Bob Brown Foundation establishes campaign and office in Melbourne

Media Release 29.11.2015

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Tarkine – Huskisson River wilderness. Photo: Rob Blakers

Bob Brown Foundation presents at the Deakin Edge Fed Square on Saturday 5 Dec 2015 at 6pm

Hear from Bob Brown at Deakin Edge as he speaks about one of the world’s last great wild places, takayna/Tarkine. Bob Brown will launch the Bob Brown Foundation’s Melbourne campaign, welcoming the Foundation’s new campaigner, Shelley Waterland, who will be based in the Foundation’s new Melbourne campaign centre.

Bob Brown will be joined by Australian comedian, Corinne Grant for this special event which features a unique performance by a group of Tasmanian Aboriginal women, muka nawnta, along with short films and a stunning photographic exhibition from the Tarkine in Motion project.

Tasmania’s magnificent takayna/Tarkine boasts 450,000 hectares of mountains, ancient Aboriginal cultural sites, jagged coastlines, towering sand dunes, wild rivers and Australia’s largest temperate rainforest. Yet virtually the whole area remains unprotected, with mining, logging and off-road vehicles and constant threat to the natural and cultural values of this remarkable place.

Come along and be introduced to takayna/Tarkine and the Bob Brown Foundation’s campaign to protect the 450,000 hectares as a National Park and listing as World Heritage.

See more at: http://fedsquare.com/events/melbourne-will-save-takayna-tarkine

 
Contact
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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World Heritage Reps urged to rebuff Tasmanian Government on rainforest logging, maintain outstanding universal values

MEDIA RELEASE  24th November, 2015

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Bob Brown Foundation and Markets For Change this morning briefed representatives of the World Heritage Committee Advisory bodies on the destruction of World Heritage values that would result from proposed logging and urged them to rebuff the political  attempt by the Tasmanian government to pressure them to accede to its demands.

Jenny Weber, campaigns manager of the Bob Brown Foundation, presented a case study of rainforest logging’s destructive impact in a southern forest coupe conducted as an experiment by Forestry Tasmania.

“We are deeply alarmed by the prospect of Australia permitting logging, mining and inappropriate tourism developments inside the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and so strongly support the World Heritage Committee’s decision that urges Australia to ensure that commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire property – we want to see this upheld as a result of this visit. Additionally we urge the Tasmanian Government to adhere to the World Heritage Committee decision that urges establishment of strict criteria for new tourism development within the TWWHA which would be in line with the primary goal of protecting the property’s Outstanding Universal Values, including its wilderness character,” Ms Weber said.

“The rainforest ‘special species’ logging trial in the southern forests coupe EP048C had demonstrated the range and scale of disturbance associated with such logging. Any attempt to log in the World Heritage property will be significantly detrimental to the maintenance of Outstanding Universal Values,” Ms Weber said.

Peg Putt, CEO of Markets For Change presented a summary of the political nature of the Tasmanian government’s continued resistance to the World Heritage Committee’s firm request in July that Australia ensure that all commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire World Heritage Area, and that all areas of public lands within the area have a status that ensures adequate protection of the outstanding universal values of the property.

“The Tasmanian government is playing semantic games by now claiming that the logging they want to see in the World Heritage Area is not commercial, and therefore outside the scope of the World Heritage Committee decision, when the legislation is clear that a charge will be made for the rainforest timbers extracted and the product sold. Redefining native forest logging to mean only industrial logging of eucalypts does not negate the need to protect the ecological and aesthetic values when logging rainforest species.”

“There is an enormous area opened for special species logging by Tasmanian legislation passed late last year, such that 1.1 million hectares in other reserves and 400,000 hectares of Future Potential Production Forest land are available in addition to timber arising from ongoing forestry in the permanent production zone allocated to Forestry Tasmania. There is no way that yet another 20,000 hectares of World Heritage forests is also required,’ Ms Putt said.

