Media Release: Opening takayna / Tarkine tracks will be Tasmania’s Rio Tinto.

Bob Brown Foundation calls on Premier Gutwein to reverse plans to push ahead with allowing 4WD and off-road vehicles access to the Western Tasmanian Aboriginal Cultural Landscape (WTACL) in takayna / Tarkine.

“Premier Gutwein has time to stop this shameful push that will ruin this globally significant Aboriginal cultural landscape.   It's time to show respect, back off, and elevate protection of this special indigenous heritage above base politics,”  Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

“After the nation is reeling from outrage at Rio Tinto blasting of the 40,000-years-old Aboriginal site in Western Australia, Premier Gutwein has the opportunity to take leadership and halt the reopening of the tracks in takayna / Tarkine.  Otherwise this will be Tasmania’s Rio Tinto,’  Ms Weber said.

“Tasmania’s government’s plans to allow ongoing access will impact and cause irreparable damage to the ancient Aboriginal heritage, cultural and natural values.  It is a national shame to have vehicles smashing through one of Australia’s most significant and richest Aboriginal heritage landscapes, where critically endangered and other threatened species rely on an intact wild coastline for survival. These tracks need to stay closed,” Ms Weber said.

“It is high time this nation had Aboriginal heritage protection laws which gave Indigenous people a clear and unequivocal veto on projects which threaten their heritage,”  Bob Brown said.

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Media Release: Company eroding, not protecting, wilderness.

The Tasmanian Walking Company Foundation launched today should begin by honouring the concept of wilderness, Bob Brown Foundation said today.

“Mr Godfrey’s company cannot have it both ways: eroding the pure wilderness for which Tasmania is so famous while at the same time claiming charitable commitment to protecting it,” Bob Brown said.

“The company says its charity will promote ‘innovative programs that restore balance to threatened ecosystems while protecting vulnerable native animals and promoting sustainable use of wilderness areas.’ However, the invasion of national parks and World Heritage wilderness with helicopter-serviced luxury buildings - his concept of ‘sustainable use’ - destroys wilderness and wildlife habitat values. If it was promoting protection rather than profiteering from wilderness there would be more integrity in the proposal,” he said.

“Mr Godfrey would be more credible if he dropped the secrecy and revealed his applications to government for resorts in Tasmania’s national parks. Transparency would be a good beginning.”

“Our foundation has told Mr Godfrey it welcomes his support for the Tarkine being handed back to the Aboriginal community and being nominated for the World Heritage status it deserves. However, this welcome is not at the expense of protecting other wilderness areas from his invasive plans.”

“We have given Mr Godfrey a list of wild and scenic places where, with the purchase of freehold land, he could develop excellent tourism facilities.”

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Media Release: Brown calls for Royal Commission into Rio Tinto blasts.

Prime Minister Morrison should order a Royal Commission into the destruction of the globally-significant Juukan Gorge Aboriginal rock shelters in the Pilbara, former Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

“The fact that both the federal and Western Australian ministers charged with responsibility for Aboriginal culture and well-being knew that Rio Tinto was about to dynamite the 46,000-year-old shelters, but did not stop it, is a national tragedy,” Brown said.

“There are many more ancient Aboriginal sites threatened, from the Tarkine to the Galilee Basin to Karratha, and the destruction will continue while ever Indigenous communities can be bought off, split, worn down or deceived by corporations or individuals putting dollars ahead of the most ancient spiritual places in Australia.”

“The federal legislation is a toothless joke. It needs to have serious penalties, including jail, for executives and others who destroy or connive to destroy such sites.”

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Media Release: Six forest defenders in court over Tasmanian logging protests.

Six forest defenders appeared in Hobart Magistrates Court today, to face charges relating to protests in the north of Tasmania.

"These heroes represent the growing movement across Tasmania, and indeed the globe, calling for an end to native forest logging in this state. Bob Brown Foundation is committed to ongoing non-violent protests while this atrocity against nature, wildlife and the climate continues," said Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager.

The forest defenders who faced court are listed below:

Jarrah Keenan – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04) 
Anthony Buckingham – no conviction recorded and a $100 fine (plus court costs of $68.04 and victims of crime levy of $20)
Eva Davis-Jones – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04 and victims of crime levy of $20)
Samuel Pottenger – a conviction was recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04)
Imogen Romet-Smith – no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04 and victims of crime levy of $20)
Matthew Willes –  no conviction recorded and a $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04). For his second protest, a conviction was recorded and a further $200 fine (plus court costs of $68.04).

