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Bob Brown Foundation is calling for urgent action from the State and Federal Government to protect the critically endangered Swift Parrot and all its habitat.
“Tasmania is down to the last remnants of Swift Parrot habitat and the logging of this critically endangered species habitat is not stopping despite the urgent need to curb the species decline to extinction,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.
“Tasmania’s logging agency should have released a logging plan in 2020 that removed all native forests from logging, including the habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recommended such logging stop five years ago when it listed the parrot as critically endangered,” Jenny Weber said.
“The Tasmanian Government is choosing to catapult the fastest parrot on Earth to extinction. The relentless logging of Tasmania’s southern forests for woodchips and timber is driven by the requirements of the controversial Borneo logging company Ta Ann,” Jenny Weber said.
“Today’s attention to the 2019 logging of vital Swift Parrot habitat in forest coupe DN007C west of Judbury and neighbouring proposed logging of DN007B is a shameful example of Tasmania’s logging agencies logging Swift Parrot habitat despite written formal advice by experts that these forests are critical to Swift Parrot survival,” Jenny Weber said.
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Sus Timber Tasmania has released a three year wood production plan that spells large scale destruction of native forests across Tasmania. The plan has 417 new logging coupes in native forests at a time when native forest logging needs to end due to its contribution to the climate and biodiversity crisis. Including Tasmanian Government target of the northeast with forest destruction and wildlife loss in new logging plans.
The Tasmanian government policy is to increase native forest logging in Tasmania.
“There needs to be a zero-year wood production plan for Tasmania’s native forests. In this era of mass extinction and the climate emergency, all native forests need urgent protection from logging,” Jenny Weber said.
“Habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot remains on the logging schedule, five years after IUCN recommended all public lands that support the Swift Parrot need to be in secure conservation reserves for its survival,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.
“Clearfelling of ancient forests, cable logging on steep slopes, new roads into pristine forests and logging of endangered species habitat is on the government plans for forest and climate devastation. Rainforest and native forest logging at a time when reversing impacts on climate is necessary not increasing damaging impacts. While Sus Timber Tasmania has scheduled more than 5000 hectares of old growth forests to be logging, the older the tree, the greater its potential to store carbon and slow climate change,” Jenny Weber said.
“While our Foundation is analysing the logging plans we have noticed a temporary reprieve for significant areas of forests in the Tarkine where our protests have taken place in the last five years. Rainforests and ancient forests have been removed from the logging schedule in the Tarkine’s Sumac, Frankland river and Rapid river areas.
However, logging remains a looming threat for other world heritage value rainforests and ancient eucalyptus forests in the Tarkine. We will turn our attention from the proposed logging road in Sumac forests where hundreds of citizens have camped, defended and protected forests from logging to these other locations, such as a new ancient Tarkine forest targeted for logging where a new 2km road is proposed into pristine forests at Mt Bertha. Elsewhere in the Tarkine three rainforest areas are on the logging plans,” Jenny Weber said.
“Citizens who have been on the frontline in the Sumac, Rapid river and Frankland river forests can be confident they helped our Foundation see these forests left standing, and now they are too high in the public’s regard to handle. As it is too contentious to log and the forests are not necessary to meet wood demands then these ancient Tarkine forests should be put immediately into formal protection,” Jenny Weber said
We have more work to do to make all native forests too hot to handle and we will continue to ramp up our campaign to defend and protect the rainforests of takayna / Tarkine and native forests all over Tasmania,” Jenny Weber said.
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Today, Bob Brown Foundation has established an Esperance Forests Defenders occupation in an area threatened by logging behind Dover, in Tasmania's south.
Twenty people are occupying the forests with tree-sits scattered through the canopy and ground-based flora and fauna survey sites.
"The fact that these native forests are threatened by logging is exactly why native forest logging needs to end in Tasmania. They are rich in wildlife, are contiguous with the current World Heritage Area and contain large tracts of old growth forests," Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We have documented a range of species in the area including endangered Spotted-tailed Quolls on fauna cameras and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. These forests have great stands of ancient hollow-bearing trees which are slated to be logged. This is a globally rare climate storehouse, contiguous with pristine tracts of World Heritage forests,” Bob Brown Foundation Action Organiser Erik Hayward said.
"We are going to carry out these roving occupations throughout Tasmania’s threatened forests as part of our campaign calling for an end to native forest logging. We will defend this place from the chainsaws which are set to come at any time," said Mr Hayward.
