VicForests again rejects allegations that it has adversely impacted drinking water
18 May 2021
Claims aired today by the ABC that Melbourne's drinking supplies have been put at risk by harvesting are false, irresponsible and absurd.
The Office of the Conservation Regulator (OCR) inspected the operation in question in October 2020 and did not report any significant issues with management of slope.
There are very small areas identified that exceed 30 degrees of the coupe, however the combined total of the small patches is within the previously accepted tolerance that applied at the time.
A range of protections, including all buffers, were put in place in this coupe to protect water quality. The total area that exceeded 30 degrees in this coupe equals 1 hectare out of a catchment of 156,000 hectares. That is, 0.0006%. Suggestions that this could have any impact on water in the catchment have no basis and are scientifically and mathematically absurd.
After receiving updated guidance from the regulator last year, VicForests no longer applies the 10% flexibility for any catchment areas. VicForests has since implemented a more detailed slope model using granular LiDAR modelling to guide planning of timber harvesting operations.
VicForests puts in a place a range of protections in its harvesting operations to protect water quality. This includes several planning controls, such as stream buffers, pursuant to rigorous regulatory requirements.
All timber harvesting and regeneration operations must be conducted in line with Victoria’s strict environmental regulations and the State’s Forest Management Zoning scheme.
VicForests welcomes scrutiny of its operations, but continued misleading reports on this issue by the ABC on this matter is irresponsible and has the potential to cause community concern without any reasonable foundation.