Preserve our Forests Steering Committee (PoFSC) would like to thank the South Gippsland Shire councillors for standing by the Mirboo North community in carrying a motion submitted by Crs Hill and McEwen, which included advocating to strongly oppose logging by VicForests in the Mirboo North native forest coupes and working collaboratively with PoFSC.
Much appreciated by our community and PoFSC is the thought, time and effort each councillor put into considering the issues at stake.
They have given PoFSC three opportunities to present material and aspects to council meetings and have generously given of their personal time outside council to listen to our concerns.
In the interests of balance and to ensure a full understanding of the issues, councillors requested that VicForests and DELWP also state their case for consideration, yet were able to see how the PoFSC work done proved all the points to stop the native forest logging in Mirboo North.
Councillors commended the huge amount of work done by PoFSC in documentation and preparation, and the commitment of the Mirboo North community in protecting these forests that are of such significance to the district; as Cr Kiel so eloquently put it, “It is why we live where we live, in the Strzelecki Ranges surrounded by rolling hills and forests.”
Cr Kiel expressed concern for the impacts logging would have on our major attractions, businesses, and forest flora and fauna.
In support of the motion Cr McEwen and Cr Brown outlined the negative economic impacts that were likely to occur and both councillors proved that the South Gippsland tourist dollar far outweighed any negligible benefit of native forest logging in Mirboo North.
Cr Skinner acknowledged that, “We rely on our communities to know what they want and value … this is the laydown in front of the bulldozer thing for me.”
Cr Argento remarked that “We like our timber to be standing in the forest.” He went on to say that 110HA is not a great deal and fails to see the economic benefits of logging this to the community and this council.
Cr Hill, highlighted that the role of council is to advocate for the community and that the community want something different from the logging of the past, “Logging can’t be justified at all in this area; it’s not sustainable.”
Acknowledgment must also go to Cr Edwards and Mayor Brunt who held dissenting views. The motion, split by the Mayor, allowed them to vote, for the first part of the motion. Cr Edwards abstained from voting on the second part citing representations made to her from those in favour of logging.
The Mayor voted against it, stating in part, “VicForests is a business, it operates with Forest Agreements. The bush has been set aside for probably 50 years; it’s now ready to harvest…. It’s not the role of local council to decide on the issues of forestry; it’s the State Government’s. Let’s not send a negative message from Mirboo North.”
Lyrics from a famous Bob Dylan song were quoted by Cr Rich to illustrate his position, “We have to look after our forests and our communities … “For the Times they are A’Changing”
Marg Thomas, Mirboo North.