The comfortable Labor-Liberal club was split open by environmentalists at Launceston Casino's 'leaders (no Greens) debate’ tonight.
“While neither Gutwein nor White had a thing to say on forests, climate change or Tasmania’s world-renowned environment, the campaigners put all three vital topics on the people’s election agenda. Bravo campaigners for democracy!” Bob Brown said.
“The Liberal and Labor parties deserve disruption as long as they not only fail to protect the environment and climate. Worse, these two parties are responsible for the destruction of Tasmania’s precious environment and loss of wildlife,” Erik Hayward, Bob Brown Foundations Campaign Organiser said.
“The Labor and Liberal leaders need to know that we will not let them keep forests and environment off the agenda,” Erik Hayward said.
A large banner was displayed outside the venue and unfurled on the stage as the two leaders debated
Yesterday, two people were arrested during a protest which shut down logging for the day in Wentworth Hills, Tasmania. Matt Willes and Natalie Micevsk were both charged with wilful obstruct and trespass as part of Bob Brown Foundation’s non-violent direct action carried out during sub-zero temperatures in ancient native forests on the island’s central plateau.
"Shame on the Gutwein government for funding the plunder of Wentworth Hills and our wild Tasmania. Shame on Guy Barnett, the minister creating climate change, for actively choosing to ignore the science, ignore the people of Tasmania and thwarting global efforts to rectify this climate emergency we are being aggressively thrown towards," said Erik Hayward, Bob Brown Foundation campaign organiser.
"Yesterday’s peaceful stand in fragile Wentworth Hills, in the sub-zero conditions, was one of many protests to defend native forests and call for urgent protection. We will not stand down. Despite the Gutwein government's claims that forestry is creating jobs in this state, whole logs ready for export from native forests are currently lining Macquarie Wharf in Hobart. Logs that were once habitat forests for Wedge-tailed Eagles, Masked Owls and critically endangered Swift Parrots," said Mr Hayward.
Rumours have been confirmed this morning with an announcement from NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro that the NSW government is buying out the proposed Chinese government owned Shenhua Watermark coalmine in the Liverpool Plains for $100m. The buy out ends a 13 year battle by conservation groups and locals to protect important woodlands, home to threatened species, such as swift parrots as well as important farmland in the nations foodbowl. Key concerns by farming locals have been the damage to aquifers on which the landowners rely as well as loss of farmland.
“This is great news not only for farmers, but also for koalas. This mine would have had dire consequences for groundwater and farmers in the area. Koalas, threatened by extinction due to fragmentation and loss of habitat, would have been pushed further to extinction even before works on the mine would have started, due to the planned railway construction right through koala habitat,” said Doro Babeck, Bob Brown Foundation Koala campaigner.
“About 250 koalas live and feed in the area, this mine would have been devastating to their survival in NSW. Koalas are on track to become extinct by 2050, unless we stop approving projects such as this one and continue to log forests. This is a great announcement. Farmers can now get on with producing food without having to worry about this dreadful project going ahead. This mine should never have been approved in the first place due to its location on prime farmland. It’s high time to for the government to wake up to the threats these projects pose to climate and the survival of species and biodiversity. It’s crazy this project even got to approval stage and lingered for more than a decade over the heads of this farming community. Let’s hope common sense prevails for other projects, such as the ill conceived Santos gas project in the Pilliga forest, which also poses unacceptable threats to the largest semi-arid woodland left in the state, groundwater and koala habitat," said Ms Babeck.
Bob Brown Foundation has today halted logging in an ancient forest in Tasmania’s Wentworth Hills. A Treesitter is in the forest canopy and another forest defender is attached to a logging machine, preventing it from doing ongoing damage in this fragile ecosystem.
“Critically endangered Swift Parrots were observed in these forests in recent days. Foraging in the forests while the bulldozers were removing their habitat trees,” Jenny Weber said from the forests.
“This is an urgent appeal from the forests to Tasmanians to stand for native forests protection with your vote,” Jenny Weber said.
“Tasmanians have a choice, if they want to vote for ongoing flattening and incinerating of wildlife filled native forests or if they want to vote for protecting these magnificent places. Alarmingly, 98% of the forests being logged here is going to woodchips” Jenny Weber said.
“This logging will remove an important forest ecosystem for endangered species such as the three wedge tailed eagle nests that are in these forests,” Jenny Weber said.
