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A forest defender has today been arrested for trespass after attaching herself to a logging machine in forests being destroyed near Mt Field National Park. A second forest defender is still perched atop a cable logging machine in the forests after logging was halted today.
“I took a stand today to defend the last tracts of native forests in Tasmania. Cable logging is destructive for forests and water catchments. The forests we are protesting in have two Wedge-tailed Eagle nests and they are being stripped bare,” Sarah Van Est, arrested forest defender said today.
“Our Foundation has returned to frontline forest defence today to highlight the urgent need to halt destruction of remnant, wildlife-filled ecosystems. These are ancient forests that Premier Gutwein gave loggers free rein to continue smashing even though Tasmania has more plantations than required to meet all its essential wood needs. Native forests need urgent protection from logging and loggers can transition into jobs managing the forests for carbon storage and responsive roles in this age of a climate emergency such as elite fire-fighters,“ Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.
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Bob Brown Foundation has written today to Tasmania Police Commissioner, Darren Hine, seeking a meeting and indicating that we intend to press for a full investigation into reported incidents of alleged tree spikes in logs at the Karanja and McKay sawmills.
"We have a proud record of non-violent forest protest in Tasmania and unequivocally condemn the use of violence or the threat of violence. Our Foundation has today condemned this alleged incident without reservation," said Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager.
"We have written to the Police Commissioner to ask that any investigation looks at all possibilities as to who perpetrated this incident and not just listen to the logging industry and its supporters," she said.
"Bob Brown Foundation has been the direct and indirect target of the accusations relating to this tree spiking incident. As is always the case in Tasmania, the timber industry and political representatives of both the Government and opposition parties have been quick to point the finger at forest protesters in spite of the lack of evidence or any history of the use of tree spikes in Tasmania," she said
In Tasmania, there is a long history, spanning more thirty years of false allegations against forest conservationists ranging from planting a bomb (Black River 1993) to tree spiking and vandalism of machinery. All have been false. Where the perpetrators have been identified, motives have ranged from insurance fraud, infighting between contractors and disaffected forestry workers acting out of malice. In 1995 Superintendent Haldane from the Bairnsdale CIB in Victoria cautioned police officers against jumping to conclusions that environmentalists would be to blame for damage to equipment. In cases over recent years in Victoria concerning criminal damage to logging equipment, the guilty parties were rival logging contractors,” concluded Ms Weber.
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“Our Foundation has no knowledge of or involvement in this alleged incident. We are always non-violent in our defence of the forests and have been all our lives,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We are calling for a full and thorough police enquiry, including into the logging companies and any workers that may have been involved in this incident. This is a set-up.” Jenny Weber said.
“There have been similar previous claims but all turned out to be hoaxes. The most recent was when Premier Giddings had to apologise to me and fellow forest defenders in 2012 after accusing us of using tree spiking as a tactic in our campaign against native forest logging. In 1993 there was the notorious frame-up by pro-loggers who placed the so-called Black River ‘bomb’ on a railway track days before the federal election,” Jenny Weber said.
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Ten forest defenders are in Tasmania’s wild and scenic forests this morning to highlight the urgent need to end the destruction of remnant, wildlife-filled ecosystems. They have halted cable-logging on the north slopes below Mt Field National Park. One protester is perched on top of a cable-logging machine.
“Cable-logging these steep slopes strips them to bare earth. The forest is home to endangered wedge-tailed eagles and has two nests for these mighty species, Australia’s largest bird of prey,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“Premier Gutwein gave the loggers free rein to continue smashing Tasmania’s wild forests through this pandemic time, calling this destruction ‘essential’ work while locking up the forests from the public. Tasmania has more plantations than required to meet all its essential wood needs. This logging is not essential, but the native forests are - for the survival of species and mitigation of the impacts of this climate emergency,” Dr Lisa Searle said on-site.
“During this pandemic, we have done the right thing for the community and stayed home, but the loggers kept going. We have returned to put a spotlight on the loss of Tasmania’s precious forests. We are a voice for the forests and will continue to keep the public informed on what is happening to their forests,” she said.
