Forestry Tasmania trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania has agreed to halt logging plans in 49 coupes, some as large as 400 hectares, in Tasmania’s northeast forests where critically endangered swift parrots are feeding and breeding. The total area is 4064 hectares.
“This is a temporary reprieve for this extraordinary bird, the fastest parrot on Earth,” Bob Brown said in Hobart today. “We now await the finding of the full bench of the Federal Court, due in coming weeks, on our primary case that the Regional Forest Agreement which has allowed the logging of Swift Parrot habitat in Tasmania is illegal.”
“Today’s development means that logging cannot proceed in the thousands of hectares of Eastern Tiers forests which the migratory Swift Parrots have taken up as their main nesting and foraging area over this summer. The birds are dependent on nectar from the blossoming of the eucalypts and our scientific evidence is that trees providing this essential food, and nest sites, for the Swift Parrot were being targeted for destruction by SST over summer.”
“It is time logging of native forests, the habitat for a wide range of rare and endangered wildlife, was ended across Australia. It provides only a small fraction of wood for domestic use. These days this logging is mainly to unnecessarily feed wood products to markets in China and Japan.”
“This temporary reprieve for the breeding Swift Parrots is an outcome of excellent science, peaceful citizens’ defence of the forests and strong legal argument. It should never have been necessary and shows the failure of governments, not least ministers for the environment, in Hobart and Canberra to honour their job in protecting this nation’s beleaguered forests and wildlife as vital parts of the nation’s enduring natural heritage,” Bob Brown said.
A group of Tasmanians will gather in protest at the Hobart dockside from which the new longline fishing vessel Antarctic Aurora is set to depart today to smash sub-Antarctic toothfish fisheries off Australia’s World Heritage Macquarie, Heard and McDonald Islands.
“Despite efforts to appear sustainable, this vessel is targeting a species that is a luxury fish. Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish is not a sustainable fishery that provides food security to the globe. Rather they are a status meal of a species that we know little about in 5-star hotels and fancy restaurants” said Alistair Allan from the Bob Brown Foundation.
“The toothfish industry touts their Antarctic and Sub Antarctic operations as one of the world’s most regulated fisheries, but with most of the Earth’s fisheries in rapid decline or near collapse, we cannot trust that the toothfish is not destined for the same fate. This fish is red-listed by NGOs due to its position as an apex predator and previous overfishing in the ’80s and ’90s. It is a fish we should not be catching. The plunder and destruction of the ‘regulated’ orange roughy fishery should be kept in mind.”
“This vessel operating out of Hobart is a longliner, legal and lethal. It can set as many as 60,000 hooks. We aim to protect Antarctica’s ecosystem from plunder. In a very short amount of time industrial whaling and sealing brought both species to the brink of extinction in the Antarctic. We cannot allow the same to happen to toothfish. The public has a right to know that Hobart is being used as a base for the expanding looting of the Antarctic,” he said.
Today the Bob Brown Foundation has left a message at the controversial Venture Minerals' Riley Creek mine site saying 'No new Tarkine mines', painted on the foundations of the start of new construction. The mine which threatens endangered species like the Tasmanian Devil has been the focus of protests and a number of arrests since it was first proposed.
"Our message to potential lenders for Venture Minerals' Tarkine mine is, don’t back the vandalism of Tasmania’s ancient wilderness. The destructive impacts of this mine will not just be able to be cleaned up in a few minutes, its impact will last for generations," said Bob Brown Foundation takayna / Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
"Venture has already desecrated precious takayna/Tarkine habitat, they plan to push ahead with more clearing for it's Riley Creek strip mine and proposed open cut Livingstone and Mt Lindsay mines, both within reserves in takayna/Tarkine. Habitat for threatened species like the Tasmanian Devil and Spotted tailed quoll, our Foundation is calling for no new mines in the Tarkine," said Mr Jordan.
The Bob Brown Foundation has moved in overnight to establish a blockade camp in the Pieman River area of takayna/Tarkine. The camp will halt Sus Timbers Tasmania's machinery access to proposed logging coupe BO092C.
Logging in this coupe was commenced in February 2020 but was abandoned after a successful four day blockade by Bob Brown Foundation volunteers. The coupe has been rescheduled for logging this summer.
“The rainforests of takayna/Tarkine are one of the earth’s great treasures, abundant with wildlife such as the Tasmanian devil and Spotted tailed Quoll. They are also rich and essential carbon storehouses in the face of the climate emergency”, said takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“Last summer we occupied the ground and took to the treetops to save this area of verified World Heritage value forest. As we did then, we will stand with Tasmanians in defence of takayna/Tarkine’s ancient forests, their inhabitants, and their vital carbon stores”.