“Woodchipping old growth forests in Wentworth Hills is an excellent example of entrenched green washing in Tasmania that native forests are logged for building houses. They are not, these forests are being exported as pulp and whole logs to China and Sarawak,” Erik Hayward said
“These tall eucalyptus Delegatensis forests are mapped 37% old growth in the loggers own assessments. 95% of the area is high density mature habitat with hollow bearing trees that are critical to wildlife survival,” Erik Hayward said.
“We will not stop standing against this complete decimation of our state. The Liberal Gutwein government needs to be removed from their lack of leadership and continued destruction of our native forests. The climate depends on strong leaders," Erik Hayward said
Bruny Island identity Adrian Dale has died, just short of his 77th birthday. Born in Suffolk, England, Adrian was an avid sailor from the age of 9 and became the youngest Chief Engineer for P&O shipping line at age 26.
He had a 37 year partnership and romance with Allegra Biggs Dale, the two settling on Bruny Island after Adrian sailed the 1990 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. They established the large land holding ‘Labillardiere Estate’ bordering South Bruny National Park and Cape Bruny Light Station.
Adrian played a major advisory role in designing solar power when Tasmanian lighthouses were automated at Cape Bruny, Deal and Maatsuyker islands.
Adrian was a Marine Engineer consultant for a number of companies, known for his inventions, ship conversions and project management for off shore installations throughout the Asia Pacific.
He was a champion for women in the male-dominated industry and, in an age where female engineers got jobs as secretaries, he insisted their engineering skills be recognized and they be employed as such.
Adrian took part in an expedition in the South China Sea to protect as a war grave the British battleship, the HMS Repulse, sunk by Japanese torpedo planes in 1941.
The pair owned a dive center in Maldives as dive masters and from 1986 -1988 they sailed offshore in conditions Adrian described as generally tempestuous weather.
He was an avid collector of British Seagull outboard engines and twice circumnavigated Bruny Island in dinghies powered by Seagulls - the second trip ‘Bruny Island Classic II’ in Richard Bennett’s Huon Pine dinghy ‘Lollipop’. Adrian had been refurbishing a 14 foot Tasmanian Cray Boat specifically to cross Bass Strait with two of his trusty ‘gulls’ when he suffered a stroke in early 2016.
Adrian was an avid bush walker and as a young man walked alone the 430 kilometres ‘Penine Way, England, up to his waist in snow.
He was a supporter of Sea Shepherd Australia’s successful campaign to end whaling in the Southern Ocean, and upon return of the Steve Irwin volunteered the ship’s survey for necessary repairs. A bird lover from youth, Adrian backed the protection of Swift Parrot habitat and an end to native forest logging on Bruny Island.
Adrian Dale is survived by Allegra and his two sons in the UK, Vincent and Stuart, Vincent’s children Megan and Charlie and Stuart’s children Lewis and Thomas.
Environmentalist and close friend Bob Brown said, “Adrian was a brilliant engineer who made Tasmania his home and was an avid naturalist and supporter of the conservation of Tasmania’s oceans, forests and wildlife. He and Allegra have done a great deal to protect the natural amenity of Bruny Island. We will miss his wit, wisdom and flair for meeting the environmental problems of our age with innovative ideas and practical solutions.”
The blatant attempt by West Coast Renewables to exert electoral pressure to grant it an exclusive lease for a mega wind farm in the Meredith Range Regional Reserve should be condemned and rejected by all parties in this election, says Bob Brown Foundation.
"West Coast Renewables fails to mention that the public land it seeks to bully a lease onto is the Meredith Range Regional Reserve, set aside to protect its scenic and wildlife values and within the area recommended for National Heritage Listing by the Australian Heritage Council", said Bob Brown Foundation takayna / Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
"This is one of the places left where wildlife, like our majestic Wedge-tailed Eagles, should be safe to hunt and feed, not handed to private developers to create a wind turbine apocalypse".
"At a planned 500 turbines, this proposal is orders of magnitude larger than anything we have seen, not just in Tasmania, but anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be eight times larger than the state's largest wind farm at Woolnorth and more than double the combined number of turbines from all current or approved wind farms in the state. With its turbine towers, spiderweb of service roads and transmission lines, it is clearly not an appropriate project for a public reserve".
"We call on the Minister, whoever that is after May 1, to reject this lease application and defend the integrity of the reserve estate".
After three years, Premier Peter Gutwein’s government has failed to provide the federal Minister for the Environment, Susan Ley, with the information required by law to enable the re-opening of off-road vehicles tracks in takayna/the Tarkine coastline south of Sandy Cape.
