Hon. Malcolm Turnbull,
Prime Minister of Australia.
Dear Prime Minister,
The bushfire threat in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is extremely alarming. If between now and the end of April Tasmania experiences a heat wave with strong winds some of the most beautiful places on the high Central Plateau and in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and beyond will be incinerated. They would take centuries, if ever, to recover.
The heart of the Tarkine wilderness to the west of the World Heritage Area but containing its own World Heritage values is also alight and similarly threatened.
Urgent national assistance to douse the current fires before catastrophic conditions arise is warranted. Tasmania's resources are already stretched to the limit.
We urge you to take immediate action to send to Tasmania the necessary equipment - there is no shortage of water in these fires' localities - and personnel to bring the situation under control before it is too late.
Pencil Pine at Lake Balmoral. Photo: Geoff Law
Here's how you can help!
Call or write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Contact your local federal Coalition MP. Tell friends who have seen the glories of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area or Tarkine.
Thank you all,
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Media Release 20 Jan 2016
The Hodgman government's draconian laws to deprive Tasmanians of the centuries-old right to peacefully protest have created community havoc at the first test, environmentalist Bob Brown said today, after Jessica Hoyt, who was raised in Lapoinya was arbitrarily arrested in her local forest.
The forest is a previously safe habitat for rare and endangered species including the Tasmanian devil and giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish.
"The arrests and mandatory fines handed out today and yesterday at Lapoinya show a government which has lost touch with its rural heartland. Will Hodgman, also out of touch with Tasmania's natural bounty, has only himself to blame. He was led by the logging companies, with a ring through his nose, to host these draconian laws."
"The Hodgman government has underestimated the love of place which is at the heart of many Tasmanian communities."
"One independent economic analysis estimates the cost to taxpayers of this unnecessary invasion of the Lapoinya forest at $50,000 but, with Forestry Tasmania's bid for FSC certification undermined, the flow-on costs will be much more”, Bob Brown said.
There will be a small rally to support the Lapoinya community in Hobart's Parliamentary Lawns tomorrow, Thursday, from 12.30 to 1.00pm and the public is welcome: no one will be arrested.
Steven Chaffer 0408 855 261
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Media Release 19 Jan 2016
In this evening's media release under the banner and authority of Premier Will Hodgman but purporting to be from backbench novice Joan Rylah, the premier has striven to twist the facts.
First, his implication that logging is the best option for jobs is patently wrong. Tourism and hospitality based on Tasmania's wildlife and scenery produces many more jobs than logging. His conservative Liberal agenda is anti-jobs.
Second, it was the Hodgman government, including novice Rylah which moved the goalposts when it voted down the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Having destroyed that agreement they look pathetic continuing to claim that those who signed it should stick to it.
Third, Lapoinya was selectively logged decades ago and the native forest is regrowing. Now the premier has licensed clearfelling and burning in order to deliberately destroy the native forest and its wildlife including threatened species like the unmentionable giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish.
Fourth, this is not sustainable forestry, it is the utter destruction of 49 hectares of ancient Tasmanian forest ecosystem and its wildlife against the dismissed wishes of the local residents.
If Premier Hodgman would like to debate his job-losing, economically irresponsible environmental vandalism by coming from behind Ms Rylah's cover then I would be very happy to take him on - for Tasmania's sake.
Media Release 18 Jan 2016
Today's invasion of the Lapoinya forest region south of Burnie in Tasmania, against the local community's heartfelt pleas, is "a bloody-minded act of political vandalism", environmentalist Bob Brown said in Hobart.
Brown, who visited the coup with Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager Jenny Weber last week, said that the Turnbull and Hodgman governments are engaged in the deliberate extinction of vital habitats of threatened species including the Tasmanian devil and the world's largest freshwater crayfish, astacopsis gouldi.
"Within a day or two, Forestry Tasmania machinery, under the licence of Premier Will Hodgman and Federal environment minister Greg Hunt, will be polluting pristine Maynes Creek which is a nursery for the crayfish and then clearfelling the forest beyond which contains a healthy population of devils and tiger quolls. It is as if the global listing of Tasmania's treasured wildlife means nothing. Many months of appeals to reason by the little community of Lapoiyna is being treated with disdain.
"In terms of ecological wisdom, the Lapoiyna logging is a criminal act in the twenty-first century. It is the ministers, not the residents of Lapoiyna, who should be facing fines and jail sentences," Brown said.
“This destruction is in the service of corrupt-in-Malaysia logging company Ta Ann,” Brown said.
See a video of the Lapoiyna forest creek at https://vimeo.com/151691983
Further information: Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
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Media Release 14 Jan 2016
Tasmanian environmentalist Bob Brown has expressed alarm at the impact which logging, due to start on Monday, will have on a crucial nursery of the world's largest freshwater crayfish.
Former Senator Brown visited Lapoinya with his Foundations campaign manager Jenny Weber yesterday.
See the film at this link https://vimeo.com/151691983
High definition film available on request.
0427 366 929
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Media Release 13 January 2016
Former national Greens leader Bob Brown and Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber are visiting the contentious Lapoinya forest today to back local farmers and tourism operators who want the Lapoinya forest spared from state wide logging operations.