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Media Release: Forest Agreements Underpin Destruction of Wildlife Rich Forest Habitat

The landmark Federal Court decision in the case of Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum v VicForests is a huge win for the wildlife in Victoria’s forests.

“Regional Forest Agreements are underpinning the destruction of wildlife-rich forest habitat. The Victorian judgment draws attention to the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement’s failure to protect wildlife, economic and carbon values in native forests.

The Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement had an absurd clause inserted by Premier Paul Lennon and Prime Minister John Howard which states that endangered species are protected simply because the agreement says so. It is an Alice in Wonderland clause which, in Tasmania’s case, the Federal court upheld,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

“Sus Timbers Tasmania’s forest practices promote the decline of species such as the Swift Parrot and Tasmanian devil,” Jenny Weber said.

“Most Tasmanians are unaware that STT’s logging is driving species to extinction while exempt from the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.

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Media Release: Australia shamed by aboriginal site destruction:Brown.

Last week’s dynamiting of the 40,000-years-old Aboriginal site in Western Australia is a moment of national shame, former Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

“While some of the world’s most ancient human-made wonders, including a human hair plaited belt and a kangaroo bone tool, were removed from the site, the blasting of the rock shelters has destroyed forever the context in which the people who made them lived. This was a living-place going way back before the last Ice Age.

“Rio Tinto’s vandalism in destroying this part of global heritage deserves the worldwide condemnation it will get, but nothing can recover this lost place for the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura traditional owners. It is no wonder Aboriginal people feel the invasion has not ended - because it hasn’t,” Brown said.

“The most excruciating aspect of this heritage crime is the complicity of the state and federal governments from 2013 until 2020. They all approved. Such government-promoted vandalism of Australia’s human heritage is continuing at a monumental scale as with the creeping desecration of the world’s largest collection of ancient rock carvings at Marujuga, near Karratha, for the convenience and cost-cutting advantage of gas corporations including Woodside.”

“It is high time this nation had Aboriginal heritage protection laws which gave Indigenous people a clear and unequivocal veto on projects which threaten their heritage,” Brown said.

 

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Media Release: UPC's transmission lines herald a biodiversity catastrophe.

Federal government referral of the transmission lines to connect a controversial wind farm in a migratory bird pathway has revealed further threats to twenty two threatened species and 129 Aboriginal heritage sites as well as large scale clearing of rainforests and native forests.

UPC Renewables’ belated Federal EPBC referral of the first 115km section of their proposed high voltage transmission line has shown the company's greenwash claims to be empty.

“The proposed UPC Robbins Island wind farm is a biodiversity and heritage catastrophe in the planning. I find it hard to imagine how UPC could have found a more damaging project," said Bob Brown Foundation Campaigner Scott Jordan.

"The proposed transmission line will carve a seventy kilometre long, sixty metre wide swathe through carbon rich rainforest, wet eucalypt and blackwood forests. It will compromise threatened Black gum and Brookers gum ecological communities and six and a half kilometres of verified National and World Heritage value areas,” Scott Jordan said.

"UPC's own reports shows it may impact twenty-two threatened fauna species, three threatened flora species, five Tasmanian Geoconservation Sites and 129 registered Aboriginal heritage sites. All this on top of the migratory bird armageddon that is the wind farm itself,” Scott Jordan said.

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Media Release: Environmentalists rebuff Liberal attack

BOB BROWN FOUNDATION: “We will continue to act for Australia’s environment.”

Leading environment group, the Bob Brown Foundation, based in Hobart, says it will take on the Liberal Party’s campaign to suppress environmental action and debate. A junior Liberal senator, backed by power broker Eric Abetz, has renewed calls for the BBF to have its charitable tax-deductible status revoked.

BBF’s CEO Steven Chaffer says that other charities like Hillsong Church have tax-deductible incomes that dwarf that of the environment groups. He backed up the foundation’s high-profile campaigns to save Australia’s forests and wildlife saying that “a charity that politely sits on its hands, ignoring the very problem it was set up to address, is failing in its obligations to its supporters and the wider community.”

After months of staying home during the COVID-19 lockdown, while government exempted clearfelling and fire-bombing of Tasmania’s wild forests continued, BBF defenders stopped cable logging of a Mt Field forest, in central Tasmania, for two days, last week.

