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The Baw Baw Plateau is being destroyed by logging as a direct result of repeated Victorian State Government suppression of its significance, a new report released by leading Victorian environment groups has revealed today.
The Baw Baw Report, produced by The Central Highlands Alliance (part of the Victorian Forest Alliance), reveals that key scientific findings relating to the environmental significance of the Baw Baw Plateau were deliberately removed before Government authorities released the report to the public.
“This report exposes the serious cover ups that have contributed to Victoria’s water shortages, regional species extinctions and the destruction of one of Victoria’s most important biodiversity regions,” said The Central Highlands Alliance President, Sarah Rees.
The State Government’s original report published in 1994 recommended that logging be prohibited in the majority of the examined areas. However senior foresters, bureaucrats, and key government members ordered that the scientists recommendations be removed and only the timber resource information remain.
“The missing chapters from the Government’s original reports reveal the ecological damage that would be caused by logging. These were finally released after a Freedom of Information application was successful” said Lawyers for Forests President, Vanessa Bleyer.
“Since 1999 no one, including members of parliament, could find the missing recommendations, until now. The largest zone available for logging in Victoria was given approval based on a massive cover-up. This should never have been allowed to happen in an area of such high ecological significance” said Ms Rees.
“Localised extinctions of internationally Red-listed threatened species such as the Leadbeater’s Possum, Sooty Owl and Baw Baw Frog are happening due to logging, yet nothing is being done to stop this, nor is funding available to identify future habitats.
“In light of this shocking new information, both Steve Bracks and Ted Baillieu should promise to stop logging our key water supply catchments, to protect our water security, endangered species habitats, such as that of the Baw Baw frog,” says Ms Rees.
The Baw Baw Plateau is recognised as a Site of Global Zoological Significance, of National Botanical Significance, of National Geological and Geomorphological Significance, of National Estate Value and of Landscape Value as recognised by the National Trust.
Environment groups are calling for an open public inquiry into why the environmental status of the area has been suppressed, an end to logging and the establishment of a new national park to protect the globally significant importance of the region.
The Victorian Forest Alliance comprises the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society, Lawyers for Forests, the Central Highlands Alliance, The Yarra Ranges Environment Coalition, Environment East Gippsland, Goongerah Environment Centre and the Upper Bunyip Action Group.
To view the Baw Baw Report, visit: http://web.mac.com/elevenbutterflies/iWeb/Baw%20Baw%20Report/Baw%20Baw%2...