Bob Brown Foundation joins international organisation Bruno Manser Fund to track Sarawak corruption

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Bruno Manser Fonds www.bmf.ch

In a report by the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund, Australia has been implicated with the activities of Sarawak's multi-billionaire Taib family.

The Australian Government has funded the logging practices of Ta Ann in Tasmania's native forests. Ta Ann is one of Sarawak’s biggest timber companies and is Taib family-owned.

'Now comes these allegations by Bruno Manser Fund about another branch of the Taib family exporting its ill-gained wealth to Australia through the purchase of the Adelaide Hilton.

‘The Bob Brown Foundation is calling on the Australian Government to pursue full disclosure of the alleged money laundering activity by the politically prominent Sarawak entities as revealed by Bruno Manser Fund’s  report into the Adelaide Hilton case,’ Jenny Weber said.

'Australia needs to investigate these allegations of money laundering, tax avoidance and corruption. It should ensure higher levels of transparency in the activities of the Taib family in this country,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘The Australian Government watchdogs have shown a reluctance to crack down on international tax avoidance and corruption by wealthy private companies and individuals in favour of facilitating business. Yet the Malaysian state of Sarawak has been an epicentre of corruption, displacement of indigenous peoples, abuse of human rights and globally significant deforestation’, Jenny Weber said.

‘The money trail from Sarawak’s relentless logging industry and dam-building expansion needs to be questioned with rigour in this country,' she said.

Contact

Jenny Weber 0427366929

The Bruno Manser Fund report is available for download here.

The Bruno Manser Fund press release is available for download here.

The South Australian Greens press release is available for download here.

 

 

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Australia’s relentless corporate welfare to Malaysian logging company as new forest mill opens in Tasmania

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Ancient rainforest on the banks of Huskisson river. Photo: Jenny Weber

Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber has expressed alarm for Tasmania’s threatened rainforests of the Tarkine, and criticised the company Ta Ann for appalling logging practices that are un-sustainable, “Ta Ann’s new plywood mill in north-west Tasmania is another very controversial foothold by the Sarawak timber company in Australia.  Ta Ann has today opened a second mill on the doorstep of the largest tract of temperate rainforest in Australia, Tasmania’s Tarkine. More than 400 hectares of ancient forests are scheduled for logging in the Tarkine region to supply Ta Ann in the next three years.”

“We are very concerned about the supply of timber to this new mill, sourced from logging high conservation value forests, not only in the Tarkine, and other contentious logging areas elsewhere in Tasmania. These are forests with critical habitat for endangered species, storehouses of carbon that can reduce climate change impacts if left intact and unique natural ecosystems with value far greater than lost to the taxpayer subsidised logging industry,” Jenny Weber said.

“There is also a lingering question over whether timber will be supplied to this mill from tropical forests of Borneo. When Senator Eric Abetz visited Sarawak in recent years on behalf of Ta Ann, he told indigenous Penan people that they should support Ta Ann and a new mill in Tasmania would not be able to be supplied by Tasmania’s forests alone and so they will get the timber from Sarawak to feed the mill.  These Penan people of Sarawak are protesting the proposed logging of their native customary lands by Ta Ann, while an Australian Senator acting on behalf of the logging company is a proponent for destruction of their livelihoods,” Jenny Weber said.

Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber is also critical of the relentless corporate welfare by the Australian and Tasmanian Government’s financial prop up of a multi-million dollar Malaysian logging company.

“Australia has shamefully ushered in Ta Ann, with more than $40 million taxpayer funds since opening, now with two forest destroying mills in Tasmania’s North West and one mill in the South that have been built with taxpayer donations. The Australian Government was wrong to fund Ta Ann’s third timber mill with $7 million, as they are one of Sarawak’s six largest tropical timber conglomerates that is responsible for wholesale destruction of Borneo’s rainforests and indigenous people’s livelihoods. This is another appalling act of corporate welfare at the expense of wide-spread forest loss across Tasmania to a multi-million dollar Malaysian timber giant owned by one of the world’s richest men, Hamed Sepawi,” Jenny Weber said.

“By feeding this new controversial Ta Ann mill, Australia is poised to experience ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s unique ancient forests of the Tarkine, Bruny Island and other high conservation value forests for this mill, while also threatening the livelihood of people reliant on forests resources and destroying biodiversity in Borneo’s last rainforests. This is a shameful development for a tainted future of Australia’s forest industry,” Jenny Weber said.

