Gippsland Tree Vandals as Climate Criminals

Cabbage Tree Palms Flora Reserve

A recent media release from the Gippsland Environment Group noted the wholesale destruction of trees in parts of East Gippsland. “Hundreds, possibly thousands, of trees have been felled in protected forest areas with the approval of the Department of Environment Land and Water (DELWP), in what has been described as an excessive and extremely environmentally damaging operation.”

The MR continued “Gippsland Environment Group has documented the irreparable damage to much loved and picturesque roadsides into the highly significant Cabbage Tree Palms Flora Reserve near Cape Conran and into the old Mitchell River Weir and Billygoat Bend in the Mitchell River National Park. Roadside trees have been clear felled by contractors under the guise of ‘worker safety’ as part of planned burning preparations.”

GEG secretary Louise Crisp added “There is a mass of trees down in Mitchell River NP on tracks. On the west side of the river, we checked out Billygoat Bend access tracks from Dargo Rd and Park Rd (Den of Nargun) and on the east side down Old Weir Track” and that it was “probably too difficult to calculate the lost carbon in the many trees felled but I can work out the kilometres cleared if that’s any relevance.” Crisp then estimated that at least 10 kms of roadside were cleared in the Mitchell River National Park and 8kms at Cabbage Tree Palms.

Commenting on the MR on facebook a very angry former landcare co-ordinator Paul Harvey noted “And you should see the damage that DELWP and Parks Vic (PV) have caused in and around Cape Conran Park. PV’s small burn 2 weeks ago turned into 135ha of out-of-control fire that ripped through a swamp area, unsurprisingly dry after 2 years or more of drought, crossed the road and nearly took out the office. PV celebrated their incompetence by then pushing over heaps of trees (unsafe, you see……actually I didn’t; many of them were rock-solid, 100 year old banksias). That dovetails neatly with their destruction of habitat on the road to Yeerung Gorge last year.”

“Meanwhile, DELWP contractors…[who created an]…astonishing amount of damage in a very short space of time – then proceeded to push over hundreds and hundreds of trees along the Cabbage Tree / Conran Road, turning a once beautiful rural road, delineating a supposedly protected National Park, into a logging coupe. It’s truly unbelievable – and they don’t have to do any sort of offsetting, unlike everyone else. So here’s a question; if a government agency like, say, Vic Roads, has to offset any vegetation removal that they do in the course of their duties, why don’t other government agencies, like DELWP?”

To which we may add what part of climate science the DELWP administrators and contractors don’t understand? Whilst their actions were, and are, sanctioned by the status quo so were those of Hitler and the Nuremberg defence of ‘following orders’ was not valid. They have destroyed and continue to destroy with their burning and logging Victoria’s most valuable carbon store. Trees are precious and should be preserved at all costs. These rapacious actions are more like those of ‘Attila the Hun’ and bordering on the climate criminal.