Published: 6 Feb 2020
The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union condemns the death of koalas on a property in Portland caused by land clearing by the owner of the land that was not approved by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
The Union also condemns the misuse of this incident by some to unfairly vilify the timber industry and timber workers.
What is clear is that the deaths of the koalas were not the result of a timber harvesting operation but a land clearing operation conducted by the owner of the land.
What is also clear is that when this land was harvested in October/November 2019 the harvesting operation, which was approved by DELWP, left enough forest and trees for the koalas on site and the timber workers performing those harvesting operations ensured that the koalas were uninjured and in good health at the conclusion of those operations.
Timber harvesters employ proven practices to protect wildlife in forests including the use of koala spotters and drones. Koala spotters work in front of the harvesters and if koalas are spotted, no harvesting takes place in this area. The latest misinformation campaign falsely demonises the industry’s workforce which is already under incredible mental stress following a tough three months which has included an announcement to shut down a significant part of the Victorian timber industry and bushfires threatening their communities.