Contact:
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Peg Putt

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Swift Parrot's survival depends on permanent protection of forests on Bruny Island and across Tasmania

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Swift Parrot. Photo: Eric Woehler

“Tasmanian Government Minister Paul Harris' announcement today of a moratorium on logging on Bruny Island reinforces the need for an urgent cessation of logging of all swift parrot habitat throughout Tasmania,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said today.

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Tasmania’s first BioBlitz in the Tarkine!

Media Release 14.11.15

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Fungi in the Tarkine. Photo: Kate Case

Bob Brown Foundation will this week host Tarkine BioBlitz, a festival of science in nature, from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd November. 100 participants will spend 72 hours exploring biodiversity in the Tarkine, with visitors from interstate, Hobart and around the NW region of Tasmania. The BioBlitz is led by more than 15 expert scientists across the fields of ecology, taxonomy, botany and biology.

“Tarkine BioBlitz will be a fun and educational event where everyone can explore, learn and contribute to our knowledge of biodiversity. We will contribute a significant resource of biodiversity data and share knowledge in one of the last wild places on the planet, the Tarkine” said Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber.

“The Bob Brown Foundation is building a national and international campaign to bring forward the day when the Tarkine gets the respect, status and protection it warrants as a prime part of Australia's, and the world's, surviving cultural, natural and national heritage,” said Ms Weber.

“Science as a central component to this campaign, including addressing the knowledge gaps in records of biodiversity in the Tarkine region. Intensive field studies of two locations will be conducted in a coastal region and forest region” said Ms Weber.

“Bioblitzes are a recent innovation which blend the resources of institutions, experts and the public in order to rapidly generate large amounts of new and valuable biological information about a natural landscape or habitat. Biologists and taxonomists survey and report upon the animal or plant group of their special expertise. They achieve this with the assistance of the public who work under their direction in order to multiply the efficiency of data gathering in the field and laboratory,” said University of Tasmania’s Senior Lecturer in the School of Land and Food, Dr Peter McQuillan.

 “BioBlitzes have been successful in discovering both new species and rediscovering “lost” species” said Dr McQuillan.

Tarkine BioBlitz is one project that Bob Brown Foundation is working on to build the campaign to protect the Tarkine as a National Park and added to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Other campaign activities include a new bushwalking guide book to the Tarkine, our Tarkine in Motion arts project, a new Melbourne campaigner and office, an event at Melbourne Federation Square’s Deakin Edge on December 5th and ongoing research into the current logging threats to the Tarkine’s rainforests.  We are publishing a book called takayna makuminya / Tarkine Trails a 256 page bushwalking and rafting guide to touring the Tarkine that will be launched on Dec 11th in Hobart, Launceston and Melbourne.

CONTACT

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Plans to log Swift Parrot critical nesting refuge

MEDIA RELEASE 11.11.2015

Swift-Parrot-11172-small.jpgSwift Parrot. Photo: Eric Woehler

Bob Brown Foundation has today released images of the threatened forests on Bruny Island that are scheduled for logging by Forestry Tasmania. The Foundation is calling for an immediate ban on logging on Bruny Island. A recent Galaxy poll conducted by Bob Brown Foundation found that the majority of Australians support such a ban.

‘Forestry Tasmania has eleven areas of vital Swift Parrot breeding habitat scheduled for logging on Bruny Island. The areas of forest total 499 hectares. Five areas of forest are on Forestry Tasmania’s contingency list, including the controversial areas that were given back to the industry during the failed Tasmanian Forest Agreement and a controversial logging area near Inala Nature Tours on Bruny Island,’ Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

‘In Tasmania’s north west in the Tarkine we have recently witnessed the logging of forest that was on the contingency list so these coupes on Bruny are available for logging when needed,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘An area the size of Hobart’s Domain is scheduled for logging behind Adventure Bay from 2016 – 2018. Additionally on the Cloudy Bay side of Bruny Island, clear felling of 237 hectares is proposed in Swift Parrot and Wedge Tailed Eagle habitat,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Tasmania’s exemption from the EPBC Act under the Regional Forest Agreement to allow logging of endangered species habitat has been proved to be driving unique species to extinction and the now critically endangered listing of the Swift Parrot is an internationally embarrassing wake-up call for the Federal Government to remove the logging threat and ensure secure protection of habitat,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Our role as conservationists is to ensure the species that are losing their habitat have advocacy in the time when logging at any cost is carried out in Tasmania,’ Jenny Weber.

