Government – a move that would help save Victoria's critically endangered faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's possum.

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OPEN LETTER TO THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT, Senators and Members

17th June 2015

We are scientists, researchers and analysts with a direct interest in the
management, exploitation and conservation of Australia’s native forests.
We write to express our sincere opposition to the inclusion of native forest
wood as an eligible fuel source for electricity generation under the
Renewable Energy Target.

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How world's biggest green power plant is actually INCREASING greenhouse gas emissions and Britain's energy bill

David Rose for the Mail on Sunday, 7th June 2015

It is touted as the flagship of Britain’s energy future: the world’s biggest green power plant burning wood pellets to generate renewable biomass electricity that will safeguard the planet for our children.

But today The Mail on Sunday can expose the hypocrisy that underpins the Drax power station in North Yorkshire – which far from curbing greenhouse emissions, is actually increasing them, while adding huge sums to the nation’s power bills.

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Burning ambition: Why the forestry industry needs the RET

Lorraine Bower, reneweconomy.com.au, June 5th, 2015

On Wednesday, shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler moved an amendment to the RET legislation on behalf of the Labor opposition, that would disqualify native forest biomass as an eligible fuel source for renewable energy credits in the legislation itself. The fate of the amendment will be decided on the cross bench in the Senate on or after June 15, when parliament resumes sitting.

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As published in Mountain Monthly, June 2015.

Steve Meacher, Mountain Monthly, June 2015

NOTE:  Since this article was submitted Murrindindi Shire Council has resolved to write to the Environment Minister, Lisa Neville to "request that the State Government cause to cease the logging in areas within the Murrindindi Shire considered to be Leadbeater's possum habitat."

It’s official! Leadbeater’s Possum, the Victorian faunal emblem, is threatened with extinction if current forest management practices are allowed to continue. At the end of April, the federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, announced his decision to upgrade the species’ listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to ‘Critically Endangered’, the last category before ‘Extinct’.

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Logging in East Gippsland losing up to $5.5 million a year

Tom Arup, The Age, May 28, 2015

Logging in East Gippsland is not commercially viable and cutting down native forests across the region is racking up losses of up to $5.5 million a year, internal government documents reveal.

A leaked briefing by Victoria's Department of Treasury and Finance to the former Napthine government says East Gippsland logging is being cross-subsidised by profitable harvesting in the state's Central Highlands.

The Highlands logging has come under growing public attention because of the impact it has on the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum.

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VicForests losing millions, but promises 'no massive forest furnaces' under new RET deal

ABC, RN Breakfast Radio, 28th May, 2015

Leaked business and corporate plans from Victoria's state-owned forestry business, VicForests, reveal multi-million dollar taxpayer losses and logging operations in parts of the state that 'are not commercial'.

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Mountain Monthly - May 2015

Steve Meacher, Mountain Monthly, May 2015

In recent weeks the media has been full of righteous indignation at the conduct of hi-tech multinational companies that have used a variety of strategies to minimise profits declared in Australia and thereby to legally avoid paying relatively high levels of Corporate Tax. The issue has been the topic of a Senate Inquiry, chaired by Senator Sam Dastayari which has probed the tax affairs of Microsoft, Google and Apple. The Financial Review has reported, “Google pays less than 0.2 per cent tax in Singapore on the estimated $2 billion paid by Australian companies as revenue for Google ads. The reason for the low tax bill is that despite the huge revenues, Google reported a profit of only $US1.9 million in Singapore in 2013.”

But it is not only multinationals that are exploiting the tax system to minimise declared profits and therefore pay less tax. Our own low-tech, state-owned native forest logging corporation, VicForests, has been at it for years, using very similar techniques.

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Excellent letter in Sunday Age - Irreparable loss

The Sunday Age, 10th May, 2015

Irreparable loss 

I grew up near the Australian Paper Mills. My family listened to its drone, smelt it, even earned by it. I also love a tiny pocket of temperate rainforest close by, Tarra Valley/Bulga Park, where lyrebirds call ("National park moves a step closer to reality", 3/5). The loss of a great Mountain Ash tree cannot be weighed against giving a human the job of cutting it down. We are all going down if we frame it like this. 

Using the word "environmentalist" reduces and stereotypes people who support a healthy ecosystem in this Great Forest Park. As the federal government's "Australia, State of the Environment Report" 2006 states: "The environment is everybody's business." 

The question is what will a Great Forest National Park mean? The possum is close to its heart but untold benefits for people are built into this genuinely sustainable proposal. It is designed for the future – to generate jobs, restore habitat, bring great healthy outdoor recreation to Melbourne's doorstep and create a tourist destination to rival Phillip Island. All this, in Australia's most environmentally depleted state. 

Linda Zibell, Mount Helen  

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Minister flags new national park within this term to save the possum

Farrah Tomazin, The Sunday Age, May 3, 2015

Melbourne could have a new national park on its doorstep within this term of the Andrews Government – a move that would help save Victoria's critically endangered faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's possum.

Environment Minister Lisa Neville has given her strongest signal yet that Labor could soon move away from old growth logging in favour of the proposed 355,000-hectare Great Forest National Park.

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