The Bob Brown Foundation is calling for urgent protection of Tasmania’s native forests as the relentless clearing and incinerating of the islands wildlife rich ecosystems continues.
This morning logging has been halted in native forests near Lake Echo in the Central Highlands. A tree sit is 30 metres high in an old growth eucalyptus.
“While the Liberal and Labor parties race to the bottom on the environment without solutions for the biodiversity and climate crisis, they are both missing the essential opportunity to protect all of Tasmania’s remaining native forests and choose a nature-based solution to the crisis,” Jenny Weber said.
“We have recently discovered a brand new road pushed into these forests. This road, and many others like it, were built at the expense of the taxpayer. Now the bulldozers have started logging the hollow-bearing trees that are critical habitat for threatened wildlife, destined predominantly for export woodchips,” Jenny Weber said.
“Alarmingly if allowed to continue, this proposed logging will destroy 130 hectares of native forest. This is an area equivalent to Hobart’s much-loved Domain, but there is still time to save these wildlife-filled forests,” Jenny Weber said.
“Logging is harmful to the environment, climate and wildlife. Meanwhile, concerned community members are halting the logging of native forests to prevent their destruction,” Jenny Weber said.
Amid Tasmania’s state election, the native forest industry and its Government cronies are still rehashing the same embarrassing justifications to keep destroying native forests.
“Their poll, released today, uses a loaded and misleading set of questions, failing to separate plantations, from which most Tasmanian wood comes, from the thoroughly unpopular native forest logging industry which provides less than 1% of the jobs in Tasmania,” Bob Brown said.
“Nevertheless this poll, if they believe it, would indicate the Greens have much more than a quota in Franklin and are in the running for a seat in Braddon,” Bob Brown said.
“This poll flies in the face of a much bigger survey of rural and regional Australia done by the logging industry in 2018, showing a two-thirds majority wants logging of native forests to stop,” Bob Brown said. (see below)
“Meanwhile the Liberal Government is reheating failed anti-protest laws because a few logging corporations have Premier Gutwein dancing on their string,” Jenny Weber said.
“Habitat of the critically endangered Swift Parrot is being destroyed, as witnessed in the Denison valley today where the road to Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Lake Skinner has a ‘closed’ sign to allow for native forest logging. This is the Tasmania we live in where Premier Gutwein prefers native forest logging at the expense of the taxpayer and World Heritage values,” Jenny Weber said.
Report of the 2018 poll:
Dr Lisa Searle and Bob Brown have today committed to defending Tasmania’s wild places and wildlife after Dr Searle faced sentencing this afternoon in Hobart’s Magistrates Court.
Dr Lisa Searle was sentenced to 49 hours of community service over 18 months, for her involvement in defending takayna/Tarkine against the impacts of the new Riley Creek Mine. During that 18 months, Dr Searle will have to report regularly to a probation officer, not commit any offence punishable by imprisonment, or leave the state of Tasmania or change residence without notifying the probation officer.
“My acts of civil disobedience over the last 10 years, as heard today by the courts, have been borne out of passion and desperation for the plight of forests globally. The Tasmanian wilderness that I love so much is disappearing right before my eyes and I cannot stand idle and let this relentless destruction continue. I understand the consequences of my actions, but I believe passionately in the power of civil disobedience and remain committed to standing up against injustice. The land on which I was convicted of trespass today is stolen land. This land belongs to the Palawa people and was never ceded," said Dr Lisa Searle.
“We all need to say no to the destruction of Tasmania’s native forests. Direct Action works, we have seen it work so many times in our history. We have seen it work in Tasmania and protect wild places,” Dr Lisa Searle said.
"Lisa is a magnificent example to people of all ages especially, to young people, of making a stand and taking action,” Bob Brown said.
“I know the magistrate has said that she needs to be stopped from reoffending but the real criminality here is the logging, burning of Tasmania's magnificent native forest and their wildlife. If the government wants to stop police been diverted from other duties they should stop the destruction of native forests.
I'm proud of her, it's great to be her friend, I encourage Lisa to keep standing strong for our forest, I'll be there with her so will a lot more other people," said Bob Brown
‘green your vote’ gets under government’s skin.
Today’s tirade by logging minister Guy Barnett against Bob Brown Foundation is a pale mimic of tactics used to suppress democratic rights in Putin’s Moscow, Bob Brown said in Hobart.
“No doubt Barnett’s outburst has Premier Gutwein’s full backing. To be positive, it shows just how effective our ‘green your vote’ campaign is shaping up to be. It is good feedback.
