The Victorian Government's position on logging Melbourne water supply catchments.
The brass tap story continues.......
......although Melbourne is facing the toughest water restrictions ever, the Victorian Government has no intention of stopping clearfell logging within the Melbourne domestic water supply catchments.
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Age 20th October, 2006.(See below)
Radio - 774 3LO Friday 13th October 2006.
Jon Faine interviewed former Environment Minister John Thwaites (pictured below) regarding logging the Melbourne domestic water supply catchments.
The former Environment Minister claimed that only a small amount of logging occurred in the Melbourne domestic water supply catchments each year.
"The amount of logging that's done in the water catchments is very small,"
...... wait a minute, there are 16 areas scheduled to be clearfell logged this summer within the Melbourne water supply catchments.
If you arrived at this web page from the brass tap story run in Google Earth, there are 16 taps that each represent an area of forest to be clearfell logged within the Melbourne catchment areas for the 2006/2007 logging season!
That is at least three square kilometre of forest. How is that a "small area"?
The minister did concede that water is lost through logging.
"It does cost some, although the amount is subject to a scientific research inquiry that we're doing now,"
However the minister dismissed the lost water by declaring a ban on logging today would only result in extra water in 20-30 years time.
"The logging that you do would not have any effect now on water."
"The possible effect is in the longer term. You're talking about 20 or 30 years hence before you'd get a significant effect on your water if you stop all logging."
...... so in 20-30 years time this "significant" amount of water will not be there for our children. And what about all the past logging, are we just going to add to that?
If you have not already done so, you can see the extent of past logging in the Melbourne catchments with overlays downloaded from this web site in Google Earth.
Mr Thwaites went on to say the bush fire was the biggest threat to the catchments which is true!
"but the real issue with fire this year, is a potential very bad bushfire season which could burn vast areas of the state and threaten the whole of the water catchments. "
"If you did have such a fire it would have a
devastating impact on our water supplies."
......Thwaites is correct. However, clearfell logging is converting wet forests that are naturally more fire resistant into drier environments that are more fire prone. See more.
Why is Mr Thwaites, the Environment Minister, protecting logging in the catchments when it is in no-one's interest in Melbourne?
Should the Victorian government continue to supply woodchips to make products such as Reflex photocopy paper from the Melbourne domestic water supply catchments?Liz Minchin
October 20, 2006
LOGGING in Melbourne's water catchments will continue for at least another two years, despite government-appointed experts conceding it reduces the amount of water running into the city's biggest dam.
This week the State Government released its strategy to supply Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and the Latrobe Valley with water for the next 50 years.
But the strategy did not include any decisions about continuing to log water catchment areas, including higher rainfall areas above Melbourne's main reservoir, Lake Thomson.
Four years ago, an expert committee appointed by the Bracks Government said phasing out logging in the Thomson catchment by 2020 could increase Melbourne's long-term water supply by an estimated 20,000 megalitres a year by 2050 enough to supply 80,000 Melbourne homes.
Their report, 21st Century Melbourne: a WaterSmart City, called for an investigation to be completed within two years into whether logging in the Thomson Reservoir catchment should be phased out.
Similar recommendations were made in a 2003 Department of Sustainability and Environment paper.
The Government has now commissioned studies into how much water is being lost from logging and whether it could be replaced with timber from plantations outside catchment areas.
But its new water strategy says those studies will not be completed until December 2008, with a Department of Sustainability and Environment spokeswoman confirming that "the project is still at an early stage".
A spokesman for Water Minister John Thwaites defended the time the Government was taking to act, saying "any decision on logging in catchments has to balance any potential increase in water yields with the impact on regional jobs and the economy".
In response, the State Opposition and environment groups accused the Government of trying to delay controversial decisions until after next month's election.
"This is another example of the Bracks Government hiding critical data ahead of the state election," Liberal environment spokesman David Davis said.
Central Highlands Alliance president Sarah Rees said studies going back to 1968 showed that logging reduced water flows into water catchments.
"How many more reports do they need before they'll finally do something?" Ms Rees said.
Age story continues .......