Tourism as an alternative
TOURISM AS AN ALTERNATIVE
- As we have clearly demonstrated, climate change means that it is imperative that we need to start the transition from carbon polluting industries to more in-offensive models as soon as possible. This is a stark choice requiring urgent action and imaginative thought.
- To maintain, protect and rehabilitate the headwaters of our water sources we must immediately commence the phase out of clear-fell logging in our native forests. The timber industry needs to return to the selective forms of timber harvesting.
- There is only one form of carbon capture and storage: It is called Photosynthesis. The natural process of photosynthesis secures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converts it to all types of carbon based plant forms.
- The biggest carbon store is a native forest. Selective harvesting and plantations, increase the store of carbon. With clear-felling and burning, the opposite is the case.
Multiple use forestry and tourism based industries are the future keys to maintaining carbon capture and storage, whist utilising our states assets for whole communities, not just for logging corporations.
- In a 2017 submission to a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into VicForests Operations, The Wilderness Society challenged the notion that this government funded and purely commercially driven company, are indeed, managing Victoria’s public owned forest asset for the best economic return for the public good.
In their submission, The Wilderness Society’s reports that In the period 2013-2014 financial year, the industry value add for that year was:
- Do the math’s. What this study clearly shows, is that in a one year period the industries of Tourism, Water and Agriculture, brought in $750 million: this providing a huge benefit to the Victorian economy.
- In stark contrast Clear-Fell Logging (VicForests) were only able to offers a comparatively small, paltry benefit of $9million to the Victorian economy!
The industry is totally unsustainable on an economic footing alone.
- The Tourism, Water and Agriculture Industries are complementary of each other (they significantly value add), while Clear-Fell logging is exclusive of all of them.
- In stark contrast to the industries of Tourism, Water and Agriculture Industries (that work in union) to promote environmental, economic and social benefits, Clear-Fell Logging and then wood chipping our native forests (and is exclusive of these industries) -unfathomably – degrades these benefits.
- Our native forests are an extremely valuable public asset. For far too long now, the heavily-subsidised native forest logging industry has had a strangle-hold on this asset, to the detriment of other markets.
- It’s time to make the transition from this old economy to a new economy, to secure a greatest economic, social and environmental future for the people of Victoria.
- All Governments – not just the Andrews Government – need to focus on the well-being of their citizens by delivering meaningful outcomes for regional Victorians beyond a short-term, two to three-year horizon.
- Victoria has the most shameful record of all states in Australia when it comes to clear-felling our native forests, with only 8% of old-growth vegetation left due to hundreds of years of land clearing and logging.
- In the Central Highlands, the figure of old-growth remaining since European settlement drops from an 8% national average, to a staggering 1% in the Mountain Ash forests.
It is clearly time to ‘call time’ and seek alternative approaches to the management of our native forests.
- The authors of this website believe that it is time for the Forestry Industry to plant their own forests on PRIVATE land and leave our PUBLIC forests for the enjoyment and well- being of all Victorians.
- In a world that is increasing focused on the bottom line of the dollar – and where services to the community (Health care, Education and Day care etc.)- are being compromised on a daily basis.
- WHY then do our governments persist in the rhetoric of insulating and protecting a backward and outdated timber industry?
It is time to transition from an old economy to a new economy.
- There is a clear and pressing need to protect and restore Victoria’s remaining native forests and to prevent extinction and ecosystem collapse.
- Our leaders now need to mitigate climate change and to secure clean air and water thus allowing to industries – other than those exploiting native forests by logging – to benefit from our forests.
- It is time for establishment of a Victorian wood and fibre products industry that is sustainable and can create employment opportunities for all regional Victoria’s. This will benefit of all Australians.
- The area bounded by Lake Eildon National Park in the east, the Cathedral Ranges National Park in the west and the Yarra Ranges National Park in the south – otherwise known as The Rubicon State Forest- be declared ‘The Rubicon- Snobs Creek Recreation Reserve.’