Contact Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

High resolution images and video available on request.

Images below by Bob Brown Foundation photographed in October 2015

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Photo: Warren Frey

Threatened forests on Bruny Island behind Adventure Bay – 199 ha of forests located in the background of this image are scheduled for logging.

 

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Photo: Warren Frey

Recently logged forests on Bruny Island SB017D behind Cloudy Bay, these forests were logged in 2015 and logging was suspended for Wedge Tailed Eagle breeding season due to two active eagle nests in the logging coupe. Forestry Tasmania plans to return to this coupe in February 2016 to resume logging.

 

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Photo: Warren Frey

Recently logged forests on Bruny Island behind Cloudy Bay SB017D and another 237 hectares of forests threatened by logging are pictured in this photograph are scheduled for logging in the next three years.

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Most Australians support ban on logging on Bruny Island

Media Release 10 Nov 2015

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Swift Parrot. Photo: Dejan Stojanovic

Bob Brown Foundation has called for an end to logging of all Swift Parrot breeding habitat and for these forests to be placed in National Park reserves.  

"Bruny Island is the Swift Parrots’ last safe substantial nesting place. We have released a national poll which found the majority of Australians support banning logging on Bruny Island," Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

"Swift Parrots cannot sustain any further habitat loss. Forestry Tasmania are scheduled to recommence logging on Bruny Island in February 2016 and it should be ruled out," Jenny Weber said.

Calling on the Federal Government to take action, Bob Brown said, "The Federal Government ultimately has responsibility for critically endangered species. I call on Prime Minister Turnbull to halt the logging planned by Forestry Tasmania on Bruny Island."

"Last week the Swift Parrot was listed as critically endangered by International Union for Conservation of Nature, which made recommendations that all places on public land that support Swift Parrots should be placed in secure protection. Important breeding habitat, ranging from the east coast to Wielangta and Bruny Island and down to the southern forests, needs to be put into secure reserves to remove the threat of extinction for the Swift Parrot," Jenny Weber said.

Support our campaign to save the Swift Parrot

Contact Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

Attached: Findings of national Galaxy poll (PDF)

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Swift Parrot. Photo: Henry Cook
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Australian University raised $400,000 from Malaysian kleptocrat

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Freedom of Information Act request forces Adelaide University to disclose Sarawak Governor Taib Mahmud’s donations to his alma mater – NGOs demand that Taib’s unexplained wealth must be paid back to Sarawak.

ADELAIDE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) Adelaide University has received donations of at least AUD $400,000 from Taib Mahmud (Taib), the current Governor and former Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Four donations of $100,000 each were paid to Taib’s alma mater in four instances between 1987 and 2006. This has been disclosed by Adelaide University under a Freedom of Information act request by South Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell.

Taib Mahmud, a highly controversial Malaysian politician, has been accused of embezzlement of state funds and is currently under investigation by Malaysia’s Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). His family’s assets have been estimated at several billion US dollars. In September, the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund disclosed that the Taib family had bought the Adelaide Hilton hotel for $28 million in 1993 through offshore trusts in the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands.

The newly disclosed papers are showing that the University actively raised funds with the then Sarawak Chief Minister and helped conceal the origin of the funds. On request of Taib, the University publicly stated the donations had been made by “Sarawak Alumni”. Part of the donations went into Adelaide University’s Centre for Environmental Law. In 1994, the University awarded Taib an honorary phD.

In 2002, Adelaide University’s then Chancellor, the Australian mining tycoon Robert Champion de Crespigny, planned to raise between $1 million and $4 millions from Taib Mahmud and offered the politician to name a University Chair after him. The University refused to disclose documents related to that fundraising effort and a planned trip by the Chancellor to Kuching, citing confidentiality obligations.

In 2008, Adelaide University volunteered to name a plaza on its premises the “Taib Mahmud Chief Minister of Sarawak Court”, obviously in the hope that Taib would make further donations. Vice-Chancellor Warren Bebbington refused to confirm if the $400,000 were the full amount Adelaide University had received or if Taib Mahmud had made further donations.

