13 October, 2006

NEWS: Govt to protect Strzelecki forest

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Victorian Government has struck a deal to permanently protect 8,000 hectares of the Strzelecki forest in Gippsland.

After six years of negotiations, the Government has paid Hancock Plantations $7 million for the Cores and Links.

The new reserve features cool-temperate rainforest and mountain ash and will link Tarra Bulga National Park to the Gunyah Rainforest Reserve.

But Deputy Premier John Thwaites says a pocket of plantation timber within the reserve will be logged under the deal.

"They'll be able to log once and then it will never be logged again," he said.

Greens candidate Louis Delacretaz says the compromise is inappropriate.

"It's incredibly difficult to put back the biodiversity after you log an area," he said.

This morning's announcement in Gippsland by the Deputy Premier was kept secret to prevent protests by green groups.

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