Contact
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Abbott sabotaging your future Brown tells young Australians

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott's green "sabotage" charge is a highly-irresponsible failure to defend Australia's system of law and order, environmentalist and former Greens leader Bob Brown said in Melbourne today. It is the PM who is sabotaging Australia's future, Brown said.

Addressing 300 teenagers at a conference on social responsibility, Brown said that they were living through the most ecologically illiterate and irresponsible Prime Ministership in modern Australian history. "Mr Abbott's Minister for the Environment has bungled the Adani coal mine process and the court found him out. The Prime Minister is driving a trenchantly anti-environmental course highlighted by his re-iteration just last month that loggers are Australia's genuine environmentalists. Abbott's anti-green mantra is based on fabrication and illusion about the real environmental crises and economic options facing Australia and the planet."

The Adani coal mine project threatens the extinction of species, an injection of billions more tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and damage to both Aboriginal and European heritage in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.

"I challenge Abbott to justify this in real terms - he is wrong on the environment, wrong on his claim of 10,000 jobs and wrong in saying the mine is needed to give 100 million poor Indians electricity. This is the PM who is proud to have cut billions of dollars out of Australia's already-low overseas aid budget. His claims are as duplicitous as they are simply wrong.

Brown said that Abbott's measure of Hunt's success in terms of billions of dollars of developments ticked off by the minister, rather than any environmental advance for Australia, underscored the bankruptcy of his thinking.


Contact
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Protecting rainforests from logging is overdue in Tasmania

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Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Photo: Dan Broun

Logging has no place in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area and UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee agrees.  Despite this, Tasmania’s Labor Party and Australia’s Liberal Government want to push ahead with it,” The Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber stated.

 The Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber has queried the environmental credentials of the Labor Party whose position on logging contradicts the recent UNESCO World Heritage Committee decision.

“Community members look to Government to accept and adhere to responsibilities that State Parties have to the World Heritage Convention, including protection of natural values, today they are being let down by both the Labor and Liberal parties who are failing to commit to protecting the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area for future generations,” Jenny Weber said.

“Nobody is more responsible for the wasteful logging and burning of ‘specialty’ timbers over the past decades than Tasmania’s Labor Leader Bryan Green.  The ALP’s support for Liberal Government plans to log the World Heritage Area will subject the globally significant forests of the Upper Florentine, Styx and Weld Valleys to logging practices that will damage their outstanding universal values.”

“We have big problems in Tasmania where logging rainforests for ‘specialty’ timbers is every day practice in unprotected regions of significant forests such as the Tarkine, home to Australia’s largest tract of cool temperate rainforests. The only thing rare and special about rainforest timbers are the rainforests they are being cut from. Logging large swathes of forests in Tasmania and leaving rainforest timbers to burn in after-logging burns by Forestry Tasmania has been a shameful practice for far too long and protecting rainforests from logging is long overdue,” Jenny Weber said.

Contact
Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Greens Senator, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Musicians & Environmentalists join for Tales of threatened Tarkine in Launceston

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Tasmania’s Tarkine will be the topic of a public event in Launceston this Saturday night, as Australian Greens Senator Peter Whish Wilson, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Adam Thompson and prominent campaigners come together to talk about the threatened landscape and the campaign for its secure protection.

Emma Anglesey who toured with Guy Pearce last year and played with Katie Noonan in Launceston last week for Festival of Voices will perform at the event along with Launceston's Jyun Yyan Ng on the shakuhachi. 

Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber “Tasmania’s Tarkine is one of the world’s last wild places and the remarkable natural and cultural values of this region need to be preserved for future generations. At the Bob Brown Foundation we are campaigning for a Tarkine National Park and World Heritage listing for 450 000 hectares, touring our Tarkine Tales events is one way that we can engage and inform people in the community to call for the Tarkine protection.’

Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson will be a guest speaker on Saturday night, “I recently visited the Tarkine and saw what looked like deliberate vandalism of areas of cultural significance to the Aboriginal community that had been fenced off. Off-road motorists are taking down protective fences to ride roughshod over Aboriginal middens.  While Will Hodgman turns a blind eye to policing this area, while no people are being fined for this kind of transgression, we essentially have state-sponsored vandalism of our precious cultural heritage in Tasmania," Senator Peter Whish Wilson said.