- Melbourne’s population is now 5 million and steadily rising. This means that the demand for recreational space, will expand significantly.
- Our vision for a Rubicon – Snobs Creek Recreation Reserve provides for multiple use recreation and tourism, where selective logging forestry can coexist.
- Family camping with kids and dogs. Deer hunters and shooters. Bush walkers and Anglers. Mountain bikers. Motor bikers. In fact, any form of recreation you can mention, should be accommodated in the reserve and not excluded.
- Our proposal is inclusive for all. Everyone can all be accommodated in this plan. There exists enough space in this proposed Rubicon-Snobs Creek Recreation Reserve to allow all people to practice all forms of recreation.
- Our proposal for such a reserve covers approximately 368 square Kilometres
- Conservation issues are protected by the fact that the proposed recreation forest reserve Is surrounded by National and State Parks with highly restricted and regulated codes.
- The management of it would be controlled by DEWLP and a committee of management that will represent all the recreational user groups.
- The implications for economic development of our region are profound.
- Both Eildon and Alexandra townships are currently languishing – through a lack of industry – to attract employment and economic growth. Tourism is an ‘industry’.
- Development works will employ ten times more DELWP employees to manage and maintain the asset. Accommodation centres will flourish. Service industries will need to expand and subsequently Schools, Police, Health and Hospitals will grow.
As economies change the growth areas will be in services rather than manufacturing. Tourism is employment dense with many times more than machine driven – low employment – clear-fell logging.
High value selective harvesting that utilises the world – famous hardwoods of Mountain Ash, should predominate by selective logging.
- Personal development is now seen as the new economy. People are no longer seeking consumer goods as markers of identity. Rather they are now seeking out a richness through experiences. Travel tourism, experimental development. Young people go international to seek out such development.
- Contact with Nature is often the key to such activity. River rafting (on the Goulburn River), hiking ‘in the bush’, heritage values: All these activities and more are contained within the immediate areas of the forest recreation reserve proposal.
- Further development can come in the form of a swing bridge across the Snobs Creek Falls and a treetop walk suspended above the cataracts. Board walks and tracks for mountain bikes etc. Extensive development of tourism assets will of course require State finance, however the returns in employment, economic activity and development will be substantial.
- The concept of a forest recreation reserve would need the cooperation of ALL parties – which will be no mean feat –but is essential to a vison of the way forward rather than having competing forces in conflict. A spirit of cooperation and compromise will be required.
- Climate change means that the practice of clear-fell logging our native forests is over. Now we must log selectively or not at all. Logging that jeopardises the headwaters and watersheds of the source of our waters for our rivers, townships and food production areas, is over.
- We must preserve the source of our pristine waters. The valleys in the watersheds are now off limits to clear-fell logging.
- Because Vic Forests are a government agency it means that the Victorian Sate Government are complicit in the actions of Vic Forest. This leaves the Andrew’s Labour Government in a very difficult situation, whereby the very department responsible for the management of our state forests (DELWP), is sanctioned to manage a government backed, yet purely privatised profit driven enterprise (Vic Forests).
- This conflict is inconsolable under the current structure. The Victorian State Government must separate responsibilities and prioritise water management and climate change action.
- The Andrews Government must divest itself of Vic Forest or suffer the electoral consequences. Clear-fell logging is finished and now the Government through its very agency it helped to setup– Vic Forest – must declare an end to their damaging and unstainable practices.
- The phase out and wind down of clear-fell logging must start immediately, ceasing in the watershed and catchments of our headwater streams and rivers.
- Water supplies and their sources are now sacred, as they are finite.
- All environmental policy must now be to preserve and rehabilitate the water, the soil and the atmosphere: FORRESTS = WATER =
- The Board members of Vic Forests are now directly on notice. All boards of directors are responsible to flag the impact of climate change on their enterprise. To do otherwise would render them culpable and liable as individuals and as a board.
