Time to ban catchment logging
MWCN is calling for an end to logging in Melbourne’s water catchments. We are concerned about the future security of Melbourne’s water supply, and know that logging has a huge impact on water yields from the catchments. Logging also increases the risk of bushfire; apart from other devasting impacts, catchment fires result in the most dramatic reduction in Melbourne’s water yield.
It is a vital time, in the lead up to November’s State election, for our politicians and candidates to realise that an end to logging is well overdue.
A ban on catchment logging will:
- Increase the water available to Melbourne by 16 GL each year within 40 years. This is the amount of water used by a city the size of Bendigo.
- Reduce the risk of bushfire. Bushfire is the biggest risk to Melbourne’s water security.
- Not result in job losses if implemented properly.
- Protect nature conservation values in the catchments.
Councils across Melbourne opposed to catchment logging
Half the Local Government councils across metropolitan Melbourne have now taken a stand against continued logging of biodiverse native forests in the city’s water supply catchments. This logging is reducing water supply to Melbourne.
Since late 2007 the Melbourne Water Catchment Network, with support from other conservation groups, began lobbying councils on this issue. In just eight months,
15 councils representing almost 1.7 million people , have passed resolutions calling on the Victorian State Government to ban logging in the Melbourne catchments.
These councils are Yarra Ranges, Bayside City, Moreland City, City of Port Phillip, Whitehorse City, Knox City, Yarra City, City of Kingston, Melbourne City , Maroondah City, City of Boroondara, Nillumbik Shire, Frankston City , City of Maribyrnong and City of Moonee Valley.
On Friday 17 October member councils of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) passed a ‘no logging in Melbourne’s catchments’ motion.
Click interactive map below to read resolutions passed.For a long time, science has demonstrated that the clearfell logging native forest in Melbourne's water supply catchments is reducing the water supply for 3.6 million residents. The intellectual and scientific debate has been won many times, now it is time to win the political debate.
The Yarra Ranges Shire has lead the way by being the first council to pass a 'no logging in Melbourne's catchments' motion with full support from its local community. This is significant as the Yarra Tributaries component of the Melbourne water supply catchments falls within the Yarra Shire. Residents of Warburton are outraged that water catchment logging is taking place in their backyard and have formed a new community group called Our Environment.
Who profits from clearfell logging in the Melbourne's water catchments?
The Victorian State Government permits logging in the Melbourne water catchment areas. Melbourne catchments occupy land that is publicly owned. The Victorian Government, through VicForests and the Department of Sustainability and Environment allows about three square kilometers of Melbourne's high rainfall catchment forests to be clearfell logged every year.
Most of the native forest trees from the catchments is woodchipped and sold to a nearby Pulp & paper mill at Maryvale where they are made into paper products such as Reflex photocopy paper.
The Maryvale pulp & paper mill is located only 40 kilometres away from the Melbourne catchments. See and measure this for yourself by downloading into Google Earth the location of the PaperlinX pulp & paper mill and setting the ruler/measure function in Google Earth to kilometres (Tools->Ruler>).
What needs to be done?
- Local Government played a key role in getting all logging banned in the Geelong/Otway water catchments which supply 300,000 people in south Western Victoria with water. In 2002, the Victorian government listened to what the community in Geelong wanted and was elected with a policy that effectively banned all logging within the Geelong/Otway domestic water supply catchments back in 2002.This needs to happen again, this time for all of the Melbourne catchments which supply 3.6 million people with water.
- Melbourne residents can exercise their individual consumer power by buying paper products that are not made from forest sourced from Melbourne's water catchment. (for example do not buy the Reflex brand paper products). Such consumer power can send an economic message to private companies, that it is unacceptable to profit from woodchips sourced from Melbourne's domestic water supply catchments.
Authorised by D. NiCastro, Altair St, Springvale.