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“The CFMEU’s blockade of Bunnings will backfire by getting the public offside,” Environmentalist Bob Brown said today.
“By its ban on timber from wildlife-rich native forests in Victoria, Bunnings has shown how Australia can keep its forests but have plentiful wood from plantations to meet its timber needs. Bunnings is one popular winner here.”
“Michael O’Connor’s actions bring to the fore all the epithets the CFMEU has used against environmentalists defending forests – ‘job-killers’, ‘radical’ etc.”
“For every one of their callers to Bunnings favouring forest destruction we will get two, if not ten, to congratulate Bunnings,” Bob Brown said today.
“There’s an added problem for the CFMEU if they try this at Bunnings in Tasmania later this year. If the Gutwein new anti-protest laws pass the state parliament, O’Connor and his crew will be arrested and if they persist, face four years in jail,” Bob Brown said.
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"The cause of Australia’s rapidly deteriorating environmental indices is failure to uphold environment protection and biodiversity conservation. The Howard government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999, succeeded in failure because it had no policing of mandated protection.
To address this, Graeme Samuel’s Interim Report calls for 'an independent compliance and enforcement regulator that is not subject to actual or implied political direction. It should be properly resourced and have a full toolkit of powers.'
At the outset, Prime Minister Morrison and Environment Minister Ley have rejected this recommendation. Ditto for policing protection of Indigenous heritage. They want the failure to continue but in a less cumbersome form. They have pulled out Samuel’s incisors. Bring on weak, indeterminate National Environmental Standards (and Indigenous heritage ones too) and transfer all care to the states. This will ensure failure continues to succeed. Witness Howard’s regional forest agreements. In Tasmania, the RFA even set up a state-run Forest Practices Authority which has consistently ticked off on the logging and burning of wildlife-filled ancient forests, killing the habitat of every rare and endangered creature in them," said Bob Brown.
"Australia faces this question: are we prepared to stop developments which threaten the survival of our species and heritage - such as coal mines and clear-fell logging - or are we not? The ‘cutting of green tape’ process now under way makes it clear most Australians are not.
Let everyone, environmentalists included, be clear about this: the government has scuttled enforced environmental protection. Laws to protect public safety and halt corporate corruption come with watchdogs and police. However, the Morrison government’s new environmental laws will come with no teeth," concluded Bob Brown.
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“Australia’s Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley’s rejection of Graeme Samuel’s call for an environmental ‘cop’ is a ministerial green flag to environmental lawlessness”, Bob Brown says.
“Samuel found that Australia’s environment laws are ineffective. Ley is there to ensure they remain that way.”
“Ley says she’ll bring in new environment standards but won’t police them. No doubt the same will apply to Indigenous heritage - after consultations. This is like passing a Crimes Act but abolishing the police force. She is a lame duck minister.”
"The government and parliament are there to regulate the marketplace, the corporate sector in particular, in the public interest. Implementing standards but committing to not police them is sheer irresponsibility and sets a course for decades more community division and uproar over environmental crime", Brown said.
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Bob Brown Foundation has joined the campaign in NSW to urge the government to take immediate action to save koalas.
The Foundation’s first step will be an online seminar on Tuesday 21st July with NSW MLC Cate Faehrmann, koala rescuer Kai Wild and Dailan Pugh, long time forest defender with North East Forest Alliance
“Recent findings from the NSW parliamentary inquiry that koalas will be extinct in NSW by 2050 unless there is urgent action are damning. We are launching a campaign to join the environment groups already working to save koalas from extinction to pressure governments to carry out necessary protections,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
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The Bob Brown Foundation has slammed a new Weld River bridge near Judbury, built at great expense to the taxpayer. The money allocated to the bridge is in stark contrast to the non-funding of urgent repairs needed in the nearby Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area where popular tracks remain closed nearly two years after the 2019 bushfires.
“The Gutwein government has allowed Sus Timber Tasmania to waste at least half a million dollars on this bridge to log a handful of small coupes of forests over the next three years. The re-opened Weld bridge will add pressure on the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) as it struggles to manage illegal activities in the adjacent World Heritage Area. These activities have included a car pushed off Glovers Bluff and not retrieved, illegal off-road vehicles making the walking track to Fletchers Eddy on the Weld River a squalid mess and illegal logging for firewood,” Bob Brown Foundation's Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“The PWS is in dire need of funds - it can’t deal with the incursions in the Weld Valley. It has been effectively gutted by successive governments. It should be one of the best funded departments in the state and not trying to make do with a relative pittance,” Jenny Weber said.