“Without that peaceful action, the Australian public would never have known that their forests and wildlife are being destroyed,” Mr Chaffer said.

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Media Release: Four arrests as forest defenders intervene against Wedge-tailed Eagle habitat destruction

Four people have been arrested today while protesting in forests north of Mt Field National Park, this area has two documented Wedge-tailed Eagle nests in adjacent forests. One of the people arrested, Ana Bursek, spent two nights atop a giant cable-logging machine.

“Anna Bursek’s two night sit atop a cable-logging tower to save Mt Field‘s eagles deserves an Order of Australia. Defending the nesting sites of Tasmania’s Wedge-tailed Eagles, the largest in the nation, is upholding the goals of environmental laws which Australian governments breach with outrageous indifference. Anna and fellow forest defenders, arrested today, have a regard for wild and scenic Tasmania entirely missing from the Tasmanian and federal cabinet rooms,” said Bob Brown.

Three of the forest defenders arrested today are concerned that Tasmania Police arrested them without giving warning to leave first.

“We were peacefully protesting today in logging coupe DU015A, providing ground support to a protester who was in a platform atop a cable-logger. We were also present in the same logging coupe yesterday and were asked to leave by police. There was no timeframe given on this directive to leave and we complied with police directions. During today’s protest, we were preparing to leave the protest site when the police suddenly and unexpectedly arrested three of us for trespassing. This is very unusual behaviour, and these arrests were completely unnecessary as we were already on our way out. Myself and the two other protesters were taken to the Hobart police station, all our phones and gear confiscated, and we were provided with bail conditions stating that we are not to enter or remain on any Sustainable Timber Tasmania land state-wide. We are committed to defending Tasmania’s native forests from destructive logging,” Dr Lisa Searle said.

“Intact forests remain standing in this coupe that is habitat for the endangered Wedge-Tailed Eagle and should be protected. An immediate moratorium needs to be put in place over all native forests in Tasmania and Premier Gutwein can take the opportunity to take real climate action and protect these wildlife-rich carbon stores,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

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Media Release: Tasmanian forests defended in an age of mass destruction.

Tasmania’s forest defenders have halted, at least temporarily, the total destruction of native forest and wildlife on the slope beneath Mt Field National Park. Cable logging has been destroying endangered Wedge-tailed Eagle habitat before the species’ breeding season will stop the logging due to two eagle nests in adjacent forests.

“In an age of mass extinction due to loss of habitat, this needless destruction is a crime against future generations,” Bob Brown said today.

“The courage of ordinary people going out to this wild place to stop the carnage has attracted wide public support and admiration - as have similar ongoing forest protests in Victoria and New South Wales. That a massive cable-logging machine has been stopped at Mt Field by a lone woman camped atop it overnight will draw more public sympathy. Our campaign asserts the public’s right to know that Tasmanians’ forests and wildlife are being pulverised at public expense for markets which could and should be supplied by plantation timber.”

“Logging of Tasmania’s irreplaceable native forests is certainly not an ‘essential service’ but has been continuing while the rest of the world has been in lockdown. We are now on day two of this blockade and will not leave until these horrific forest-destroying machines leave. We are a voice for these forests and wildlife-filled ecosystems and call for an end to native forest logging,” Dr Lisa Searle, forest defender on site, said.

“Clearfell cable logging stripping Tasmanian forests to bare earth will be followed by burning with a napalm-like substance dropped from a helicopter, shameful practices that are criminal in this climate and biodiversity emergency. Research shows that Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles don’t stray far from home and now these homes look out on a horror wasteland,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

“Premier Gutwein should intervene to protect these Wedge-tailed Eagle nests, and their environs, from being destroyed for no essential purpose. This is Australia’s largest bird of prey and our governments continue to destroy its unique forest habitat,” Jenny Weber said.

Meanwhile, seven forest defenders from earlier protests against destruction in takayna / Tarkine face the Magistrates Court in Hobart today. “These hearings should be about crimes against nature - that would have ministers and industry heads in the dock instead,” Jenny Weber said

Here is the government’s DPIPWE website information: Wedge-tailed Eagle - The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax fleayi) is an endemic subspecies and is listed as endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. It is included in the Federal list as an endangered subspecies. Why is it a threatened species here in Tasmania? The Wedge-tailed Eagle is listed as endangered in Tasmania for several reasons. The bird was listed as endangered due to a low number of breeding pairs, high rates of unnatural mortality, and loss and disturbance of breeding habitat.

 

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