Logging coupe BO092C is the first in a series of coupes planned by Sus Timbers Tasmania in the Pieman River catchment.
The Bob Brown Foundation (BBF) is pleased to announce that over one thousand submissions have been sent to the Australian Antarctic Division opposing plans for a 2.7km long concrete runway to be constructed at Davis station, Antarctica.
The proposed runway would have a significant environmental impact with nearby Adelie penguin and Weddell seal colonies threatened by the construction.
Bob Brown said, "This outpouring of public opposition to the runway should send a clear signal to the Australian Antarctic Division, and the Australian government, that when it comes to having a concrete runway in Antarctica, Australians and the international community, say ‘no way!’."
Alistair Allan, the Louise Crossley Antarctic Campaigner for BBF said, "This project alone will increase all nations’ disturbance footprint in Antarctica by a whopping 40%. The Australian government should be committing to protecting and minimising impacts on the continent, not creating them."
"This is but one of the opportunities for the public to express their opposition, there will be more, and we will continue to implore the government not to proceed with this disastrous proposal,” Allan said.
You can make a submission here:
The contentious Lost Falls forest where six defenders, including Bob Brown, were arrested last week is quiet again, the logging machinery having been removed. A large section of the log pile on the site remains.
“This is a respite for the Swift Parrots at the height of their breeding season,” Bob Brown said today, “even though some potential nesting trees for the parrot are now logs on the ground.”
After an earlier court hearing, Forestry Tasmanian trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania agreed not to log in 19 potential Swift Parrot habitat coupes. Discussion is under way to prevent logging in a further 31 coupes as a result of yesterday’s hearing in the Federal court.
Add your reaction
Bob Brown Foundation’s application for an injunction to stop the logging of Swift Parrot habitat in Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers forests will be heard in the Federal Court on 11th January if an interim agreement is not reached with Forestry Tasmania trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania pending the decision by the Full Court of the Federal Court in the Great Forest case.
Before Justice Duncan Kerr in the Federal Court in Hobart this afternoon, the Foundation’s barrister, Ron Merkel QC, said STT has seemingly accepted that Eucalyptus brookeriana is an important food source for the critically-endangered parrot. E. brookeriana is itself listed as part of a critically-endangered forest community. Leading Swift Parrot scientist Dr Matthew Webb has collated the evidence of E. brookeriana’s importance to the parrot’s survival.
Justice Kerr enjoined upon STT the need for it to reach an agreement that the coupes containing E brookeriana and old growth trees of other species providing nesting sites, not to be logged between now and the hearing on 11 January 2021.
“This is vital,” Bob Brown said outside the court. “It also shows the limitations on the current knowledge of the damage done by logging of native forests. It should stop - governments simply do not know the consequences of flattening or incinerating native forests on a long list of threatened native plants and wildlife.”
BBF will continue to monitor logging over the Christmas-New Year break to ensure STT does not destroy more of this species or other Swift Parrot feeding or breeding forest habitat.
“We are mindful of the judge enquiring whether our foundation has the assets to pay damages to the loggers should our challenges to save the Swift Parrot fail. But there is silence on how STT or state or federal governments should compensate if their logging is found to be illegal or if the Swift Parrot is driven to extinction,” Bob Brown said.
Bob Brown Foundation has lodged an urgent application for an injunction in the Federal Court in Hobart to halt the deliberate logging of Swift Parrot habitat in Tasmania’s Lost Falls forest. The logging was uncovered by the foundation near the East Coast, inland from the Freycinet National Park. This week, seven forest defenders, including Bob Brown, were arrested for obstructing the bulldozers and chainsaws causing the destruction.
“Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) is destroying hollow-bearing trees, suitable for nesting, in the critically-endangered Swift Parrot’s habitat. After successfully gaining an undertaking to the Court from STT not to log 19 other Swift parrot coupes, we have lodged a new application for an injunction over 31 additional Swift parrot coupes in the Federal Court today. We seek immediate protection for these native forests where the critically-endangered Swift Parrot is settling to feed and/or breed,” BBF Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“The Eastern Tiers forest block, including Lost Falls, Mt Morriston and Snow Hill, east of Campbell Town, has been identified as important habitat by scientific experts. Nevertheless, it is being logged right now or is to be logged in the near future,” Weber said. The Swift Parrot, which migrates from the southeastern mainland to nest in Tasmania each summer, is the fastest parrot on Earth but is suffering a collapse in numbers.
