WHAT DO YOU THINK? SHOULD ALL LOGGING BE BANNED IN THE YARRA RANGES FOREST AREAS? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
YARRA Ranges Council will invite federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to witness firsthand the impact of logging at Mt St Leonard in the Toolangi State Forest, near Healesville.
In a motion put forward by councillor Samantha Dunn last week, the council voted to bypass the state government and appeal
to Canberra to protect species like the Leadbeater's Possum.
Toolangi resident Burnie Mace addressed last Tuesday's council meeting, highlighting the plight of the possum, Sooty Owl and tiger quoll.
Mr Mace said that after the Black Saturday fires there were only four pairs of Sooty Owls left in the Yarra Ranges and logging was scaring them away. "The logging process actually changes the nature of the ecosystem. I support the motion that council liaise with Tony Burke. We need to overrule the state government and stop the logging."
He said that after the fires Toolangi had a large unburnt area that animals flocked to "continue to survive".
Cr Dunn said the issue was of national importance and needed the understanding of the federal government. "This is a population on collapse. I am hopeful he [Mr Burke] not only accepts our invitation but he also acts on behalf of these critters."
Cr Tim Heenan said logging was affecting tourism operators in the area. "I'm gravely concerned about the devastating impact of the logging process. This will have a detrimental [effect] on tourism operators."
Cr Noel Cliff, who visited the site a few weeks ago, said it was disgusting to see the effects of logging.
Speaking against the motion, Cr Terry Avery said the court case between environmental group MyEnvironment and VicForests was still being heard.
MyEnvironment is seeking a permanent end to logging in the forest on the basis it is a habitat for endangered species. "It would be remiss of us to act on that prior to the hearing coming through," Cr Avery said.
Councillors Dunn, Cox, Cliff, Heenan and Jeanette McRae voted in favour of the motion. Councillors Avery, Chris Templer and Richard Higgins voted against.