At a meeting in Canberra earlier this month, Minister Ley told Bob Brown Foundation representatives that she could not make a decision because Hobart had provided no report on the studies required by a Federal Court decision in 2017.
Today the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and Bob Brown Foundation called on candidates for the election to make clear they would protect the rich Aboriginal heritage on the takayna coastline between Sandy Cape and the Pieman River by keeping it free of motorised intrusion.
“The Federal Court found that that is irreplaceable Aboriginal heritage with the highest cultural values," Heather Sculthorpe said. “Premier Gutwein should end the drawn-out agony he is putting us through and agree to protect our heritage. We implore the government not to keep the matter going."
Nala Mansell said: “The racial discrimination when it comes to heritage protection in this state is blatantly obvious. Our ancient, irreplaceable heritage on the takayna coast deserves as much protection as the colonial heritage sites. Could you imagine the uproar if these off-road vehicles were driving through Port Arthur, desecrating that heritage site? Aboriginal heritage needs to be understood, respected and protected.”
“We demand the Premier and other political leaders pledge their commitment to protecting the Aboriginal heritage sites in this area before the May 1 election,” Nala Mansell said.
“More than three years ago the Federal Court required this government to reassess the impact of opening these tracks to off-road vehicles and inform the federal minister. But it has done nothing. It will be shocking if the Liberals regain office and then make the unpopular move to open the tracks. That would cheat the Tasmanian public, in particular Aboriginal Tasmanians,” Bob Brown said.
They also called on candidates to commit to funding permanent Aboriginal rangers to monitor and protect takayna/the Tarkine and to both promote its World Heritage status and return the land, which includes no private land, to Aboriginal ownership.
Bob Brown Foundation have protested at the Labor and Liberal campaign launches this morning, highlighting the failure of both parties to defend Tasmania's wild forests.
"What we see from Labor and Liberal are Tweedlechain and Tweedlesaw", said Bob Brown.
"They just don't get the reality that Tasmania's future is dependent on a clean green image, not a cleared greed image,” Bob Brown said.
"They claim that half the state is protected but give nothing to protect it,” Bob Brown said.
"Both Labor and Liberal have locked in publicly subsidised logging of our precious native forests, harming the climate in a time of an emergency and trashing Tasmania's clean green brand", said Campaign Organiser Erik Hayward.
"Both parties will continue obscenely throwing public subsidy to a failed and dead industry, at a time when funds are desperately needed in health, housing and schools,” Erik Hayward said.
"It's time to protect native forests as the public calls on government to end logging. Instead of choosing a solution we know exists to protect native forests and meet all our wood needs with existing plantations, both parties have promised to introduce draconian laws to gaol members of the public who protest against this insane destruction,” Erik Hayward said.
The Bob Brown Foundation is urging Tasmanians to use their vote to reject parties who support the destruction of Tasmania's native forests or support draconian anti-protest laws.
Today’s promise by Premier Gutwein to featherbed private logging corporations with $10 million for machinery and equipment and $1.3m more for publicity, is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his intention to feed the corporations which feed back to the Liberal Party, former senator Bob Brown said. Gutwein’s announcement was notable for conflating the plantation and native forest logging industries to shepherd the latter past proper public scrutiny
“This money should be going to Tasmanian schools and hospitals. Earlier in the week the logging industry said it ‘needed to see’ Gutwein build a ’new woodchip ship loader’ at Bell Bay as well as truck tipping rooms and a stacking conveyor at Burnie to ‘debottleneck’ the rush to export woodchips and logs out of the state. I call on the premier to clear the air on his commitment to these much more expensive taxpayer-funded demands by the logging bosses as well,” Brown said.
“The Premier has effectively announced a forests-for-biofuels industry for Tasmania just as the rest of the world is up in arms about this most destructive use of wild forests.”
“The only way an honest forest offset scheme can be set up in Tasmania is for native forests earmarked for logging to be permanently protected - and the premier has ruled that out. He should spell out what his so-called offset program is so that the public is clear about it before 1 May.”
The Bob Brown Foundation is hosting a Rally for the Environment in Hobart next Saturday.
Native forest logging has been halted today in Tasmania’s Central Highlands after forest defenders occupied the logging area. A treesitter has this afternoon avoided arrest after Tasmania Police, Sustainable Timber Tasmania and loggers left the area.
“The native forests we protested in today are mixed native forests with old hollow-bearing eucalypts. These trees are important for wildlife habitat and critical in this climate emergency. Logging needs to end now," said Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager, Jenny Weber.
"Today is a small victory for Tasmania's unique native forests," said Ms Weber