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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.
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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.
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Bob Brown Foundation forest defenders have returned to contentious Eastern Tiers forests after three arrests yesterday. Logging of habitat for critically endangered Swift Parrots has been halted for a second day.
"I’m here at Lost Falls forest again for the Swift Parrots and multiple other creatures living here. This is part of a rolling campaign to turn back the needless invasion of these public forests. Premier Gutwein needs to put an end to his invasion of the people’s public forests and the extermination of its wildlife," Bob Brown said.
“There is still time to protect these native forests we are occupying. The hollow-bearing trees around us are critical for Swift Parrots that are on the brink of extinction. Citizens are holding off the destruction of native forests in this climate and biodiversity crisis,” Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager said.
"The annihilation of the last tracts of remaining critical habitat for endangered species is unacceptable. It is deplorable. Scott Morrison and his government have the power to protect the future of this federally listed species. The government needs to now stand up and do its job in protecting this habitat," Erik Hayward, Campaign Organiser for Bob Brown Foundation said.
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Today Bob Brown has been arrested halting logging in North East Tasmania. The forest is documented habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson and Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor joined Bob Brown in the contentious forest but have been moved on after being given a police direction. Three other people still remain locked onto logging machinery, halting all work.
“Here in the forest alongside me, is a 16-year-old woman showing more gumption for Australia’s environment than a Prime Minister. Not yet old enough to vote but more intelligent and caring than the whole of Morrison’s cabinet room put together,” Bob Brown said.
“I’m here today because it is my moral duty to protect these amazing native forests and wildlife, particularly the critically endangered Swift Parrots. I’m fighting to protect this land for the future generations and people less fortunate than me. Climate change is a human rights issue and I’m fighting for the people who need a safe climate," said Harriet O'Shea, one of the three Australian Climate Strike co-initiators.
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"More spin and announcements from Prime Minister Morrison today but still no answer as to who will pay for the unnecessary and economically unviable Project Marinus and Battery of the Nation. All these announcements are to build momentum for the idea that these projects are inevitable and going ahead in spite of no cost sharing agreements being signed for the $7.1billion they are estimated to cost. The only costs being announced are to the taxpayers and people of Tasmania via a $93.9m convertible loan," said Bob Brown Foundation Director Christine Milne.
"Make no mistake, this is a Debt Debt Debt disaster for Tasmania to finance a white elephant. Remember they said same things about Basslink and they were wrong. How exactly will it drive down electricity prices when the experience is that Tasmania follows Victorian prices because of Basslink? It will be even more so with Marinus? AEMO has included Marinus and Battery of the Nation in its ISP on assumption that Tasmania will overbuild renewable energy at its own cost via a cost sharing arrangement and that energy will be available at low cost to the NEM. It It is an investment that Tasmanians have to build in the first place and work out who will pay for that build," said Ms Milne.
"Tasmania has 100% renewable energy. The mainland is well on the way to a 100% transition to renewables and batteries are flying down the cost curve to provide storage. Just yesterday Portland Aluminium entered a contract to provide storage and energy services Victorians. Batteries on the mainland have already leapfrogged Tas Hydro storage services. We don’t need to spiral into huge debt and destroy our environment to send energy to the mainland when it is not needed to achieve climate or renewable energy goals. Industrialising the north of the state for private sector profits in wind farms, subsidised from our own pockets, is not in Tasmania’s interests. Already TasNetworks has $2b borrowings, Hydro has signed onerous contracts with Granville Wind and Aurora has signed same with Cattle Hill. Exactly how many more millions are Tasmanians expected to throw at these private sector developments?" concluded Ms Milne.
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This morning, Bob Brown Foundation has halted logging in Swift Parrot habitat in Tasmania's North Eastern Tiers. Three people are locked on to a log loader. Bob Brown has joined forest defenders to stop the destruction of this critically endangered species' home.
"Despite the world's fastest parrot plummeting towards extinction, the trees in Tasmania's north east hills are being logged from underneath it. Despite last week's diabolical news from Australian National University research that a few hundred, not thousands, Swift Parrots remain alive, the destruction of their habitat goes ahead under federal and state direction, " said Bob Brown.
"Last week a few very thoughtful people risked arrest by peacefully objecting to this needless destruction in the Eastern Tiers. In fact, one brave woman was arrested. For the sake of the Swift Parrots, I have decided to join the campaigners this week. Our aim is simple, to stop the destruction of the Swift Parrot by rescuing their habitat. Scott Morrison won’t do it. Peter Gutwein wants more native forests felled. So it is up to us," said Dr Brown.
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New federal legislation to allow logging of native forests despite current court rulings of illegality is a rort against the majority of Australians who want the forests and wildlife saved, former Greens leader Bob Brown said today.
“The nation will have all summer to see how Bridget McKenzie's bill to exempt clearfell destruction of forests from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is no less than the nationals doing the bidding of the powerful logging industry.
Prime Minister Morrison should clear the air and assure Australia that this bill does not have his support.
The global extinction crisis should see this bill replaced with one to end all native forest logging as New Zealand did decades ago," said Bob Brown.
The Bob Brown foundation held a rally in Hobart today to oppose current logging of Tasmanian forest which are the feeding and nesting habitat of the critically endangered Swift Parrot. There are now less than 300 Swift Parrots left in the wild.
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Bob Brown Foundation has carried out a two day frontline protest campaign in Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers. Logging was halted for two days in nesting habitat of the critically endangered Swift Parrot.
Tasmania Police this morning evicted a group of citizens who halted the logging of forests where Swift Parrots have been observed and nesting habitat is being logged, predominantly for woodchips.
The Foundation will tomorrow host a demonstration on Hobart’s Parliament lawns to call on Premier Gutwein to immediately halt all logging in Swift Parrot habitat and protect all their breeding habitat in secure conservation reserves.
“It’s a global atrocity that the Australian and Tasmanian governments are choosing to destroy habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot. When governments fail to act for wildlife protection and forest conservation in this age of climate and biodiversity emergency, we will take action on the frontline to defend these forests,” the Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“What we are witnessing in the native forests behind Freycinet National Park is the ongoing relentless removal of habitat for the Swift Parrot. It is this logging that has meant we have just hundreds, not thousands of the fastest parrot in the world left in the wild. It is criminal that the governments continue to sanction this logging and push the Swifties to extinction,” Jenny Weber said.