“The original Weld River Bridge caused great controversy. It was built after the Tahune Airwalk to divert logging trucks out of the tourists’ sight. Tahune should be made the gateway to the World Heritage Weld Valley and native forest logging removed from the landscape. Regardless, this bridge is a white elephant,” Jenny Weber said.
“Given their huge carbon storehouse, wildlife habitat and tourism potential, Tasmania’s native forests should be transferred to PWS.”
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Bob Brown Foundation is calling for urgent action from the State and Federal Government to protect the critically endangered Swift Parrot and all its habitat.
“Tasmania is down to the last remnants of Swift Parrot habitat and the logging of this critically endangered species habitat is not stopping despite the urgent need to curb the species decline to extinction,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.
“Tasmania’s logging agency should have released a logging plan in 2020 that removed all native forests from logging, including the habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recommended such logging stop five years ago when it listed the parrot as critically endangered,” Jenny Weber said.
“The Tasmanian Government is choosing to catapult the fastest parrot on Earth to extinction. The relentless logging of Tasmania’s southern forests for woodchips and timber is driven by the requirements of the controversial Borneo logging company Ta Ann,” Jenny Weber said.
“Today’s attention to the 2019 logging of vital Swift Parrot habitat in forest coupe DN007C west of Judbury and neighbouring proposed logging of DN007B is a shameful example of Tasmania’s logging agencies logging Swift Parrot habitat despite written formal advice by experts that these forests are critical to Swift Parrot survival,” Jenny Weber said.
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Sus Timber Tasmania has released a three year wood production plan that spells large scale destruction of native forests across Tasmania. The plan has 417 new logging coupes in native forests at a time when native forest logging needs to end due to its contribution to the climate and biodiversity crisis. Including Tasmanian Government target of the northeast with forest destruction and wildlife loss in new logging plans.
The Tasmanian government policy is to increase native forest logging in Tasmania.
“There needs to be a zero-year wood production plan for Tasmania’s native forests. In this era of mass extinction and the climate emergency, all native forests need urgent protection from logging,” Jenny Weber said.
“Habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot remains on the logging schedule, five years after IUCN recommended all public lands that support the Swift Parrot need to be in secure conservation reserves for its survival,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.
“Clearfelling of ancient forests, cable logging on steep slopes, new roads into pristine forests and logging of endangered species habitat is on the government plans for forest and climate devastation. Rainforest and native forest logging at a time when reversing impacts on climate is necessary not increasing damaging impacts. While Sus Timber Tasmania has scheduled more than 5000 hectares of old growth forests to be logging, the older the tree, the greater its potential to store carbon and slow climate change,” Jenny Weber said.
“While our Foundation is analysing the logging plans we have noticed a temporary reprieve for significant areas of forests in the Tarkine where our protests have taken place in the last five years. Rainforests and ancient forests have been removed from the logging schedule in the Tarkine’s Sumac, Frankland river and Rapid river areas.
However, logging remains a looming threat for other world heritage value rainforests and ancient eucalyptus forests in the Tarkine. We will turn our attention from the proposed logging road in Sumac forests where hundreds of citizens have camped, defended and protected forests from logging to these other locations, such as a new ancient Tarkine forest targeted for logging where a new 2km road is proposed into pristine forests at Mt Bertha. Elsewhere in the Tarkine three rainforest areas are on the logging plans,” Jenny Weber said.
“Citizens who have been on the frontline in the Sumac, Rapid river and Frankland river forests can be confident they helped our Foundation see these forests left standing, and now they are too high in the public’s regard to handle. As it is too contentious to log and the forests are not necessary to meet wood demands then these ancient Tarkine forests should be put immediately into formal protection,” Jenny Weber said
We have more work to do to make all native forests too hot to handle and we will continue to ramp up our campaign to defend and protect the rainforests of takayna / Tarkine and native forests all over Tasmania,” Jenny Weber said.
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Today, Bob Brown Foundation has established an Esperance Forests Defenders occupation in an area threatened by logging behind Dover, in Tasmania's south.
Twenty people are occupying the forests with tree-sits scattered through the canopy and ground-based flora and fauna survey sites.
"The fact that these native forests are threatened by logging is exactly why native forest logging needs to end in Tasmania. They are rich in wildlife, are contiguous with the current World Heritage Area and contain large tracts of old growth forests," Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We have documented a range of species in the area including endangered Spotted-tailed Quolls on fauna cameras and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. These forests have great stands of ancient hollow-bearing trees which are slated to be logged. This is a globally rare climate storehouse, contiguous with pristine tracts of World Heritage forests,” Bob Brown Foundation Action Organiser Erik Hayward said.
