A long way to go for Forestry Tasmania’s FSC bid, environment groups warn

MEDIA RELEASE  -  4th December, 2015

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A long way to go for Forestry Tasmania’s FSC bid, environment groups warn

Peg Putt and Jenny Weber are available for comment today on Parliament Lawns in Hobart, upon request.

The very issues that Markets For Change, the Bob Brown Foundation and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust documented and took FSC auditors to see in the field are those that have been identified as the key impediments to Forestry Tasmania achieving FSC certification, revealed today in a Government Business Enterprises Estimates Committee hearing in Hobart.

Forestry Tasmania has not gained FSC certification due to their ongoing clearfelling of old growth forests, logging of threatened species habitat including that of the Swift Parrot, and failing to identify high conservation values.

“Markets for Change, Bob Brown Foundation and Tasmanian Conservation Trust surveyed and documented the scientific and technical shortcomings of Forestry Tasmania’s logging when measured against the FSC standard for forest management and identified to the auditors the exact failings outlined to MPs by Managing Director Bob Annells,”  said Jenny Weber, Campaign Manager of the Bob Brown Foundation.

“In Tasmania we have logging of habitat of critically endangered species Swift Parrot, endangered species Wedge Tailed Eagles, Tasmanian Masked Owl, and Tasmanian Devil as well as the rare and vulnerable Spotted-tail Quoll to name just a small number, and ongoing clearfelling of old growth forests and logging of rainforests. These are not the type of logging operations that deserve accreditation.”

“There is a choice, continue logging threatened species habitat or witness their extinction,” Ms Weber concluded.

“An FSC certificate should not be granted to Forestry Tasmania unless and until Forestry Tasmania meet the criteria, which they still do not,” CEO of Markets for Change Peg Putt said.  

“It is a full year since FSC auditors came to Tasmania and quite rapidly told Forestry Tasmania of these major non-conformances, but much change is required and Forestry Tasmania is seeking to limit such changes by imposing limits on action they will take,” Ms Putt explained.

“They insist on prioritising maintenance of wood volumes over protecting threatened species and old growth so as to avoid reduction of logged volumes. This is not an acceptable approach for a modern, environmentally responsible company.”

“Telling the world that they will continue to inflict damage on old growth forests that conflicts with FSC requirements for another six months is not good news, its evidence that Forestry Tasmania is intending to wilfully continue the damage identified as unacceptable a year ago,” Ms Putt concluded.

Contact:
Peg Putt
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Bob Brown challenges Brett Whiteley to front up

Media Statement 3.12.2015

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Noting Brett Whiteley's parliamentary tour-de-force this week, Bob Brown has issued the following statement:

Brett Whiteley owes taxpayers far more than the Tarkine National Coalition ever could owe mining companies. Mr Whiteley and his party have lost more than $400 million of taxpayers' money, propping up the job-losing logging industry in Tasmania. More than 5000 jobs have been shed in recent decades. Then there are the vast sums of money (via tax deductions) the Liberals have moved into the logging industry through the disastrous forestry management investment schemes.

The question is: will Mr Whiteley start paying that back to Tasmanians by allocating 10 percent of his taxpayer-funded income, for starters?

Each year Mr Whiteley and his party put millions of dollars more of taxpayers' money into tax breaks and subsidies (for example, mining companies get a 38 cents per litre tax cut on diesel which ordinary people in Burnie, Devonport and Smithton don't get) into mining corporations to benefit  the pockets of interstate and overseas shareholders. Will Mr Whiteley put another 10 percent of his parliamentary income to help pay that loss off?

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (opposed by Whiteley) is now Tasmania's biggest international attraction and core to the tourism and hospitality industries which are creating many times more jobs for Tasmanians than mining and logging. Yet Whiteley also opposes the Tarkine winning this global status. He has consistently backed the wrong horse, using taxpayers' money. So picking on the Tarkine National Coalition for its recent court loss is self-invested hot air.

Is Mr Whiteley offering to be guarantor for Shree Minerals and Venture who have not yet proceeded with their proposals?

The Tarkine when protected will transform into the Northwest's own local superlative tourism drawcard. Brett Whiteley's opposition to it being nominated for World Heritage is holding back the region's economic and employment development.

He has challenged me in parliament. l test his courage outside the 'cowards castle' by challenging Whiteley to a debate in the public arena on this real and important issue of the Tarkine and its potential for all of Tasmania.

I might begin by asking him and the Liberals to pay up for mining and logging companies which have not met court or other public-burden costs in recent years. I will prepare a list.

Bob Brown.


Contact
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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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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