Victorian environmental groups have commissioned polling of voters in the upcoming Northcote by-election. The results show:
• An overwhelming majority of Northcote voters (81.5%) support the creation of the Great Forest National Park;
• That 57% of voters are more likely to vote for a by-election candidate if they support the creation of new national parks to protect native forests and wildlife from logging;
• 93% believe that Victorian forests should be a place for conservation and recreation rather than logging, including 95% of Labor voters;
• 59% believe that the Andrews government is not doing enough to protect native wildlife from logging operations.
Joint Statement from Environment Groups
As Victorian environmental leaders, we call upon Premier Daniel Andrews to deliver what Victorians, including the overwhelming majority of Northcote voters, want: the declaration of the Great Forest National Park. It is time for the Andrews government to show leadership for forest conservation and act to create this iconic Park in this term of office.
The tall, wet Mountain Ash forests that cloak the ranges east of Melbourne are an extraordinary natural wonder. They are the source of Melbourne’s clean and fresh drinking water. They are essential habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s animal emblem. And, being some of the richest natural carbon stores on Earth, they are vital for stopping runaway climate change.
The Great Forest National Park will provide natural recreational spaces for residents and visitors of an increasingly crowded Melbourne to enjoy. And it will create jobs in nature-based tourism, forest restoration and park management. With such strong support for forest protection in Northcote, and across the state, the creation of the Great Forest National Park, coupled with a fair and just transition for logging industry workers, will be applauded by voters.
It’s time Premier Daniel Andrews protected our forests for all Victorians by urgently creating the Great Forest National Park.
Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation
Ed Hill, Forest Campaigner, Friends of the Earth
Matt Ruchel, Director, Victorian National Parks Association
Sarah Rees, Director, MyEnvironment
Amelia Young, Victorian Campaign Manager, The Wilderness Society
Steve Meacher, President, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum