Letter to the editor | VicForests money could be better spent

Aerial View of Green Forest and Country Landscape

Marian McDonald, Jack River

I’M sick of paying for VicForests to bulldoze our forest when the $20 million a year they’re losing could instead go to creating new local apprentice jobs and facilities.
Taxpayer-owned VicForests’ losses have quadrupled across four years, from $5 million to $20 million a year, because each year the trucks drive the bulldozers further to bulldoze forest with fewer and fewer big, old trees in it.
This year’s loss will be bigger.
Official Australian government (ABARE) figures now show only 13 per cent of the wood logged becomes ‘sawn timber’.
The rest is woodchips and sawdust.
In 2010, mills were asked if they’d pay the actual cost for the timber instead of the subsidised cost — they said “no”.
VicForests’ logging crews are already (handsomely) paid as machine firefighters in summer, using the skills and machinery they already have.
Time for them to do this full time as fire seasons lengthen with climate change, and for mills to modernise, which they should have done years ago instead of relying on taxpayers’ to bail them out too.
Lord knows bushfires are destroying the forest as well as the bulldozers.
Bulldoze local forests, or fix local facilities?
What could $20 million a year do for jobs and community facilities in towns and places like Yarram, Alberton, Longford, Morwell, Glengarry and Tyers?