Toolangi Forest speech, Hansard transcript, May 26, 2014
Posted May 27, 2014
CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (16:06): On 24 April, I travelled to Toolangi in the south of my electorate. I had been invited by local conservation groups to come and learn about the Toolangi Forest—a unique ecosystem and home to the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum, Victoria's faunal emblem.
Toolangi Forest is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place, but this is what makes it so special. I was enchanted by the cool temperate rainforest located on the Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk.
This rare ecosystem is hundreds of years old and home to beautiful myrtle beech trees. Local groups do a fantastic job in bringing school students to the forest to take part in education and conservation programs.
Most of the forest is mountain ash and is, in fact, the most carbon-dense type of forest in the world. Local scientists predict that the remaining Toolangi Forest could provide billions of dollars of carbon permits in a future carbon trading system.
However, the forest faces big challenges. Two-thirds of the forest was severely burnt in the 2009 fires. The remaining forest is unprotected, with intensive logging occurring across the forest. Most of the logs are turned to paper.
I encourage all Victorians and Australians to take a trip to the Toolangi Forest. Explore and appreciate this environment while it still remains. Increased public use and interest in the forest is the only way to ensure that the forest will grow and prosper into the future.