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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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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