Tarkine National Coalition’s Scott Jordan also speaking at the event states, “The Tarkine is a collection of ancient and magnificent landscapes that feed the souls of those fortunate enough to witness it’s majesty. Our tale is of the struggle to protect this remarkable place.”

The Bob Brown Foundation is hosting a series of events about the Tarkine, with guest speakers, live music and photographic presentations, called Tarkine Tales. Integral to our campaign to protect the Tarkine is to host public talks for the community to hear tales from the advocates past and present working for protection of this wild place, see images of the Tarkine and help raise funds for the Foundation’s Tarkine campaign.

This Saturday night, in Launceston, our third event in this series will hear from guest speakers, Senator Peter Whish Wilson, Tarkine National Coalition’s Scott Jordan, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Adam Thompson and Emma Anglesey.

Tarkine Tales in Launceston will be held this Saturday night 25 July, starting at 6pm, at Sawtooth Ari at Level 1, 160 Cimitiere St.

 

Contact: Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Forestry Tasmania Lockout

Conservationists are calling for an immediate halt to planned logging as Forestry Tasmania conducts a lockout on a main tourism route Arve Rd near Geeveston in southern Tasmania for the next six weeks and log ancient forests surrounded by five registered giant Eucalyptus trees.

Bob Brown Foundations Jenny Weber states, ‘Forestry Tasmania is closing Arve Rd tomorrow, locking out access to the Hartz Mountains National Park, Tahune Airwalk and Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Picton River, Farmhouse Creek and the upper Huon River, while foolishly logging a region of globally unique towering giant trees.’

‘Premier Hodgman is putting logging ahead of tourism. We call for a halt to logging of this forest. Tasmania’s community would benefit from protecting this threatened forest as the five registered giant trees are located right alongside a main route used by tens of thousands of tourists. These forests surround by giant trees provides an ideal opportunity for a giant tree bushwalk in intact forest rather than another outrageous case of logging the scenery,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘This shows how absurd is Forest Minister Paul Harris’ claim that logging and tourism work together,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Forestry Tasmania is using extreme logging practices such as cable logging on steep slopes, and clear felling in old growth forests. Worse still the majority of the forest will end up as woodchips, and this contentious timber will supply the controversial Sarawak logging company Ta Ann, what an appalling waste of Tasmania’s unique forests,’ Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber concluded.

Background Briefing & Images attached as PDF

High Res Images of the threatened forests available on request

CONTACT
Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Brown Reconsiders Inquiry After Christensen Brag

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BROWN RECONSIDERS INQUIRY AFTER CHRISTENSEN BRAG

Former Greens Leader Bob Brown says he is reconsidering appearing before the parliamentary inquiry into tax-deductibility when it sits in Hobart next Tuesday.

"George Christensen's brag that environment groups will, unlike environment-damaging corporations, lose their tax-deductible status after the committee reports makes a nasty farce of the whole process," Brown said.

"Christensen makes it clear he is speaking for the majority government make-up of the committee. It is now to be seen as a kangaroo court. This presents a problem for witnesses: should they appear and so endorse such a farce?"

Brown, who is visiting Bruny Island today where the endangered Swift parrot nesting sites are logged, said the committee should dismiss Christensen if it was to go forward with public confidence.


Media contact:

Jenny Weber  0427 366929.

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No World Heritage Logging Will Take Place

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Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Photo: Dan Broun

The Bob Brown Foundation has rebuffed Senator Richard Colbeck's contention that logging of rainforest in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is reasonable or permissible.

"The global reaction to taking bulldozers and chainsaws into World Heritage rainforests in Tasmania would damage the domestic and international image for wild and scenic beauty which has become pivotal to our economic and employment well being. Sacrificing tourism promotion to logging would be a public interest disaster," Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager, said.

"The rainforest timber industry has been grossly mismanaged for years with millions of tonnes logged and burned in regeneration burns while those now advocating logging in the World Heritage Area clapped it along. There has been no stronger advocate for the historic waste and destruction of industrial logging in Tasmania than Senator Colbeck,' Jenny Weber said.

