Greater care is being called for surrounding logging in the Mt Cole area.
The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) has highlighted the need for greater protection of the region, after witnessing the extent of the logging.
VNPA Executive Director Matt Ruchel spoke in a statement about his concerns about the area.
“Mt Cole has long been a popular bushwalking, camping and picnic spot for generations of people from Ballarat and Melbourne, and its amenity, ambiance and ecology is being wrecked by an industrial logging trial.” said Mr Ruchel.
“The scale and intensity of logging highlights the importance of fully assessing the need for better protection and management.
“Over 130 different native birds can be found at Mt Cole. And its forest harbours nine threatened fauna species, thirteen threatened flora species, three endangered vegetation types and two vulnerable vegetation types under-represented elsewhere in Victoria’s formal reserve system.”
A spokesperson for VicForests confirmed areas around Mount Cole were identified under VicForests’ Community Forestry Timber Utilisation Plan.
“VicForests carefully plans and assesses all its timber harvest operations and ensures it meets industry best-practice backed up by scientific and expert advice and in accordance to strict environmental and conservation protections.” said VicForests in a statement.
This is a statewide issue, with Wilderness Society Victorian Campaigns Manager, Amelia Young, calling for both the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily Ambrosio, and VicForests to “do its job”.
“The responsible Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, must overhaul the logging compliance unit and the Forest, Fire and Regions Group in her department, which today’s court outcome shows is failing to do its job.” said Ms Young.
These comments came after charges against VicForests for unlawful rainforest logging were thrown out of the Magistrate’s Court due to the environment department incompletely filling in the charge sheet.
“Properly filling in court documents would have been a very basic start, so today was a missed opportunity for the industry.”