West Victoria RFA Panel
PO Box 502
East Melbourne, Victoria
for the West Victoria RFA
This submission, supported
by the undersigned, seeks to bring a different focus to
the current RFA debate. At present it seems the likely outcome
of the process will be business as usual for the timber
industry with open slather for woodchips.
This decision would
fly in the face of all the evidence presented to the RFA
process thus far. We call on the Independent Panel to look
carefully at the economic figures, which show that tourism
and water are the only sensible and sustainable directions
for future growth and security of the region.
Tourism, not Logging
The figures from volume
1 of the CRA speak for themselves. Hardwood sawmilling runs
at a loss, sustained only by government subsidies and profits
from woodchipping. While tourism along the Great Ocean Road
alone generates $458 million expenditure annually. One can
already see the growth in former logging towns such as Forrest
and Lavers Hill from the increasing tourist numbers. New
accommodation, hotels and galleries are just the start as
people become enlivened to the magic of the forest. The
timber industry employs ever-decreasing numbers while tourism
is continually growing. Who provides the best option for
Logging in domestic
water catchments is indefensible and we call for its immediate
end. Various members of this group remember well the last
time the catchment of Apollo Bay was logged. The result
being the water became dangerous to health and signs all
over town carrying this warning. So much for the health
of residents! Not to mention the possible effects on tourism.
Logging continues in the West Barwon Catchment as Geelong
enters its third year of restrictions, again, where is the
Scenic and Landscape
The forests are our
heritage to preserve and enjoy. However one only has to
take a drive along Grey River Road or Seaview Ridge Road
to see the destruction. As a result some of our members
refuse to use State forest for activities as it is impossible
not to see degraded areas of forest. International and domestic
visitors alike stare in disbelief that this loss of beauty
and inheritance can take place. Important tourist routes
such as Wild Dog Road and Killala (Old Bay) Road are under
threat. These provide immense enjoyment to tourists for
their unparalleled visual splendour. Being so close to Apollo
Bay their importance to our operators cannot be overestimated.
They are equally comparable to Turtons Track for their uniqueness.
in the Otway Hinterland is well underway, with a huge future
potential. We call on the Government and the RFA panel to
instigate a study into the future economic development of
the area via tourism. Tourism employment and compensation
packages will help ease the transition of displaced workers.
We feel that perhaps there is a place for a specialized
selective hardwood logging industry in the area. But it
is clearfell logging for woodchipping that is actively destroying
the tourist potential of the hinterland. We call for an
immediate end to logging in domestic water catchments. Clearfell
logging must be phased out with the Otway National Park
and Lorne – Angahook State parks enlarged to protect and
preserve the Otways for future generations.
It is tourism that will
provide a bright and sustainable future for the Otways.