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The Bob Brown Foundation yesterday applied in the Federal Court for an injunction to stop Sustainable Timbers Tasmania destroying the feeding and breeding trees essential to Tasmania’s critically endangered Swift parrot.
If granted, the injunction would stop Sustainable Timbers Tasmania from logging the coupes of forest vital to the Swift parrot for nesting and for feeding on the nectar of its favoured eucalypt blossoms.
The Swift parrot is the fastest parrot on Earth and, with the critically endangered Orange-bellied parrot which also migrates from the mainland to Tasmania each year to breed, is the only migratory parrot on the planet. It is currently flying over Bass Strait to breed in Tasmania’s coastal forests after over-wintering in Victorian and New South Wales woodlands
“Just days after David Attenborough’s heart-rending appeal to humanity not to destroy Earth’s natural realm, this action is taken because we believe that STT is acting illegally. It is unnecessarily destroying the very trees the Swift parrot needs to nest and regenerate,” Bob Brown said. “And with the Federal Government’s own appointed inquirer, Graeme Samuel, pointing to the failure of legislation being used to protect nature, here is a test of our ability to halt the greatest onrush of extinctions in human history.”
Meanwhile the foundation is also embarking on a nationwide publicity and political campaign to end the logging in all of Australia’s publicly-owned native forests. These contain many endangered bird, animal, insect and plant species. “Our aim is to help get the public much more active to save its remaining native forests which are so critical for the survival of Australia’s species like the Baudin cockatoo, the koala, Leadbeater’s possum and the Swift parrot. Australia has enough plantations to meet its wood needs,” the foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“The Australian Native Forest Declaration is the first of its kind in our nation. It is an urgent call to the Prime Minister, Opposition leader and all our Federal parliamentarians to use Commonwealth power’s to protect our nation’s native forests and their wildlife with secure and permanent protection,” Jenny Weber said.
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Bob Brown Foundation has today called on Tasmanian Minister Roger Jaensch to name the alternative breeding sites for the critically endangered Swift Parrot after he has closed off some of their possible breeding sites on Tasmania’s east coast.
Minister Jaensch is today quoted in a Tasmanian daily explaining that blocking the possible breeding sites for road expansions is to ‘divert’ the birds 'so they can breed away from areas that are going to be disturbed.'
“Like where Minister Jaensch? Where is this critically endangered species going to find alternative sites?” asked Bob Brown Foundation’s campaign manager Jenny Weber.
“This is the same government to which the Federal Environment Minister is pushing to devolve Commonwealth environmental protection and conservation responsibility under the changes to the EPBC Act. Sussan Ley intends to devolve responsibility to a man who blocks nesting sites for a critically endangered species,” Jenny Weber said.
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The Bob Brown Foundation will apply for an interlocutory (immediate) injunction to stop Sustainable Timber Tasmania logging the forest habitat of species facing extinction.
Mr Ron Merkel QC notified the Federal Court of the foundation's bid for the injunction today. The application will be filed next week.
Bob Brown said it is urgent because the critically endangered Swift Parrot is currently arriving in Tasmania’s forests to feed and breed.
In the court today, before Justice Duncan Kerr, it was agreed to a further hearing next Friday of the foundation's case that the Regional Forest Agreement is illegal.
Bob Brown said he was enlivened by the Tasmanian Solicitor-General telling the court he foresaw the case being appealed to the High Court if the loggers lose in the Federal court.
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The Bob Brown Foundation's Great Forest Case, which challenges the validity of the Regional Forest Agreement, is set for its first case management hearing before the Federal court next Wednesday 23rd September at 2.15 pm. Members of the public and media will be able to watch online. Justice Duncan Kerr will be asked to make directions to prepare the case for hearing.
"The law calls for ‘ecologically sustainable forest management’ but the Tasmanian government, STT and, through washing its hands, the Commonwealth, deliver the public with their forest ecosystems and wildlife habitats burnt to a cinder. Logic as well as the law says that this cannot be allowed to continue," said Bob Brown.