- The evidence is overwhelming and the time to change is now!
- The long- term effect on water, soil and atmosphere will now render their economic model unviable. Reparation for loses caused by clear-fell logging must now be addressed and full accounting of loses in current practices, must now be factored in.
We welcome all recreational users. All can work together – in unison- through a committee of management directed by DELWP.
- The title DELWP embodies everything we are proposing.
After all it is the Department of ENVIRONMENT
PLANNING AND EXECUTING
…..all of the above
Their primary role is clearly spelt out in their title.
Sadly, however for too long now they have been under the spell / influence of Vic Forests to such a degree that they have become incapable of being able to fulfil their role.
We look forward to their expansion to fulfil their charter and we approach these necessary changes compelling us to change for the sake of our water resources and the atmosphere and the future of our children and grandchildren.
A new concept and a new vision is required.
- Our vision and hopefully yours, is the Rubicon- Snobs Creek Forest Recreation Reserve.
- We are keen to achieve consensus rather than conflict. Respect for the values of forest workers, Vic Forest employees and DELWP staff is a given. Also, those with alternative views must be heard respectfully.
- In this challenge of how we respond to this urgent need to change our current practices, there will be a contest of ideas. By this contest of ideas, a new pathway can be found.
How to Pay for the alternative.
- To change from clear-fell logging to a tourism based economic model will require investment in new capacity. Where will the money come from? How can we fund the transition?
- Strangely enough the answer lies in CLIMATE CHANGE.
- Once Governments implement policies to fund this transition, money becomes available.
- The current federal Liberal Morrison Government has just injected $2 Billion into the Emissions Reduction Fund. The new fund is now called the Climate Solutions Fund and will include $500 Million in previously unused funds making a total of $2.5 billion for projects that mitigate carbon release causing climate change.
- So far projects have included farmers seeking to revegetate degraded farmland and drought proofing their farms.
- “If we have to reduce emissions, I think direct action is the best way of doing it” Prime Minister Morrison has been quoted as saying.
- Our proposal to establish a Snobs Creek-Rubicon Recreation Reserve meets all criteria for direct action and fulfils all requirements.
- The labour opposition policy is like that of the Governments, however with more market based applications.
- Both policies suit the transition from carbon polluting to emissions reductions.
- A consortium of local Government, DELWP and Chamber of Commerce bodies could sponsor this project. The capital works alone would initiate economic activity so badly needed after the ten-year anniversary of the catastrophic Black Saturday Bushfires.
The Snobs Creek Rubicon Recreation Reserve is a well thought out proposal specifically addressing:
- Climate Change
- Water yield
- Stream flows
- Recreational angling
- The needs of Melbourne’s growing population and recreational space
- The scope of this project is wide ranging – even to the selective logging of high grade, value added mountain ash timber. We can no longer clear-fell, so new methods must be devised so that only mature trees are harvested.
- The moment is now right for a new vision to be chartered for the management of the Rubicon State Forest that addresses Climate Change.
- To calculate cost, we assume the current offset price of $12.80 per tonne of carbon dioxide. The thousands of tonnes of sequestered carbon in the form of trees, understorey vegetation, litter layer, combined soil carbon etc. all of which are currently released to the atmosphere can now be calculated.
- This offset price – added to the costs to the economy of climate change -such as bushfires, droughts, loss of water yield, losses to agriculture, means that the balance sheet in favour of change, begins to mount up.
- If we are to continue the ‘head in the sand’ business as usual approach, then these costs must then be added to the economic model of clear-fell logging.
- The alternative has developed an imperative of its own. Someone must pay. These costs must now be offset and paid for even if we simply continue as usual.
- The time has come. We can no longer fail to act as the costs can only escalate further.
- A pragmatic, cooperative and consultative process must now begin that will engage everyone: As everyone has an interest in reducing carbon release and climate change
- We can all be a model for climate action, with all parties engaged.
- Where there are losses to be found, we must consider compensation.