"These forests need secure protection from logging as the global climate and biodiversity crisis demands urgent protection of all intact native forests,” Ms Weber said.
“Our campaign to defend and protect native forests will engage citizens to occupy threatened forests and expose the vast areas of wildlife rich forests which are slated for logging," said Ms Weber.
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Bob Brown Foundation will host a virtual arts and activism festival this weekend to highlight threats from logging, mining and Aboriginal heritage destruction in Tasmania’s takayna / Tarkine and inspire action for protection of one of the world’s last wild places.
The Friday night opening gala event includes guest musicians:
Neil Murray, founding member of Warumpi Band, APRA Award winner and composer of the Australian classic 'My Island Home.'
Shane Howard, singer-songwriter and guitarist. Shane was the mainstay of folk rock group Goanna, known for their indigenous rights song 'Solid Rock.' Shane is an accomplished solo artist and environmental activist.
Adalita Srsen, solo artist and founding member of the rock band Magic Dirt. Adalita has been at the core of Australian independent music for decades. Adalita is a long term Bob Brown Foundation supporter and environmental activist.
Jim Moginie is a founding member of Midnight Oil as their guitarist, keyboardist and leading songwriter. Jim has worked and performed with many notable musicians from Australia and New Zealand, including Silverchair, Sarah Blasko, Neil Murray, Kasey Chambers and Neil Finn.
Spread across three days, the event will bring together international, national and local artists for a broad range of workshops, panel discussions, artist talks and film screenings.
Twenty-three panellists will join hundreds of people online to learn skills for using art in activism from a range of acclaimed artists from states all over Australia and Colorado, USA. More than 500 people are attending the online event from across Australia and around Tasmania.
“Art has always played a vital part in our campaigns, and so when our annual arts field project, Tarkine in Motion – Australia’s biggest environmental art event – was postponed this year due to COVID19, we transformed the event into an online festival of art for nature,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We are gathering artists to share their activism in defending planet Earth. This event provides an opportunity to discuss the role of art in our campaign to save takayna / Tarkine,” Jenny Weber said.
Panelists over the weekend range from local north west Tasmanian artists to award-winning artists in their field, including acclaimed author Favel Parrett, Tasmanian photographers Matthew Newton and Paul Hoelen, international photographer Bill Hatcher and local north west artists Laura Gillam, Zoe Grey and Tim Cooper, who have grown up in and around takayna / Tarkine.
“Using art for change is one way our Foundation campaigns for protection of takayna / Tarkine, showcasing the beauty, fragility and devastation of the place. Art records action and the brave hearts who commit their lives to defending takayna / Tarkine. We have shared takayna / Tarkine with thousands of people in exhibitions, films, books and advertising campaigns using art from Tarkine in Motion,” Jenny Weber said.
“Half a million hectares in takayna / Tarkine, including the largest temperate rainforest is Australia, many rare and endangered species and the National Heritage listed Aboriginal heritage landscape on the coast, urgently needs secure protection in a World Heritage listed National Park, returned to Aboriginal ownership,” Jenny Weber said.
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Today’s formula to deregulate environmentally-harmful impacts of major projects shows Prime Minister Morrison as an environmental smasher, Bob Brown said in Hobart.
“For example, the Marinus undersea cable linking Tasmania to the mainland will promote mega wind turbines regardless of Tasmania’s needs and have huge impacts on wild and scenic Tasmania, its bird life and other wildlife habitat. But PM Morrison’s plan is to ignore those impacts and barge ahead regardless. For Scott Morrison, this sixth age of mass extinction does not exist. He is oblivious to his own huge responsibilities for the environment which our children are about to inherit.”
“Private enterprise should be shouldering the cost of this job-sparse project but Morrison is having the taxpayers fund it while sweeping aside the same taxpayer concerns for the environment. Tasmania has more energy than it can use already and needs Marinus like a hole in the head: this project already has communities up in arms here. But the Morrison bulldozer is about to roll over every Tasmanian citizen’s concern. What hope the Wedge tailed Eagles and migratory birds headed for extinction?”
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Bob Brown Foundation calls on Premier Gutwein to reverse plans to push ahead with allowing 4WD and off-road vehicles access to the Western Tasmanian Aboriginal Cultural Landscape (WTACL) in takayna / Tarkine.