"We are going to carry out these roving occupations throughout Tasmania’s threatened forests as part of our campaign calling for an end to native forest logging. We will defend this place from the chainsaws which are set to come at any time," said Mr Hayward.
"These forests need secure protection from logging as the global climate and biodiversity crisis demands urgent protection of all intact native forests,” Ms Weber said.
“Our campaign to defend and protect native forests will engage citizens to occupy threatened forests and expose the vast areas of wildlife rich forests which are slated for logging," said Ms Weber.
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Bob Brown Foundation will host a virtual arts and activism festival this weekend to highlight threats from logging, mining and Aboriginal heritage destruction in Tasmania’s takayna / Tarkine and inspire action for protection of one of the world’s last wild places.
The Friday night opening gala event includes guest musicians:
Neil Murray, founding member of Warumpi Band, APRA Award winner and composer of the Australian classic 'My Island Home.'
Shane Howard, singer-songwriter and guitarist. Shane was the mainstay of folk rock group Goanna, known for their indigenous rights song 'Solid Rock.' Shane is an accomplished solo artist and environmental activist.
Adalita Srsen, solo artist and founding member of the rock band Magic Dirt. Adalita has been at the core of Australian independent music for decades. Adalita is a long term Bob Brown Foundation supporter and environmental activist.
Jim Moginie is a founding member of Midnight Oil as their guitarist, keyboardist and leading songwriter. Jim has worked and performed with many notable musicians from Australia and New Zealand, including Silverchair, Sarah Blasko, Neil Murray, Kasey Chambers and Neil Finn.
Spread across three days, the event will bring together international, national and local artists for a broad range of workshops, panel discussions, artist talks and film screenings.
Twenty-three panellists will join hundreds of people online to learn skills for using art in activism from a range of acclaimed artists from states all over Australia and Colorado, USA. More than 500 people are attending the online event from across Australia and around Tasmania.
“Art has always played a vital part in our campaigns, and so when our annual arts field project, Tarkine in Motion – Australia’s biggest environmental art event – was postponed this year due to COVID19, we transformed the event into an online festival of art for nature,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We are gathering artists to share their activism in defending planet Earth. This event provides an opportunity to discuss the role of art in our campaign to save takayna / Tarkine,” Jenny Weber said.
Panelists over the weekend range from local north west Tasmanian artists to award-winning artists in their field, including acclaimed author Favel Parrett, Tasmanian photographers Matthew Newton and Paul Hoelen, international photographer Bill Hatcher and local north west artists Laura Gillam, Zoe Grey and Tim Cooper, who have grown up in and around takayna / Tarkine.
“Using art for change is one way our Foundation campaigns for protection of takayna / Tarkine, showcasing the beauty, fragility and devastation of the place. Art records action and the brave hearts who commit their lives to defending takayna / Tarkine. We have shared takayna / Tarkine with thousands of people in exhibitions, films, books and advertising campaigns using art from Tarkine in Motion,” Jenny Weber said.
“Half a million hectares in takayna / Tarkine, including the largest temperate rainforest is Australia, many rare and endangered species and the National Heritage listed Aboriginal heritage landscape on the coast, urgently needs secure protection in a World Heritage listed National Park, returned to Aboriginal ownership,” Jenny Weber said.
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Today’s formula to deregulate environmentally-harmful impacts of major projects shows Prime Minister Morrison as an environmental smasher, Bob Brown said in Hobart.
“For example, the Marinus undersea cable linking Tasmania to the mainland will promote mega wind turbines regardless of Tasmania’s needs and have huge impacts on wild and scenic Tasmania, its bird life and other wildlife habitat. But PM Morrison’s plan is to ignore those impacts and barge ahead regardless. For Scott Morrison, this sixth age of mass extinction does not exist. He is oblivious to his own huge responsibilities for the environment which our children are about to inherit.”
“Private enterprise should be shouldering the cost of this job-sparse project but Morrison is having the taxpayers fund it while sweeping aside the same taxpayer concerns for the environment. Tasmania has more energy than it can use already and needs Marinus like a hole in the head: this project already has communities up in arms here. But the Morrison bulldozer is about to roll over every Tasmanian citizen’s concern. What hope the Wedge tailed Eagles and migratory birds headed for extinction?”