“Our Great Forest Case has significant interest across Australia from people who want native forests protected. The critically endangered Swift Parrot, endangered Masked Owl and the world’s largest freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi are among the many species depending on this legal challenge striking down the Regional Forest Agreement that allows logging in Tasmania to destroy their habitat,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
Details of how to access the case:
You can access the meeting by clicking on the “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting” link below (which generally works best when opened in Google Chrome). Persons joining via Teams will need to keep their own microphone muted and video turned off, but will be able to see and hear proceedings. If a person prefers to join via telephone only, they can dial +61 2 9161 1229 and enter conference ID 545 727 275#. Any persons joining will temporarily be placed in the “lobby” until court staff admit them to the meeting, but all will be admitted before the listed start time.
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Drone footage from Sunday 13th September, supplied to the Bob Brown Foundation, has failed to locate Venture Minerals' personnel, equipment or machinery at the Riley Creek proposed mine site in takayna/Tarkine. A card left in the gate indicates not even maintenance contractors could find them.
"Following last weeks denials by Venture Minerals CEO Andrew Radonjic that machinery and personnel had abandoned the site following the completion of the company's $6.5million capital raising, I'd say Mr Radonjic has some explaining to do", said Bob Brown Foundation takayna /Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
"Perhaps Minister Ley knows their whereabouts? If not, perhaps she could organise a search party given the extraordinary lengths she has already gone to protect this prospective miner above the much needed protection for the Tasmanian Devil and Spotted tailed Quoll threatened by this mine in the southern takayna /Tarkine.
The footage shows evidence of mined and screened material from activity that occurred between 20th August and 7th September 2020, during the capital raising period.
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Millions for Marinus study puts cart before horse: Milne.
The Morrison government’s grant of millions to study the proposed $3.5 billion Marinus link between the mainland and Tasmania is putting the cart before the horse at taxpayers’ expense, Bob Brown Foundation director Christine Milne said in Hobart today.
“Marinus is to service the so-called Battery of the Nation (BotN), the proposed pumped-storage hydro schemes in the Tasmanian highlands. But there has been no costing of the BotN which will cost more billions. Until that cost is revealed and independently checked, it is highly imprudent to be spending money advancing Marinus. That is putting the cart before the horse. It is likely the cost of BotN will make the whole project a white elephant,” Christine Milne said.
“In terms of jobs for Tasmanians, these billion would create far more jobs on projects in Tasmania servicing Tasmanians rather than draining out of Tasmania to service the mainland with expensive electricity,” she said.
The federal and state governments should ban the longline fishing boat Antarctic Aurora from the port of Hobart, Bob Brown Foundation said today.
“Hobart is a global centre for the management and protection of Antarctica. The city’s reputation, as well as Australia’s, as a bulwark for the environmental well being of Antarctica is at stake here. This ship is unashamedly on its way to plunder Antarctica’s marine ecosystem for private profit. It will not come and go unnoticed. Just as, in the past, Japanese whaling ships were banned from Hobart and other Australian ports, so should this ship which is a giant Antarctic killing machine employing 60,000 hooks,” Bob Brown said today.
“We have written to both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein calling on them to prohibit this ship from Hobart. If it wants to join the commercial onslaught on Antarctica’s natural resources, let it work out of China or Russia. It will not be popular here in Australia,” Brown said.
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The Riley Creek mine site in takayna / Tarkine has been left abandoned in a bizarre move just days after Venture Minerals had concluded its capital raising. Venture began removing equipment and machinery on Monday, despite announcing on Tuesday that it had oversubscribed their share purchase plan and that 'funds would be primarily used to ramp up mining and processing at the Riley Iron Ore Mine.'
"Venture's departure is as welcome as it is bizarre", said Bob Brown Foundation takayna / Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
"While any reprieve for the Devils and Quolls around Riley Creek is great news, I suspect that shareholders will be none too happy about being played for fools."
"This is not a company that can be trusted in one of our great wild areas or with people's nest eggs.”
This is the fourth time Venture Minerals has raised capital to mine at Riley Creek.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission was asked in August to investigate contradictory statements made by Venture to investors and the federal environment department.