“The Morrison and Gutwein governments are failing to uphold the intent of national law that Australia’s wildlife species should not be driven to extinction. Our action is to uphold the law,” Bob Brown said.
“The destruction of Swift Parrot and Tasmanian Devil habitat to replenish piles of logs and woodchips for export from Tasmania’s wharfs is a diabolical flouting of public expectation, including in the regions, that this nation’s wildlife and remaining native forests will be protected. We call on Prime Minister Morrison to defend, not destroy, rare and endangered creatures which are vital parts of the nation’s heritage. He should haul the chainsaws and bulldozers out of Australia’s remnant native forests before Christmas,” Brown said.
In an online ceremony last night, Bob Brown Foundation presented its 9th annual Environment Awards to prize winners from across Australia.
Established in 2012, the awards recognise environmentalists who have demonstrated resolute courage and conviction in taking a stand for environmental protection, preservation, and justice.
This year’s winners are:
Environmentalist of the Year Award - Ben Pennings
A tireless advocate for the environment, Ben Pennings has been a key organiser in the Stop Adani campaign for many years.
Young Environmentalists of the Year - Youth Verdict
Youth Verdict are a coalition of young people based in Queensland taking landmark legal action against Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal, using the new Queensland Human Rights Act 2019 to object to the mine on the grounds that climate change threatens all young people's right to life and First Nations people’s right to Country and culture, with a compounding impact on young First Nations people. This case is the first youth-led climate case on human rights grounds in Australia with the potential to set a precedent for the application of the Human Rights act and force governments to consider human rights impacts of climate when assessing new fossil fuel projects.
Community Environmental Prize - Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum
Friends of Leadbeater's Possum lead the challenge in the Federal Court to the legality of the exemption from federal environment legislation for logging under the Regional Forest Agreement. As well as protecting forests directly subject to the case, it has galvanised campaigns for forest protection, sparked new legal challenges, and caused hardware firm Bunnings to reject wood from VicForests.
Deni Greene Award - Professor Terry Hughes
Distinguished Professor Hughes is the former Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (2005-2020). In early 2020, he documented the largest bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef on record, with an aerial survey of 1,036 reefs find that 25 per cent of reefs were severely bleached. In 2016 Professor Terry Hughes was recognized by Nature as one of the “10 people who mattered this year” for his leadership in responding to the global coral bleaching event caused by climate change.
"I proudly share this award with my family and all the passionate volunteers who have taken brave action to protect water, stop climate breakdown and defend land rights. It’s completely futile for Adani to spend millions trying to shut down my campaigning. The Stop Adani movement is stronger than ever and bigger than just one individual. Bullying Australians will not change the fact most of us oppose Adani’s coal mine that threatens our children’s future," said Ben Pennings.
"Our Environmentalists of the Year underscore the rising tide of intelligent, determined Australians taking action against the unnecessary loss and destruction of this nation’s storehouse of nature. Three of the four winners are from Queensland where government-facilitated environmental destruction is notable on a global scale.
In every case, whether opposing the opening of new coal mines or saving forests or coral reefs in this age of climate emergency and deliberated mass extinction, these Australians have shown remarkable intelligence and courage and taken exemplary action for our one and only living planet, Earth,” said Bob Brown.
Add your reaction
Former Greens Leader and Senator Bob Brown was arrested in Tasmania’s northeast highland forests again this morning, twenty-four hours after his first arrest for stopping logging of Swift Parrot habitat.
In a significant act of defiance, Brown was arrested with two fellow forest defenders - Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber and retired Organic Gardener Kevin Vaughan.
Brown was released on bail to appear in Hobart’s Magistrates court on March 31st, 2021.
Speaking outside Bicheno police station Brown said, “Much bigger protests will put an end to native forest logging across Australia. As with whaling in 1978, the rising public animosity to destruction of wildlife habitat and the forests themselves will end this completely unnecessary and jobs-sparse industry in coming years.”
“I slept out last night under a logging bulldozer which had invaded the Lost Falls forest where, this morning, we saw owls and I heard one of the 300 remaining Swift Parrots. It was rainy, with temperatures down towards zero, but we were content just to know the Swift Parrot habitat destruction was slowed by us being there,” Bob Brown said.
“Citizens are doing the job of parliamentarians who can protect all habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot instead of feeding their homes to the woodchippers. Along with many others, I’m dedicated to halting logging of these wildlife-rich native forests in this age of climate and biodiversity crisis while the agents of extinction authorise the ongoing destruction of nature,” Jenny Weber said.