On Friday, Bob Brown, patron of the Bob Brown Foundation, walked 4km past security guards in the chill pre-dawn darkness and entered the forbidden forest of Tasmania’s takayna/Tarkine region which China’s state-owned mining company MMG wants to use as a toxic waste dump. MMG’s began work on the project several weeks ago.
“I knew I risked arrest and, while I spent the whole day in the heart of the public forest, four other forest defenders were arrested back on the road for halting MMG’s bulldozers. MMG’s machinery is smashing the road to build a dam wall to hold back toxic tailings which will be piped from its mine on the other side of the Pieman River at Rosebery,” Brown said in Hobart today. Brown had breakfast with forest defenders at a camp deep in the rainforest where one is on a platform high in a tree.
“I was flabbergasted on Wednesday when MMG drove the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, along the muddy road but not into the pristine rainforest itself. So minister Ley missed the primeval forbidden forest at the heart of the proposed toxic waste dump. That being so, I went into that forest with friends on Friday to at least get her a photograph of what she’d missed.”
“It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Its endangered animals, like masked owls, giant wedgetailed eagles, white goshawks and Tasmanian devils would be wiped out by a toxic dump.
If the Morrison government lets this national heirloom drown in a sea of toxic sludge, it will be a nasty chapter in the book of needless Australian environmental crimes."
“MMG is proceeding with its plan even though Minister Ley has not decided whether it meets environmental laws. She will decide by 23 July. Regardless of what she does, it looks like MMG will keep destroying the forest. I think what MMG is doing is illegal. Prime Minister Morrison knows MMG has at least four options for storing its toxic tailings on the other or mine-side of the river and should prevent MMG’s odious plan.”
Brown met more than 30 volunteer blockaders at the Bob Brown Foundation campaign centre on Thursday night after meeting the minister in the northern Tarkine earlier in the day.
“Public support for the Tarkine forest is surging. And testimonials like those from 18-years-old Billie Raffety who was arrested after locking on to machinery while I was meeting minister Ley, are motivating people everywhere, despite this being mid-winter.”
“OMG MMG! Our foundation will never give up on stopping MMG’s toxic dump wrecking the Tarkine rainforest. I look forward to the day we will all be free to go walking there, Billie Raffety and Sussan Ley included.”