Typically about 80% of the forest that is clearfell logged in Victoria ends up as woodchips.
Each year, about half a million tonnes of these woodchips from the native forests of the Central Highlands are purchased by a pulpmill at Maryvale to be made into various fine paper products. This makes the Maryvale pulp mill the single biggest buyer of native forest woodchips in Victoria.
Prior to 2001, the Maryvale pulp mill was owned by Amcor. In the 1990's Amcor funded a lobby group called the "A-team" which actively spied on many conservation groups that were trying to protect native forests in the Central Highlands from clearfell logging.
The A-team also infiltrated the State ALP environment committee and ensured the ALP environment policies remained pro-logging in the 1990's.
These spying activities of Amcor and the Maryvale pulp mill "A-team " were recently exposed in a ABC TV 4 Corners documentary that was aired on the 2 October 2006 titled "The A team". A transcript is available on this web site.
Dialogue and solutions
Hopefully the bad days of spying on conservation groups, forest protests, the naive use of litigation (see Gunns20 ) to intimidate the community opposed to logging and general confrontation between conservationists and loggers are now over.
VRN understands PaperlinX has inherited a dubious past, as exposed on the 4 Corners program "The A team".
The Victorian Rainforest Network hopes to meet with PaperlinX to encourage the company to immediately stop using native forest trees from high conservation forest areas. This would include:
- Baw Baw frog habitat;
- Melbourne domestic water supply catchments and;
- Rainforest Sites of Significance.
PaperlinX have made it publicly known that the company will exit all native forest logging by 2017 when their plantations are mature.
However where is logging going to continue in the interim?
Will the 3.6 million residents of Melbourne (on water restrictions) find it acceptable to allow clearfell logging to reduce water yield in their publicly owned domestic water supply catchments while PaperlinX waits for privately owned plantations to mature by 2017?
Will people around the world want to buy Reflex photo copy paper made from the forest habitat of the endangered Baw Baw frog and other high conservation forest areas over the next decade?
Given that so many woodchips are already exported from Australia, why can't some of these be used to supply PaperlinX instead of clearfell logging the Melbourne water supply catchments and other high conservation forests?
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