Native timber law changes bring opposing views

9 May 2013

The government in the Australian state of Victoria says changes to native timber harvesting laws will support industry, but anti-forestry campaigners say they are a backward step.

Changes to the Sustainable Forest Timber Acts, passed by the state's Upper House this week, allow the timber management body VicForests to offer contracts of up to 20 years to companies logging native forests.

MP Phillip Davis is reported as saying the changes offered security, would encourage investment in the timber industry and would have no adverse environmental impacts as companies were not allowed to log additional areas of forest.

However, the Wilderness Society said native forests were dwindling, after decades of over-logging, and the resource would not be there in 20 years.

It says the industry should focus on plantations, not native forests, as a long-term source of timber.