Bob comments on article in The Australian : "Wilderness bargain for power 'erodes world heritage process'"

The Australian.

The Australian's 'Environment editor' Graham Lloyd, fresh from his recent tirades against Australian scientists' claims that the Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by climate change, has today written about that fraction of Tasmania's World Heritage value forests which has been protected (see above). Here are a few notes on Lloyd's article:

  1. Apparently oblivious of the Australian journalists' code of ethics, Lloyd has not contacted me about the claims.
  2. I have no objection to an FOI request for letters: I advocate FOI and think it should be extended to the private sector including News Corporation. Mr Lloyd has not published his secret view on this proposal.
  3. Lloyd's 'brewing storm' is in his own teacup. The pity is that, in the period leading up to the establishment of government in 2010, I and the Greens failed to move the Gillard government to fulfil its obvious obligation to have Tasmania's forests nominated for the World Heritage status.
  4. Apparently logging aficionado Andrew Denman, who also doesn't contact me about this issue, is alarmed that the integrity of World Heritage has been undermined by a deal to have the nomination go forward. This is the same Andrew Denman who wants those forests and their wildlife not just undermined but open to destruction.
  5. The question arises: where was Mr Denman in recent decades when millions of tonnes of specialty (rainforest) timbers were trashed and burned in the industrialised logging for eucalypt woodchips? It was the environment movement which tackled Labor and Liberal politicians about this obscene waste of the resource which he now bemoans is missing.
  6. Mr Lloyd's most devastating revelation is that 'Dr Brown and former Greens leader Christine Milne have boasted publicly about using negotiations for minority government both in Tasmania and federally to boost environmental outcomes.' I must call Christine to tell her he is on to us. I hope his enquiries don't also uncover the fact that we achieved a world-leading carbon trading scheme and fund for renewable energy in conjunction with PM Gillard.
  7. Unlike the agreements for government in Tasmania in 1989 and in Canberra in 2010 which we Greens insisted be made public, the current agreement between the Liberals and Nationals is one on the nation's most outrageously kept secrets. There's a document for Mr Lloyd to gainfully pursue.

Bob Brown

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Cutting Through Political Scrub

Lake Geeves Opinion piece by Jen Brown

Federation Peak. Photo: Bob Brown

Lake Geeves and Federation Peak are stunning. It's easy to see why people want to visit them.  I've braved the trip to Federation Peak towering above Lake Geeves on three occasions, but only made the summit once. Unforgiving weather stopped me the other times.

Standing on the summit of Federation Peak is extraordinarily rewarding and the view down to Lake Geeves is breathtaking. There can't be many people standing atop 'Fedders' who wouldn't think, "gee I'd like to visit that lake down there". But most people think again after considering the kilometres of horizontal scrub between the Federation Peak track and Lake Geeves.  In the words of the wilderness legend Deny King: "so fierce were the stands of the dreaded horizontal and bauera scrub that the average travel time was four kilometer's a day and this reduced at times to only one."

The walk to the summit is usually two or three solid days (if you're lucky) of hauling a loaded backpack up, over and under slippery wet logs, or pushing through wet, boggy button grass plains. On a lucky year you might get one or two weeks between January and March where the waist-deep bogs dry up to knee depth and the weather stays calm enough to make your trip slightly less unrelenting.  

To cut a new track to Lake Geeves would be a serious challenge. It is possible but, for what? Who plans to be in charge of the track upgrade and maintenance? Parks and Wildlife?

Better get in line, behind the equally stunning, already existing tracks in need of upgrade.

The existing Port Davey track has not been upgraded since the bushfires of 2013. Two bridges require rebuilding and a number of burnt-out 'duck boards' and drainage steps make the mud relentless. At the Spring River crossing, the lack of toilets, or even simple signage about minimal impact, has caused a health hazard by inexperienced visitors.

The track to Lake Judd below Mt Anne has deteriorated significantly over the past five years. At a minimum it needs new drainage - perhaps 'duck boards' are wishful thinking.

The popular South Coast track over the South Cape Range has neck deep mud that no one can pass through, like a good minimal impact walker should. The result is forcing an ever widening track. This track is a leg fracture waiting to happen for an inexperienced walker.

The Parks and Wildlife Service have had funding drained out of them, so understandably maintenance has needed to go to high use areas like Freycinet and Cradle Mountain.

The argument is that if Lake Geeves is so beautiful, why couldn't it be a high use area? The answer to that is no. Tasmania's Southwest Wilderness is wild. The weather for the vast majority of the year is wet, windy and unpleasant. Track maintenance in these areas is difficult and expensive. The drive to a track start is not easy, the distance from the nearest services is significant.

An entirely new track would need to be cut to Lake Geeves because the existing track to Federation Peak is a significant distance away.  The walk would scar the largest intact river system in Tasmania, the New River catchment basin, that remains entirely free of post-colonial human disturbance. It is purely wild country, and as remote as anywhere in the Southwest from roads, settlements, logging and dams.

