Media Release: Thousands rally online to protect Tasmania's native forests

More than 2000 people joined a virtual rally online today, calling for secure protection of Tasmania’s native forests. Today is the day when 356,000 hectares of forests that should be in reserves became available for logging in Tasmania.

“Forests covering 356,000 hectares that have been in a moratorium from logging since 2012 include 100,000 hectares in takayna / Tarkine and important forest areas in Break O'Day, around Ben Lomond, Douglas-Aspley and Tasman Peninsula National Parks, as well as at Wielangta and on Bruny Island. They were promised protection during the Tasmanian Forest Agreement after being independently verified as high conservation value. The native forest logging industry received upfront taxpayers’ cash when the Australian public paid for a whopping $420 million exit package so that these public forests could be protected. The forests did not receive upfront protection, and now Tasmania’s Liberal government is committed to handing them back to the loggers,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

"Tasmania's forest industries are playing a deceptive double game: on one hand some companies claim they don't want wood from these contentious forests yet on the other FIAT, their representative body, has been pushing for access and developing a case for logging in backroom meetings with the Tasmanian government," said Peg Putt. former CEO Markets For Change

"We know that the increased risk of drought and extreme fire events associated with the climate crisis makes it imperative to protect and restore the integrity of native forests across the globe. We know that logging increases both the risk and severity of extreme fire events. We also know that the biodiversity crisis is as serious for life on earth as the climate crisis and that both crises can only be solved if we tackle them together. Choosing to protect and restore some of the most carbon-dense forests on earth and hand on a national and global biodiversity treasure to future generations is a legacy any government would be proud of," said Virginia Young, Director of the International Forests and Climate programme of the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society.

"North East Tasmania has undergone a revival thanks to people discovering how beautiful and unique our forests are for walking, mountain biking and exploring. Places like the Blue Tier are part of the 356,000 ha turned over to logging today. These glacial refugia remnant forests survived the last ice age but may not survive the logging schedules of the coming years. We are building a new eco-tourism future for North East Tasmania with our forests at the heart of it. Logging the forests rips the eco out of eco-tourism," said Louise Morris, Blue Derby Wild.

"Once again financial accountability and transparency fly out the window as the Morrison and Gutwein Governments open up forests for logging that the taxpayers through the ‘forest peace process' have already paid to have protected. This rorting of taxpayer dollars has to stop. All forest industry players are on notice that there will be no support for exit packages and compensation when the markets reject timber from these forests. Once bitten twice shy; we know that the previous exit packages were rorted and many of the loggers paid to get out of the industry are already back in.

The first RFA was a complete fraud on the taxpayer delivering neither ecological or economic sustainability and a loss to Forestry Tas of $1.3billion as it destroyed our forests. It is time to abolish RFAs and I call on the community to make that clear through the epic Act review currently underway," said Christine Milne, AO and former Aust Greens Leader.

"This was the biggest ‘town hall’ rally ever held on saving Tasmania’s forests and wildlife. It makes a virtue out of the virtual. Winter will slow it and, come summer, the campaign to stop the destruction of our native forests altogether is going to be bigger than ever," said Bob Brown.

You can watch the whole virtual rally here


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