Call for full transparency and restitution of stolen assets

Jenny Weber of the Bob Brown Foundation called for Adelaide University to be fully transparent on its relationship with the Malaysian politician. “In particular, the University has to release the full correspondence regarding its 2002 fundraising effort with Taib”.

The Bruno Manser Fund’s Lukas Straumann said he expected the University to restitute the Taib donations to Sarawak: “These are stolen assets which Adelaide University never ought have accepted. This money is needed for rural development and the conservation of the rainforest and should be paid back.”

 

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

 

Attachments:

Freedom Of Information Determination, Uni of Adelaide 20 Oct 2015. (PDF)

The Bruno Manser Fund report "The Adelaide Hilton Case" - on money laundering in South Australia. (PDF)

 

See Also:

Corporate watchdog investigates Malaysian tycoon's family

 

 

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Bob Brown sends message of support to Tasmanian university students

Media Release 15 October 2015

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Bob Brown has called on his former political colleague and University of Tasmania Chancellor, Michael Field, to heed his very own students call and divest from fossil fuels.

This morning, Bob Brown has sent a message of support to the seven students who are peacefully protesting at the University of Tasmania administration building. Students have participated in a sit-in for the past 21 hours.

Dear Earth Savers at the University of Tasmania:

This is a heartfelt message of support for your stand.

Today's forecast 30 degrees Celsius in Hobart is no fluke. It is the first time in history that there has been three 29+ degrees days in the first half of October in Hobart. Why? Because humanity burns coal. So your call on Tasmania's premier institute of intellect to divest from backing coal mining and burning is powerful, true, and honest.

Greed is no substitute for integrity. The University should know better. Thank you for calling it out.

All power to your action!

Bob Brown.

 
For comment
Contact Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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2015 Environmentalists of the year!

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Friday 18 September 2015

The Bob Brown Foundation's four awards for Environmentalists of the Year will be announced in Melbourne this morning

ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR is famed Victorian campaigner for native forests and wildlife, JILL REDWOOD. Ms Redwood is the Coordinator of Environment East Gippsland (EEG).  The award is $5,000.

"Jill has put up with threats, intimidation and even the killing of her livestock, to bravely speak up for the forests. She has had a huge hand in greening the map of Victoria, including a pivotal court ruling against logging at Brown Mountain, and in protecting the habitat of endangered species like the long-nosed potoroo, glossy black cockatoo and Leadbeater's possum. This year her EEG won a reprieve for 2000 hectares of forest habitat for three species of owls. Besides her remarkable knowledge of the issues, Jill is a champion of organic food production, has a great sense of humour and is a fine role model for young Australian environmentalists," Bob Brown said.

The Foundation's YOUNG ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR is Aboriginal climate change campaigner AMELIA TELFORD, a 20 year old Bundjalung woman. Ms Telford, who joined the Australian Climate Change Network at school, currently lives and works in Melbourne.  This award is $2000 and is presented with the generous support of Patagonia.

"Amelia set up Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network to inspire and train young Aboriginal and Torres Strait people to become leaders in the campaign for a future world free of the menace of global warming. She was the 2014 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year and is a beacon of new hope for Australia's beleaguered natural environment," Bob Brown said. 

The DENI GREENE AWARD for a professional showing courageous, passionate advocacy for the sustainable environment has gone to DOMINIQUE HES, a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture at the University of Melbourne. Dr Hes is the co-author of 'Designing for Hope: Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability’. This award is $2000.

"Dominique Hes is an award-winning and inspiring teacher and practical advocate for environment-friendly homes, offices and buildings. This award commemorates the life work of my friend and late engineer, Deni Greene, who came to Australia from California to help save the Franklin River," Bob Brown said. 

COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT PRIZE:  This new award goes to the MAULES CREEK and GOMEROI COMMUNITIES, near Narrabri in NSW. More than 300 courageous locals and supporters, including farmers, church leaders, scientists, economists, an army veteran, sporting and music legends as well as campaigning environmentalists have been arrested for peacefully protesting Whitehaven's open-cut coal mining in the Leard State Forest. Whitehaven is lead by senior National Party figures.