The Gutwein government has tried to stop our peaceful forest protests, our legal right to be in the forests to run a marathon, our actions for the environment in the courts and now our legitimate right to take part in this election campaign. These tactics are a pale shade of Putin: don’t take up the public debate but take out your opponents.
The government knows it has lost public support for flattening and incinerating Tasmania’s wildlife and forests, so it is hell-bent on crushing our community-backed action calling it to account. That is what a democracy is about.
Regarding yesterday’s Mercury advertisement, it read ‘green your vote...’. Apparently, Barnett cannot tell the difference between a noun and a verb. If he read that as a vote for the Greens he was short-changing our message: we want Tasmanians to vote for any candidates, Greens included, who advocate an end to native forest logging and clearfell napalming of this island’s magnificent forests,” said Dr Brown.
“There was not a peep out of Barnett when the Exclusive Brethren drove around Salamanca in a previous campaign with huge billboards condemning the Greens.
Our advertising is powerful and has got under his skin. That’s why the government is calling ‘foul’. But a lot more is coming so they had better get used to it,” Brown said.
The Bob Brown Foundation has been granted leave to appeal against a costs ruling in the Bob Brown Foundation Inc v Sustainable Timber Tasmania 369/2021 case over the Foundation's community event, takayna Trail, access to public land. The Foundation considers that Forestry's conduct was unfair and is now pursuing costs against Sustainable Timber Tasmania. The matter is hoped to be listed in the Full Court within the next 8 weeks.
"Sus Timbers Tasmania should not have denied us access to public land for takayna Trail 2021 in the first place. They forced our Foundation to take the matter to court, to ensure the event could go ahead. Once in court STT then said no permit was needed and that takayna Trail could run. It was a waste of the court's time, our time and a waste of our supporter's money. STT's conduct was unfair and arrogant and we will now pursue them for full costs of the proceedings," said Bob Brown Foundation's Campaign Manager, Jenny Weber.
"In the end takayna Trail was a huge success, raising close to $200,000 with 120 runners participating from across Australia. The runners, 75% of whom came for the event from interstate, brought tourism dollars into the North West region, giving a much needed boost during tough times for the tourism industry," said Ms Weber.
Bob Brown Foundation is embarking on a Vote Environment campaign in this state election to achieve major change in Tasmania, as the assault on its environment and wildlife has worsened.
“Our Vote Environment campaign is a call to the political leaders to show their eco-credentials before voters go to the ballot box. It is a plea to voters that Tasmania’s wild places, wildlife and climate needs their vote this election. Native forests, oceans, coasts, rivers and the Aboriginal living landscapes are suffering from the ‘cut it down and dig it up’ mentality,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.
“Our campaign features a state-wide advertising campaign on billboards, buses, in newspapers and on social media. Mobilising a voice for environmental protection and climate action we will letterbox thousands of Tasmanians and we will rally in Hobart on Saturday 24 April because, in this age of climate emergency and extinction crisis, Tasmania’s natural beauty, wild places and wildlife is a top election issue,” Jenny Weber said.
“The major parties want our votes in the ballot box before the election and their bulldozers invading our forests after the election. They promise to end the squeeze on schools and hospitals before the election but will hand over $5 billion from taxpayers to foreign corporations for the Marinus cable after the election. Our campaign is to have every thoughtful vote go to candidates who will defend our forests, wildlife, coastal beauty and lifestyle,” Bob Brown said.
“Tasmania has an environmental crisis including the ongoing tax-payer subsidised logging of native forests, loss of habitat for endangered wildlife including the critically endangered Swift Parrot, push to allow off-road vehicle access across globally significant Aboriginal living landscapes in takayna/Tarkine, rampant expansion of fish farms and the threat of invasion into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area with private developments,” Jenny Weber said.
In the last term of government, there has been the ongoing flattening of wildlife-filled native forests, expansions of fish farms in our oceans and rivers and new threats to Tasmania’s wild places. All while attempting to silence defenders of Tasmania’s natural wildness with draconian anti-protest laws. Failing to halt the destruction of the environment will exacerbate the biodiversity and extinction crisis and the climate crisis,” Jenny Weber said.
“This is a call on all candidates to commit to action on the environment and climate in the next term of parliament. Tasmania has a remarkable future ahead of it as a World Heritage Wilderness Island, with clean air, water and abundant wildlife. A future with a strong economy benefiting from protected landscapes and a net-zero carbon economy. A future that Tasmanians need to vote for,” Jenny Weber said.
