Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Garbutt acknowledged logging elevation of Myrtle Wilt

Is Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt is a hypocrite when it comes to the protection of Otway rainforest? Garbutt's support for clearfell logging near rainforest at Ciancio creek in April 2001 contradicts a pro-conservation speech made to State Parliament in 1996 she made as the Shadow Environment Minister.

Sherryl Garbutt - State Minister for the Environment

In December 1996, Parliament sat to ratify a revised Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production. Marie Tehan who was the Minister for Environment under the Kennett government at the time, raised a motion to approve the new revised code. The ALP Shadow Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt moved a motion to reject the revised Code.

In Parliament, Garbutt highlighted the failure of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to follow advice from a CSIRO review and public consultation process into the Revised Code of Forest Practices. Among the many issues raised by Garbutt were CSIRO recommendations regarding the appropriate buffer widths that are required to prevent logging practices elevating myrtle wilt in Cool Temperate Rainforest.

In her speech, Garbutt put on the public record the Cameron and Turner Myrtle Wilt Report released in July 1996. Garbutt trumpeted the recommendations that rainforest buffer widths of between 250- 350 metres are required. Garbutt also condemned Tehan for allowing the Department to delete recommendations to conduct further research into the impact logging practices are having on elevating myrtle wilt throughout the Otways.

All ALP parliamentary member (Including Steve Bracks) voted to reject the revised Code of Forest Practices until all CSIRO recommendations were adopted.

The Garbutt motion was lost and the revised Code was ratified by Parliament in December 1996.

During the Ciancio dispute in April 2001, Garbutt publicly backflipped on her original statements to Parliament and now supports the limited (useless) rainforest buffers of 40 metres allowed for under the West Regional Forest Agreement. Garbutt's advisers told ABC regional radio that the the Minister got it wrong in 1996 and that the Minister has been now been properly advised. hmmmm...

Garbutt, December 1996 Hansard transcript

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