I was saddened and annoyed when I read the reply from Danny O’Brien (our local Parliamentary representative) to a letter from a concerned citizen of Mirboo North asking for his support in stopping the proposed logging by VicForests of the three coupes near our town.
Bearing in mind that this is something that our whole town does not want and also that Danny proudly states in his vision “Putting locals first is about standing up for local issues” and “I am committed to putting our local communities first”.
Here is a section from Danny’s reply to the letter:
“I have long been a supporter of the native forest industry in Victoria and have been on the record numerous times to that effect. It would be inconsistent and hypocritical of me if I were now to come out and oppose forestry in my electorate, including around Mirboo North.
“I have in fact had significant contact on numerous occasions with VicForests to raise the concerns of the community since the consultation process first began.
“In conjunction with the community campaign, I believe my advocacy has been responsible to the increased buffer zones that will be used around Lyrebird Walk and along the Strzelecki Highway.
“I have also raised this matter in state parliament which you can confirm by doing a search of Hansard at www.parliament.vic.gov.au.
“I appreciate that yourself and many others in the community want no logging at all. That is not a position I support as outlined above.”
Here is the extract from Hansard that he refers to:
* Strzelecki Ranges timber harvesting; Page 2936, September 21, 2017: O’Brien (Gippsland South) – “I extend my congratulations to the Mirboo North community for a massive turnout… night to learn more about proposed timber harvesting operations by VicForests in the Strzelecki Ranges. Some 350 people attended… the meeting and listened carefully to VicForests about their proposals for harvesting three coupes near the town, but they… I have been liaising with VicForests about this matter since it was first brought to my attention some weeks…”
Danny states in his letter and in Hansard that he has been liaising with VicForests re our community concerns and believes that he was responsible for the “increased buffer zones that will be used around Lyrebird Walk and along the Strzelecki Highway.”
Unfortunately Danny has only being liaising and consulting with VicForests and not the Preserve our Forests steering committee that our town voted to run the campaign to ensure this logging does not proceed. If Danny had been paying attention to the people of Mirboo North and consulting with our committee, he would have realised that his “increased buffer zones around Lyrebird Walk and along the Strzelecki Highway” were totally rejected out of hand by the committee because this is not what our town wants.
As a reminder, at that public town meeting the following motion was passed unanimously.
“This urgent public meeting:
a) strongly opposes any logging as proposed by Vic Forests (i.e. the three coupes of native forest near Mirboo North identified by VicForest as the Oscine, Doug & Samson Coupes);
b) endorses the immediate establishment of the Preserve Our Forests Campaign to ensure that the logging of the three coupes does not proceed;
c) endorses the immediate establishment of the Preserve Our Forests Steering Committee to run this campaign on behalf of the community; and
d) As a priority, requires the Preserve Our Forests Steering Committee to call for an urgent meeting with the Premier, relevant Ministers and VicForest to ensure this logging does not proceed.”
Phil Piper, (Concerned resident of our unique town which is surrounded by our beloved forests), Mirboo North.