"The only thing special about 'specialty timbers' is the protected rainforests that they come from, World Heritage listed rainforests that need to remain intact. The shameful disregard of millions of tonnes of rainforest species burnt over the years was met by silence from today's rainforest logging advocates, and ancient rainforest tracts protected as World Heritage are off limits as it should be," Jenny Weber said

Contact
Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Lincoln Siliakus, environment legal expert, has died

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Lincoln Siliakus, 2012 - Photo: Jim Budd

Lincoln Siliakus, the lawyer who set up the legal fund and advised the Tasmanian Wilderness Society through the Franklin River blockade in Tasmania in 1982-3, and then the Franklin Dam High Court case, has died in Paris.

"Lincoln, working with Pierre Slicer, played a pivotal role in the Franklin campaign which, in the end, turned on legal arguments. He also helped organise the pro-Franklin public gatherings outside the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Paris which decided, on 13 December 1982, to list the Tasmanian Wilderness as World Heritage. He has a very important place in the history of Australian environmental protection", friend and fellow environmentalist Bob Brown said today.

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Lincoln Siliakus, front left and front right Norm Sanders, during Franklin River campaign. Photo: Ross Scott


Alec Marr, who as CEO of the Wilderness Society worked more recently with Lincoln recalls: "Lincoln and Christine Milne together and unaided stopped the Australian Government from watering down the World Heritage Convention Operational Guidelines in 2003. Had the government succeeded, it would have opened all World Heritage sites around the world to massive developments such as mining operations."

Also after the Franklin campaign, Lincoln Siliakus played a huge role in the listing or protection of other Australian World Heritage properties including Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Wet Tropical Rainforests of Queensland. He was most recently at Doha in 2014 to help in the successful effort to stop the Abbott Government from having a large part of Tasmania's World Heritage forest from being delisted and logged.

Siliakus was educated in Adelaide and became a wine connoisseur.

"Lincoln died of a short illness. Our condolences go to his wife Anne in Paris," Bob Brown said.


Photo Credits

1.      Lincoln Siliakus 2012
2.      Lincoln Siliakus, front left and front right Norm Sanders, during Franklin River campaign

Higher Resolution images available.


Contact:

Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Festival of Voices concert promotes the plight of Tasmania’s Tarkine

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festivalofvoices.com

The Peacock Theatre at Salamanca Arts Centre Hobart TAS on Wednesday 8 July 2015 – 7:30PM

Tarkine Commotion, a once only show for Tasmania’s Festival of Voices, is a collaboration of singers, musicians, photographers and videographers from The Bob Brown Foundation’s Tarkine in Motion collaborative environmental art project.

This Wednesday 8 July at the Peacock Theatre, twenty four performers will showcase their collaborative production of nineteen new original compositions for Tarkine Commotion.

The BBF Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said, ‘Our Tarkine in Motion initiative aims to expose the globally significant natural and cultural heritage that is threatened in the Tarkine through many mediums including concerts and exhibitions. This Festival of Voices concert will offer the audience a unique opportunity to hear sounds direct from the place, inspired lyrics written and music composed in the place, expressed with the voices of many, it will be a portrait of one of the last great wild places on the planet, Tasmania’s Tarkine.’

Environmentalist and former Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown believes that Tarkine in Motion is the perfect medium to showcase this remote, rugged and spectacular region to the rest of Australia.

 Creative Development Director Deborah Wace stated, ‘This performance offers an insight into the creative process of 70 artists inspired by the power and wonder of this unique ancient and wild landscape. The songs in our concert, Tarkine Commotion, represent a body of work to celebrate, mourn and protect this precious place.’

Sydney Actor and NSW Australia Day ambassador Simon Westaway will be one of the performers in Tarkine Commotion. Westaway joined the Tarkine in Motion project in April, stating “The success of Tarkine in Motion reveals that eco-tourism with the attraction of artists and likeminded people has potential for economic benefit for localised regions like the Tarkine and the state of Tasmania, rather than depending on crashing business engines like mining and forestry.”

Tarkine in Motion was held in early April 2015, 70 artists spent 72 hours in the remote Tarkine in North West Tasmania, capturing the wild and scenic beauty of this threatened landscape. Tarkine Commotion is the second event to be produced from the project, after a very successful photographic exhibition was held in May in Sydney as part of the Head On Photo Festival.

For media inquiries, images or interviews with Bob Brown, Deborah Wace and Simon Westaway, contact Jenny Weber, Campaign Manager on 0427 366 929 or email jenny@bobbrown.org.au

 

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