Bob Brown said this morning, 'At stake is a vital habitat of the worlds largest freshwater crayfish, listed as threatened with extinction by the State and Federal Governments and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The State Government’s own official advice is that bush should be protected from logging to help this amazing creature survive in clear water streams like Lapoinya.'
'There are 800 000 hectares of state forest available for Ta Ann and other customers, surely this 49 hectares can be sensibly protected to stop the Lapoinya community's heart being broken. Logging it will be an own goal for Forestry Tasmania which wants Forest Stewardship Certification - impossible if you are damaging the habitat of globally listed wild animals,' he said.
0427 366 929
Press Release 29 December 2015
BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND
BOB BROWN FOUNDATION, HOBART / AUSTRALIA
Penan community leaders urge Adelaide University to pay back AUD $400,000 in donations received from former Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud
LONG LAMAI (SARAWAK, MALAYSIA) / ADELAIDE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
Indigenous leaders from Malaysian Borneo are urging Adelaide University to pay back AUD $ 400,000 in donations received between 1987 and 2006 from Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), a former Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
In a letter to Vice-Chancellor Warren Bebbington, eleven Penan headmen demand that the Taib donations be returned to Sarawak as they had been illegally acquired by the Malaysian politician who studied law in Adelaide in the late 1950s. The letter is signed by the community leaders with their thumbprints.
The Penan were Borneo’s last nomadic hunter-gatherers until most of their rainforests were destroyed by the Taib government since the mid-1980s.
“When Taib studied law in Adelaide as a young man, he was as poor as we are today”, states the letter signed first by former Penan penghulu (paramount chief) James Lalo Keso. “Later on, he decided to become a politician […]. But instead of helping us indigenous people, Taib became greedy and only interested in enriching himself and his family members.”
“Our lives were good and self-sustaining until Taib Mahmud gave our land away to the logging and plantation companies without our consent. (…) It is an open secret that the loggers gave a lot of bribes to Taib Mahmud and his family members.”
The Penan demand from Vice-Chancellor Bebbington “to take a courageous decision” and restitute the Taib funds in order to correct injustice done by the former Sarawak Chief Minister: “We need this money urgently to develop the Penan Peace Park and send our children to school and higher education. For you, $400,000 is not much, but for the Penan this is a lot of money which can help change our young generation’s lives.”
The Penan have been struggling to protect their rainforests against logging for close to thirty years. The “Penan Peace Park” is their latest plan for a community-administered forest reserve.
Taib Mahmud’s donations to Adelaide University had been disclosed in November under a Freedom of Information request by South Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell. Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has shown that the Taib family also secretly purchased the AUD$55 million Adelaide Hilton hotel.
Penan leaders from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, are claiming back AUD$400,000 in donations from Adelaide University. Former Penghulu (paramount chief) James Lalo Keso (centre) is one of the signatories of the letter to Adelaide University's Vice-Chancellor Warren Bebbington.
Download the letter to Adelaide University here (3MB)
For more information:
Jenny Weber, Campaign Manager, Bob Brown Foundation, +61 427 366 929
Lukas Straumann, Executive Director, Bruno Manser Fund, +41 61 261 94 74
Bob Brown Foundation, Level 4/116 Bathurst St, Hobart, TAS, Australia
Tel 03 6294 0225, www.bobbrown.org
Bruno Manser Fund, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74, www.bmf.ch
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MEDIA RELEASE 11.Dec.2015
Bob Brown Foundation will tonight launch takayna makuminya / Tarkine Trails, a new guide to touring, bushwalking and rafting the Tarkine. The guide-book is compiled and published by Bob Brown Foundation. takayna makuminya / Tarkine Trails will be launched at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart and on Sunday in Launceston.
“Tarkine Trails / takayna makuminya, with its splendid photographs and maps, is the definitive guide for adventurers to the Tarkine. Here is a welcome to one of Australia’s least known yet most beautiful natural and cultural treasures,” Bob Brown said.
Tarkine Trails / takayna makuminya has 100 bushwalking trails complete with colour maps, 10 mountain bike trails and 17 paddling trips. This definitive guide has contributions from more than 30 experts including lead author Phill Pullinger, a foreword and case for conservation chapter by Bob Brown, an introduction by Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary’s owner Greg Irons, and an essay on Aboriginal Heritage of takayna / Tarkine written by Ruth Langford. The guide is an updated version of Bob Brown’s 1993 guide book to the Tarkine.
Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber has been the project manager for the book, “Our new comprehensive guide-book will open the Tarkine to more visitors seeking adventure tourism in Tasmania’s wild places like never before. We have had more than 60 people involved in the book, including track testers, a map maker, photographers, a talented design team and writers on natural and cultural values of the Tarkine. Our Foundation has successfully crowdfunded more than $60 000 to raise the funds required to published and distribute this book,” Jenny Weber said.
“Bob Brown Foundation is working to have the Tarkine protected from these destructive impacts and gain secure protection as a National Park and World Heritage Area,” Jenny Weber said.
