Thousands of hectares of state forest appear to have been logged or earmarked for logging illegally, an ABC investigation has found, amounting to what some say is the mass “theft” by a government-owned for-profit logging company.
Victorian Government determines where VicForests can log by creating “allocation order”
Only trees within that allocation can be harvested for sale
VicForests appears to be taking trees from outside allocation at hundreds of locations across the state
Trees making up some of Victoria’s most endangered ecosystems are being felled and turned into building products, paper or wood chips by VicForests, which are then sold in retailers such as Bunnings and Officeworks.
The apparently illegal logging is also threatening the habitats of some of the country’s most vulnerable species, including the Leadbeater’s possum, Victoria’s animal emblem.
In its simplest terms, the trees appear to have been taken illegally by VicForests — since they are not inside the areas it has been granted permission to log.
“If VicForests is logging timber that hasn’t been allocated to them, then they’re taking and selling timber that doesn’t belong to them,” said Danya Jacobs, a lawyer at Environmental Justice Australia.
“And another way of putting that is, it’s tantamount to stealing timber from public forests.”