“Premier Gutwein has time to stop this shameful push that will ruin this globally significant Aboriginal cultural landscape. It's time to show respect, back off, and elevate protection of this special indigenous heritage above base politics,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“After the nation is reeling from outrage at Rio Tinto blasting of the 40,000-years-old Aboriginal site in Western Australia, Premier Gutwein has the opportunity to take leadership and halt the reopening of the tracks in takayna / Tarkine. Otherwise this will be Tasmania’s Rio Tinto,’ Ms Weber said.
“Tasmania’s government’s plans to allow ongoing access will impact and cause irreparable damage to the ancient Aboriginal heritage, cultural and natural values. It is a national shame to have vehicles smashing through one of Australia’s most significant and richest Aboriginal heritage landscapes, where critically endangered and other threatened species rely on an intact wild coastline for survival. These tracks need to stay closed,” Ms Weber said.
“It is high time this nation had Aboriginal heritage protection laws which gave Indigenous people a clear and unequivocal veto on projects which threaten their heritage,” Bob Brown said.
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The Tasmanian Walking Company Foundation launched today should begin by honouring the concept of wilderness, Bob Brown Foundation said today.
“Mr Godfrey’s company cannot have it both ways: eroding the pure wilderness for which Tasmania is so famous while at the same time claiming charitable commitment to protecting it,” Bob Brown said.
“The company says its charity will promote ‘innovative programs that restore balance to threatened ecosystems while protecting vulnerable native animals and promoting sustainable use of wilderness areas.’ However, the invasion of national parks and World Heritage wilderness with helicopter-serviced luxury buildings - his concept of ‘sustainable use’ - destroys wilderness and wildlife habitat values. If it was promoting protection rather than profiteering from wilderness there would be more integrity in the proposal,” he said.
“Mr Godfrey would be more credible if he dropped the secrecy and revealed his applications to government for resorts in Tasmania’s national parks. Transparency would be a good beginning.”
“Our foundation has told Mr Godfrey it welcomes his support for the Tarkine being handed back to the Aboriginal community and being nominated for the World Heritage status it deserves. However, this welcome is not at the expense of protecting other wilderness areas from his invasive plans.”
“We have given Mr Godfrey a list of wild and scenic places where, with the purchase of freehold land, he could develop excellent tourism facilities.”
Prime Minister Morrison should order a Royal Commission into the destruction of the globally-significant Juukan Gorge Aboriginal rock shelters in the Pilbara, former Greens leader Bob Brown said today.
“The fact that both the federal and Western Australian ministers charged with responsibility for Aboriginal culture and well-being knew that Rio Tinto was about to dynamite the 46,000-year-old shelters, but did not stop it, is a national tragedy,” Brown said.
“There are many more ancient Aboriginal sites threatened, from the Tarkine to the Galilee Basin to Karratha, and the destruction will continue while ever Indigenous communities can be bought off, split, worn down or deceived by corporations or individuals putting dollars ahead of the most ancient spiritual places in Australia.”
“The federal legislation is a toothless joke. It needs to have serious penalties, including jail, for executives and others who destroy or connive to destroy such sites.”
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Six forest defenders appeared in Hobart Magistrates Court today, to face charges relating to protests in the north of Tasmania.
"These heroes represent the growing movement across Tasmania, and indeed the globe, calling for an end to native forest logging in this state. Bob Brown Foundation is committed to ongoing non-violent protests while this atrocity against nature, wildlife and the climate continues," said Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager.
The forest defenders who faced court are listed below:
Jarrah Keenan – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04)
Anthony Buckingham – no conviction recorded and a $100 fine (plus court costs of $68.04 and victims of crime levy of $20)
Eva Davis-Jones – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04 and victims of crime levy of $20)
Samuel Pottenger – a conviction was recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04)
Imogen Romet-Smith – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04 and victims of crime levy of $20)
Matthew Willes – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04). For his second protest, a conviction was recorded and a further $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04).
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The landmark Federal Court decision in the case of Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum v VicForests is a huge win for the wildlife in Victoria’s forests.
“Regional Forest Agreements are underpinning the destruction of wildlife-rich forest habitat. The Victorian judgment draws attention to the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement’s failure to protect wildlife, economic and carbon values in native forests.
The Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement had an absurd clause inserted by Premier Paul Lennon and Prime Minister John Howard which states that endangered species are protected simply because the agreement says so. It is an Alice in Wonderland clause which, in Tasmania’s case, the Federal court upheld,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“Sus Timbers Tasmania’s forest practices promote the decline of species such as the Swift Parrot and Tasmanian devil,” Jenny Weber said.
“Most Tasmanians are unaware that STT’s logging is driving species to extinction while exempt from the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.