News outlets wishing to review the book please contact Jenny Weber ph 0427 366 929 or email@example.com
Friday 11.Dec.15 at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart 5:15pm for 5:30pm – Launched by Bob Brown and Phill Pullinger
Sunday 13.Dec.15 at Petrarch’s Bookshop in Launceston at 3pm – Launched by Bob Brown and Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
Monday 21.Dec.15 Not Just Books at Burnie at 5:15pm – Launched by Phill Pullinger and Nicole Anderson
At the Launceston launch Sunday 13.Dec.15. Photo: Emma Anglesey
Tarkine Trails is available from:
Fullers Bookstore Hobart
Wild Island Hobart
Hobart Book Shop Salamanca, Hobart
Find Your Feet Hobart
Bike Ride Hobart
Mountain Creek Outdoors Hobart
Petrarch's Book Shop, Launceston
Not Just Books, Burnie
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
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MEDIA RELEASE - 4th December, 2015
A long way to go for Forestry Tasmania’s FSC bid, environment groups warn
Peg Putt and Jenny Weber are available for comment today on Parliament Lawns in Hobart, upon request.
The very issues that Markets For Change, the Bob Brown Foundation and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust documented and took FSC auditors to see in the field are those that have been identified as the key impediments to Forestry Tasmania achieving FSC certification, revealed today in a Government Business Enterprises Estimates Committee hearing in Hobart.
Forestry Tasmania has not gained FSC certification due to their ongoing clearfelling of old growth forests, logging of threatened species habitat including that of the Swift Parrot, and failing to identify high conservation values.
“Markets for Change, Bob Brown Foundation and Tasmanian Conservation Trust surveyed and documented the scientific and technical shortcomings of Forestry Tasmania’s logging when measured against the FSC standard for forest management and identified to the auditors the exact failings outlined to MPs by Managing Director Bob Annells,” said Jenny Weber, Campaign Manager of the Bob Brown Foundation.
“In Tasmania we have logging of habitat of critically endangered species Swift Parrot, endangered species Wedge Tailed Eagles, Tasmanian Masked Owl, and Tasmanian Devil as well as the rare and vulnerable Spotted-tail Quoll to name just a small number, and ongoing clearfelling of old growth forests and logging of rainforests. These are not the type of logging operations that deserve accreditation.”
“There is a choice, continue logging threatened species habitat or witness their extinction,” Ms Weber concluded.
“An FSC certificate should not be granted to Forestry Tasmania unless and until Forestry Tasmania meet the criteria, which they still do not,” CEO of Markets for Change Peg Putt said.
“It is a full year since FSC auditors came to Tasmania and quite rapidly told Forestry Tasmania of these major non-conformances, but much change is required and Forestry Tasmania is seeking to limit such changes by imposing limits on action they will take,” Ms Putt explained.
“They insist on prioritising maintenance of wood volumes over protecting threatened species and old growth so as to avoid reduction of logged volumes. This is not an acceptable approach for a modern, environmentally responsible company.”
“Telling the world that they will continue to inflict damage on old growth forests that conflicts with FSC requirements for another six months is not good news, its evidence that Forestry Tasmania is intending to wilfully continue the damage identified as unacceptable a year ago,” Ms Putt concluded.
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
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Media Statement 3.12.2015
Noting Brett Whiteley's parliamentary tour-de-force this week, Bob Brown has issued the following statement:
Brett Whiteley owes taxpayers far more than the Tarkine National Coalition ever could owe mining companies. Mr Whiteley and his party have lost more than $400 million of taxpayers' money, propping up the job-losing logging industry in Tasmania. More than 5000 jobs have been shed in recent decades. Then there are the vast sums of money (via tax deductions) the Liberals have moved into the logging industry through the disastrous forestry management investment schemes.
The question is: will Mr Whiteley start paying that back to Tasmanians by allocating 10 percent of his taxpayer-funded income, for starters?
Each year Mr Whiteley and his party put millions of dollars more of taxpayers' money into tax breaks and subsidies (for example, mining companies get a 38 cents per litre tax cut on diesel which ordinary people in Burnie, Devonport and Smithton don't get) into mining corporations to benefit the pockets of interstate and overseas shareholders. Will Mr Whiteley put another 10 percent of his parliamentary income to help pay that loss off?
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (opposed by Whiteley) is now Tasmania's biggest international attraction and core to the tourism and hospitality industries which are creating many times more jobs for Tasmanians than mining and logging. Yet Whiteley also opposes the Tarkine winning this global status. He has consistently backed the wrong horse, using taxpayers' money. So picking on the Tarkine National Coalition for its recent court loss is self-invested hot air.
Is Mr Whiteley offering to be guarantor for Shree Minerals and Venture who have not yet proceeded with their proposals?
The Tarkine when protected will transform into the Northwest's own local superlative tourism drawcard. Brett Whiteley's opposition to it being nominated for World Heritage is holding back the region's economic and employment development.
He has challenged me in parliament. l test his courage outside the 'cowards castle' by challenging Whiteley to a debate in the public arena on this real and important issue of the Tarkine and its potential for all of Tasmania.
I might begin by asking him and the Liberals to pay up for mining and logging companies which have not met court or other public-burden costs in recent years. I will prepare a list.
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929