Bob Brown Foundation is hosting one hundred artists and volunteers in Tasmania’s takayna/Tarkine for our annual environmental arts project.
“Premier Gutwein's term of government in Tasmania has failed to protect takayna/Tarkine and return it to Aboriginal ownership. Worse he has overseen the logging of rainforests and wildlife filled native forests, the commencement of the controversial Riley creek mine and challenged the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in the Federal Court to re-open damaging 4WD tracks on the national heritage listed Aboriginal Coastal Landscape,” Bob Brown Foundations Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We are out in takayna this weekend to remind Tasmanians that this is one of the last wild places on Earth and needs urgent protection from logging, mining and off-road vehicle invasions,” Jenny Weber said.
“We are calling on voters in Tasmania to only vote people into parliament who will protect takayna/Tarkine,” Jenny Weber said.
For four days, artists and volunteers will fan out from six base camps located across the 495,000 hectares of takayna / Tarkine. From the small shack town of Arthur River, the Aboriginal cultural landscape on the wild coastline between Sandy Cape and Rupert Point to the ancient, threatened rainforests still threatened by logging and mining.
“After a two-year hiatus, brought on by COVID in 2020 and our Stop Adani Convoy in 2019, Bob Brown Foundation is excited to be heading into wild takayna this long weekend for Australia’s largest environmental arts project,” Jenny Weber said.
Over 80 artists will venture into the wild corners of takayna, supported by our campaign team and 20 volunteers acting as guides, cooks and base camp coordinators.
“During their four days in takayna, the artists will capture the wild and scenic beauty of this threatened landscape. We will be exhibiting the artist's impressions of takayna in Hobart, Burnie, Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere across the country,” Jenny Weber said.
“These artists will give a portrait of the threatened, wild and ancient takayna through threatened landscapes, from serene rainforests, across vast button grass plains, towering sand dunes, hidden waterfalls to the jagged rocky shore that shreds the wild Southern Ocean,” Jenny Weber said.
The Crown has dropped charges of resisting arrest against three of the defendants and is looking at dropping charges of trespass against Bob Brown and Jenny Weber altogether. The cases were adjourned till 10 June 2021.
Two protesters appearing over the Artec Woodchip mill demonstration at Bell Bay north of Launceston also had their cases adjourned.
“What we are seeing is the power of the High Court judgment in 2018 that peaceful protest is a right in our representative democracy. And with that is the recent Supreme Court finding that citizens have a right to be their state forests regardless of the Gutwein government’s wish to lock them out,” Bob Brown said.
“Our peaceful protests for Tasmania’s native forests and wildlife will continue despite both Liberal and Labor parties wanting Tasmanians to vote against native forest protection,” Bob Brown Foundations Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said
Today’s announcement by the Tasmanian Labor party of draconian new anti-protest laws comes hard on the heels of similar laws being rejected by the Tasmanian Parliament, with Labor MLCs, joining independents to vote down the failed laws.
This policy hypocrisy is a crass attempt to outdo the Liberal government’s failed attempt to stifle peaceful protest in Tasmania.
This policy has nothing to do with protecting jobs and is simply a desperate attempt to use Bob Brown Foundation, as a whipping post. These proposed laws will have far-reaching impacts on the rights of all citizens peacefully protesting about issue they care about.
The best way for the ALP to protect jobs in the forest industry is to accept that native forest logging is an outdated, destructive practice and to usher in a plantation-based forest industry.
“We have a problem in Tasmania – the ongoing logging of wildlife-filled native forests”, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said today.
“We also have a solution – transition the industry into existing plantations, protecting native forests and addressing the biodiversity crisis, tackling climate change and protecting jobs in the process.”
“These proposed laws will do nothing to stop Bob Brown Foundation from peacefully protesting against the needless invasion and destruction of Tasmania’s public native forests”, Jenny Weber said.
“Tasmania’s Legislative Council has done its job as a house of review and stopped the Gutwein government’s effort to rob Tasmanians of their right to protest against unpopular policies. The government has failed, again, in its bid to give a few corporate forest invaders priority over the interests of fair-minded Tasmanians,” Bob Brown said today after the bill was voted down 8 – 6.
“Our Foundation will continue to carry out the long-held democratic right to protest for protection of Tasmania’s environment. We stand by our impeccable record that our Foundation and forest protesters in Tasmania have never damaged property nor threatened violence. We have a proud record of non-violent direct action. Some MLCs during the debate wrongly suggested otherwise,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“The right to protest should be enshrined by our political leaders rather than curtailed and in Tasmania’s Upper House today it was,” Jenny Weber said.