If you need a walk to a stunning lake flanked by an incredible cliff face, try Lake Tahune at Frenchman's Cap. The existing upgraded track funded by Dick Smith's million dollar donation was completed last year and it makes for amazing walking, while the existing facilities are beautiful.

Let's keep those impulsive ideas that come to mind atop a mountain - like building a track to Lake Geeves - right where they belong:  in our heads. Let's put the money where it belongs, into existing Parks and Wildlife track management.

But first and foremost, let's concentrate our efforts on protecting the Wilderness World Heritage Area from climate change, so future generations can continue to marvel at its beauty.

Jen Brown

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Winter on The Blade

Article in Vertical Life, 25 May 2016


...perhaps the most important motive behind Winter on the Blade is to promote the conservation of such an iconic, yet vulnerable area. Andy’s intent for the expedition and the subsequent film is to display the pure, untamed nature of South West Tasmania, as well as inspire others to connect with the wilderness and with their own crazy ambitions.

“Not many people can relate to it,” explains Andy, “I’m just hoping that people might see our story and be inspired to care about the natural environment a bit more, and to actually challenge themselves to follow their dreams.”

It was this focus on preserving and promoting the natural landscape that eventually won over alternative contributors which helped make the project a reality. In ensuring the minimisation of environmental impact, the team worked closely with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service who were quite positive in their co-operation.

Additionally, Szollosi was able to secure funding from through the Bob Brown Foundation, a non-profit fund whose vision is “to protect Australia’s wild and scenic natural places of ecological and global significance.”...


Read the full article on Vertical Life here.


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Bill McKibben: The time has come to turn up the heat on those who are wrecking planet Earth

An interesting question is, what are you waiting for?

Global warming is the biggest problem we’ve ever faced as a civilisation — certainly you want to act to slow it down, but perhaps you’ve been waiting for just the right moment.

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ABC - Are national parks our future or our past?

ABC RN 2 April 2016


Are national parks remnants of our past or the seeds of the earth’s future?

How should we make use of national parks? Is development within park borders ever appropriate?  And are national parks performing well as national conservation investments?

ABC Radio National presentation by Dr Ann Jones with Bob Brown, Chris Bell, Dr Erica Randle, Professor Hugh Possingham and Kirsten Drysdale.

Listen the ABC RN story here.

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Earthcast SOS - 'Anonymous' Shames Japan for Murdering Whales and Dolphins

Dr Reese Halter's latest Earthcast SOS looks at the efforts of the hacktivists "Anonymous" to disrupt whale poaching - and calls for an Australian Customs vessel to monitor illegal whaling in the southern oceans.

We must never be silent --
We must never give up --

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UN delegation told of environmentalists’ wilderness logging concerns

An article in 24 Nov 2015

"ENVIRONMENTALISTS have used their half an hour with a UN heritage delegation to ram home the message that no logging should be allowed in the Tasmanian Wilderness."

Read the full story on

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Wrong Mine Wrong Place

In Armidale (NSW) in September I had the honour of launching this (now globally-popular) video of the young farmers of the Liverpool Plains circling their tractors to oppose the giant Shenhua coal mine.

Shenhua, a state-owned corporation from Beijing has bought dozens of local farms in preparation for gouging one of the world's biggest coal mines threatening one of the world's richest food-growing valleys. But there's heartfelt resistance from the remaining farmers who, so far, have been let down by both the state and federal governments.

These young Australians deserve our backing!!! Write to your local MP and ask what she/he is doing to save the Liverpool Plains food bowl.

Bob Brown.


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TodayTonight - Laundering Money in Adelaide

Hendrik Gout’s TodayTonight story went to air on Monday October 5 2015, talking about Adelaide's link to money laundering and the disappearing rainforest in Sarawak.


"In 2012 Jenny Weber and I went to Sarawak to aid indigenous people campaigning against de-forestation and the proposed dam across the Baram River. Our Foundation continues to work for Sarawak's indigenous people and its remarkable rainforested environment.

This remarkable segment from TodayTonight in Adelaide encapsulates the criminality and corruption Sarawakians are up against.

In 2014 Jenny and Matthew Newton returned to Sarawak and in 2015 we helped host the Australian tour of Lukas Straumann from the Bruno Manser Foundation in Switzerland. Now see Hendrik Gout's report from Today Tonight. You can send a copy to your local Federal MP."

Bob Brown

October 2015

See the full TodayTonight episode here.

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The Science Show: Can climate change have a silver lining?

UniSA Planet Talks presentation - The silver lining in the cloud of climate change.


In March 2015 WOMADelaide featured this "Planet Talk" hosted by ABC Radio National Science Show presenter Robyn Williams. RN aired this talk on September 12, 2015.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown, South Australian farmer Cecilia Woolford and plant geneticist Professor Peter Langridge give a lively audience some of their silver-lining hopes for the future and find there is more potential good news than you may think. Is it time to face the challenge?

Listen to the Radio National broadcast here.

...Or watch the YouTube video of the UniSA Planet Talks presentation here:

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