"The Maules Creek protests have inspired communities around the nation as the onslaught of coal mining continues to roll over prime farmlands. The Gomeroi Aboriginal community has also made a legendary stand against political spinelessness, environmental corruption and the desecration of Aboriginal heritage - 12 of 13 special sites have been destroyed," Bob Brown said. An award of $1,000 is being presented to each community.

Former Leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, set up his action-oriented foundation for the environment following his retirement from the Senate in 2012. This is the fourth annual presentation of the environment awards and, for the first time, is being held in Melbourne. It will take place at the Queen Victoria Womens Centre, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne at 10am this Friday, 18th September.

 

Further information:
Steven Chaffer  0408 855 261

Environmentalist of the year: Jill Redwood

Young Environmentalist of the year: Amelia Telford

Deni Greene Award: Dominique Hes

Community Environment Prize: Maules Creek and Gomeroi Communities

 

The Young Environmentalist of the Year award is proudly supported by

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Author of Money Logging in Hobart to highlight Tasmanian connection to Asian timber mafia

11 Sep 2015

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Lukas Straumann, the Director of Swiss based NGO Bruno Manser Fund, is visiting Tasmania's forests today and speaking at a public event in Hobart tonight. Bruno Manser Fund is an international human rights and environmental organization that champions the rights of the indigenous peoples of Borneo.

Straumann will launch his book 'Money Logging', an investigative account of what former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called ‘probably the biggest environmental crime of our times’—the massive destruction of the Borneo rainforest by Malaysian loggers.

The Bob Brown Foundation welcomes this opportunity for a leading international organisation to present to Tasmania the controversial links we have with Borneo rainforest loggers.

 "In 2005 Bruno Manser Fund was contacted by Bob Brown and Adam Burling when the Sarawak logging company, Ta Ann, was awarded a lucrative deal for Tasmania's forests . Since then, we have worked with Bruno Manser Fund to oppose Ta Ann's practices in Tasmania and Sarawak, and exposed the exported corruption and rainforest devastation that Malaysia's Taib family, involved in Ta Ann, brings to Australia", Bob Brown Foundation spokesperson," Jenny Weber said.

Jenny Weber has accompanied Lukas Straumann in the past week, from Adelaide to Canberra, where Straumann released Bruno Manser Fund’s new report, 'The Adelaide Hilton Case – how a Malaysian politician's family laundered $30 million in South Australia'. The report exposes the corporate connections behind Sarawak's former chief minister, and now Governor, Taib Mahmud's company Sitehost, which owns Adelaide's $50 million Hilton Hotel.

In Hobart tonight, Straumann will shed light on the connections fostered by Australia on behalf of Sarawak's controversial figure Taib and his family.

“The timber barons of Sarawak have thrived under the Taib regime. At a breathtaking pace, they are decimating forests in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia. Ta Ann, which has close ties with the Taib family, plays a central role in the ­destruction of Tasmania’s natural forests," Lukas Straumann said.

“Of all the Malaysian timber corporations, Ta Ann has the closest ties with the Sarawak former chief minister. The company was founded in the ­mid-1980s by Taib’s cousin, Hamed Sepawi; the PBB politician Wahab Dolah (the PBB party forms Taib’s principal political power base); and the businessman Wong Kuo Hea. It was immediately granted huge logging concessions in Sarawak—and, of course, there was no such thing as a public call for open bidding. As chairman and principal shareholder, Taib’s cousin, Sepawi, is the strong man at Ta Ann. Insiders, however, suspect that Sepawi is merely a front man for Taib himself, who controls the corporation from behind the scenes,” Straumann said.


Public Event Tonight
6pm Gretel Room Elizabeth St Pier
Guest Speakers Bob Brown, Christine Milne, Lukas Straumann and Peg Putt.
A short film with images from Sarawak logging regions by Matthew Newton.


Media contact

Jenny Weber  0427 366 929

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