The latest instalment of DELWP’s Future of our forests newsletter is now online. The newsletter is part of the government’s procedure in updating the Regional Forest Agreement [RFA]. This is a long and complicated story, but FOBIF is a little cynical about the process, for two reasons: first, because the RFA’s have failed to deliver the goods on forest health (you can see a detailed argument on the subject here);
Trail bike damage, Fryers Forest: in our darker moments, we’re tempted to think DELWP considers this use as equal in value to any other.
and second, such processes have a tendency to put a whole lot of points of view into a bag, shake them up, and come up with a ‘community consensus’. It might be a bit unfair to say so, but it’s tempting to believe that if such a process elicited these views from the community:
‘I’m a scientist and I’m concerned about ecological health’
‘I’m a career criminal, and I like to bury bodies in the forest, so I need some quiet private areas’
‘I’m a field naturalist, and I like to look for native flora’
‘I’m a developer, and I want to build a gigantic ecologically sensitive casino in the middle of the forest’
‘I’m a trail bike rider, and I like to gouge a bit of dirt, and make some noise’
…then DELWP would be inclined to try to give equal weight to all these points of view, including giving the crim some private space for his preferred activity.
Unfair, of course. But there’s a very slight suggestion of this in the September newsletter, where we read:
‘Throughout the engagement process Victorians have made it clear they enjoy accessing and using forests for many reasons including for recreation, health and wellbeing and want to continue to access forests.’
We had to have extensive consultation to find this out? As we’ve said before, being sensitive to community needs is great, but having a clear idea of your responsibilities and getting on with them is part of that.
In spite of our tendency to be negative, however, we recommend you keep in touch by reading the newsletter in the link above.