Name of person applying for order: Friends of Gippsland Bush Incorporated
Address: C/- Churchill Post Office, Churchill Vic 3842
Address for service of documents Clayton Utz, Level 18, 333 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic, 3000
Name: Grand Ridge Plantations Pty Ltd
Address: Level 3, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Address: Jacksons 1; Coupe No. LIV-016 (refer to attached plans:
(A) "Permit Application Plan Option B"; and
(B) "Harvest Plan - GRP Plantations")
Note that no certificate of title is available as the land is Crown Land. However it appears the land is known as Lot 44D Parish of Gunyah Gunyah which has been vested in the Victorian Plantation Corporation under the Victorian Plantations Corporation 1993. The land also appears on Plan LEGL/93-78/1 under the Act.
Municipality: City of La Trobe
Name: The Crown
Name: The Respondent
A. Describe what is being done or not done that is a breach of the Act, Planning Scheme, Permit Conditions etc..
Unless prevented by an enforcement order, the Respondant will contravene clause 52.17 of the La Trobe Planning Scheme by:
1. removing of native vegetation for the construction of an access track through the area marked "Permit Site 2" on the attached Plan A, without a permit.
2. removing native vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the land marked yellow and described as "Jacksons 1 on the attached Plan B, without a permit.
3. a permit is required for the removal of native vegetation pursuant to clause 52.17 of the La Trobe Planning Scheme.
B. Specify the provision being contravened:)
Clause 52.17 of the Planning Scheme
C. State who is contravening this provision:
La Trobe Planning Scheme
City of La Trobe
1. That the Respondent be directed not to remove native vegetation for the construction of an access track on the Subject Land.
2. That the Respondent be directed not to remove native vegetation on or in the immediate vicinity of the land marked yellow and described as "Jacksons 1" on the Subject Land...
Dec 05: Strzelecki Ranges: Inside the supposed plantation - Jacksons 1/Morwell River catchment.
Strzelecki Ranges: Morwell River Catchment - December 2005: Jacksons 2 Coupe with freshly made tracks.
Dec 05: Headwaters Morwell River catchment
Dec 05: Logging track pushed through custodial land. Morwell River catchment.
Dec 05: Logging track pushed through custodial land. Morwell River catchment.
Strzelecki Ranges: Morwell River Catchment - December 2005: Recent logging in close vicinity to Morwell River.
Strzelecki Ranges: Morwell River Catchment - December 2005: This catchment has been the subject of extensive logging in 2005, with much being done by cable logging.
Strzelecki Ranges: Morwell River Catchment - December 2005: Non plantation tree stump?
Otway Ranges: Gellibrand River Catchment - January2006: Over 100 hectares of pine plantations were logged on the south side of the Gellibrand River by Midway Plantations Pty Ltd in 2005 (see clearfell in background). The site was then aerially sprayed with Simazine and other herbicides. Midway started logging approximately 150 hectares of pine plantations on the north side of the river in late 2005 (see clearfell in foreground). Hancock is now joining the "party" with over 50 hectares of plantations being logged in the near future (marked on this photo with red dot). The area to be logged by Hancock is located very close to the popular tourist camping ground known as Stevensons Falls. The area where these clearfells is taking place is in the Gellibrand Proclaimed Water Supply Catchment which supplies 50,000+ people in the State's south west with drinking water.
Otway Ranges: Gellibrand River Catchment - January2006: Closer view of the area to be clearfelled by Hancock in distance.
Otway Ranges: Gellibrand River Catchment - January2006: Starting to log Stevensons Falls plantation - off Sayers Road.
Latrobe City Council to appear at tribunal The Express,'Thursday, 26"January 2006 Page 7 By LESLIE WHITE
LATROBE City Council has been summonsed to appear before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and produce documents relating to the behaviour of logging company Grand Ridge in the Strzeleckis.
The documents, including an independent report by Biosis into Grand Ridge's activities surrounding a logging coupe and clearing of native vegetation, have previously been requested by community groups but council has refused to produce them.
In a submission to VCAT by Friends of Gippsland Bush (FOGB), the group also alleges council has failed in its duty to enforce the planning scheme by allowing Grand Ridge Plantations to clear native vegetation without the required planning permits. The first part of the writ seeks an enforcement order on Grand Ridge to prevent clearing of native vegetation in the Strzeleckis.
The application to VCAT, made by (FOGB), alleges the multimillion dollar company will contravene clause 52.17 of the Latrobe Planning Scheme by removing native vegetation without a permit and removing native vegetation for the construction of an access track without a permit.
Latrobe City Council appears set to allow the multi-million dollar logging company to carry out the clearing unless VCAT grants the enforcement order.
The order relates to land which was formerly State Forest before it was sold to logging and insurance giant Hancocks, on a perpetual lease by the Kennett Government. Grand Ridge is a subsidiary of Hancock - multinational logging and insurance giant John Hancock Financial Services.
In the application, FOGB says its intent is not to hinder the timber industry "as it plays an important role in the region". "However operations must be conducted in a way which is consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development," the application says. "The Strzelecki Ranges has the least amount of area set aside in permanent reserve status in Victoria. It contains many rare and threatened species including the only surviving endemic koala population."
A preliminary VCAT hearing is expected to be held tomorrow.
David and Goliath battle awaits GIPPSLAND conservation group The Express,'Thursday, 26"January 2006 Page 7 By LESLIE WHITE
Friends of the Gippsland Bush (FOGB) has taken unprecedented legal action against a subsidiary of Canadian based MFC Global Investment Management.
The action has been taken against Grand Ridge Plantations, a subsidiary company of Hancock Timber Resource Group, which comes under the corporate umbrella of MFC Global Investment Management.
The legal action will be taken in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) under an Application for Enforcement Order under Section 114 to 120 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
It is alleged Grand Ridge Plantations has removed native vegetation for the construction of an access track on Crown Land in the Parish of Gunyah Gunyah, in the Strzelecki Ranges.
It is also alleged that the company intends to remove native vegetation without gaining permits from Latrobe City Council and that this would breach Section 52.17 of the Latrobe City Planning Scheme.
MFC Global Investment Management was created after the merging of the assets of Canadian insurer Manulife and US insurer John Hancock Financial services in 2004. MFC Global Investment Management has.more than US$206 billion in assets under management.
Friends of the Earth spokesperson Anthony Amis said taking on a company the size of MFC Global was a "brave act".
"However, FOGB are confident that they are making the right decision," he said."Both FOGB and Friends of the Earth have worked for years monitoring the activities of Hancock Victorian Plantations and Grand Ridge Plantations.
"Almost the entire Strzelecki Ranges was effectively sold off to Hancock in 1998 through its acquisition of the Victorian Plantations Corporation and in 2001, through their acquisition of Australian Paper Plantations."
Fire Hits Moondarra
Below is an image of approximately 15,000 hectares of land burnt by the Moondarra Fires as of Jan 31 2006. Hancock have lost approximately 450 hectares of plantation, as has Gippsland Water whose plantations were located in close proximity to Moondarra Reservoir. Moondarra Reservoir supplies drinking water to over 60,000 people throughout Gippsland. Most of the fire was located in State Forest and Reserves.
Moondarra fire image: Courtesy of CFA
Moondarra pine plantation fire image: Courtesy of CFA
Moondarra fire image - looking north: David Scott
Hancock's Tanjil East Plantations about to become a victim to the fire.