“There can be better jobs managing the forests for carbon storage and responsive roles in this age of a climate emergency such as elite fire-fighters,” Jenny Weber said.
“World experts have warned of even more deadly and destructive disease outbreaks unless the destruction of the natural world is halted. Tasmania should follow New Zealand’s lead by protecting all native forests,” she said.
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For the second time in a week, a group of forest defenders have faced Hobart Magistrates Court relating to charges over logging protests.
Tania Wilby and Laura McKew received $200 fines each with no conviction recorded. Two other activists still await their hearing today.
"In the long tradition of non-violent action, these forest defenders stood up against the wrongs of our society, the destruction of Tasmania's native forests. These people should be applauded for their essential work highlighting the loss of irreplaceable ecosystems," said Bob Brown Campaign Manager, Jenny Weber.
"While the world shuts down during the pandemic, the logging of ancient forests continues. These brave heroes remind us that peaceful protests are still needed to highlight the crimes of industrial-scale logging in Tasmania," said Ms Weber.
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“Australia and the world retains a brilliant green legacy from the life of Jack Mundey. Jack’s ‘green bans’ combined environmental and social justice and gave rise to the name ‘Green parties’, from Germany to Australia, now transforming global politics,” Bob Brown said today.
“Jack was a thoughtful man who made a stand against the corrupt Twentieth Century politics tearing down heritage buildings and evicting poor people to build glass hotels and apartment buildings for the rich. His union’s ‘green bans’ captured worldwide attention. He was a peaceful and very courageous social revolutionary. He set a standard for the much greater social upheavals which the Twenty-First Century will see, as the climate emergency, overpopulation and the widening gap between rich and poor create turbulence and self-inflicted hardship on a finite planet unable to provide for everyone’s greed.”
“Jack was an inspiration for the successful Franklin River blockade in 1982.”
“The world has lost his presence but that inspiration will live on and be critical for the coming generations,” Brown said.
Bob Brown Foundation has welcomed the new report Recent Australian wildfires made worse by logging and associated forest management published in Nature journal on Tuesday. This report proves that recent Australian wildfires were made worse by logging and historical and contemporary logging regimes.
“Australia now has overwhelming evidence that logging of Australia’s native forests increases both the risk of and the severity of bushfire events. Australia needs to not only protect the vast intact native forest estate but restore degraded forests,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
The report by scientists David Lindenmayer, Robert Kooyman, Chris Taylor, Michelle Ward and James Watson found that ‘there is compelling evidence that Australia’s historical and contemporary logging regimes have made many Australian forests more fire prone and contributed to increased fire severity and flammability’.
The report also highlighted the mechanism by which logging incursions create conditions where ordinarily fire resistant rainforest and old growth forests are exposed to fire conditions that result in fires taking hold.
“This report should be a wake-up call for the Tasmanian government and governments across Australia. Business, as usual, will mean more wild areas lost, and more communities impacted by bushfire tragedy. We all have smoke detectors in our homes to alert us to fire risks. Well, these scientists are our community’s smoke detectors, and they are telling us that the native forest logging policies of successive governments are putting our communities and wild places at increased fire risk," said takayna/Tarkine campaigner Scott Jordan.
“Logging is occurring across Tasmania in valuable intact native forests right now while we are living in a climate emergency. In the past two years Australia has witnessed consecutive tragic extended bushfire seasons, firstly the Tasmanian southern forests fires in early 2019 and the devastating fires in Qld, NSW, Victoria and SA over the past spring and summer. Keeping Australia’s forests intact is even more important. Time is up for continuing to destroy critical carbon storehouses and wildlife habitat.
We know that it is imperative to protect and restore the integrity of native forests. Tasmania’s government can proudly protect and restore some of the most carbon-dense forests on Earth, handing global biodiversity and climate bank to future generations,“ Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“We are writing to the Premier today to share with him this important report, we are calling on the Tasmanian Government to act with all haste to exit the outdated native forest logging industry. Ending native forest logging will make our communities safer”, said Mr Jordan.
Copy of report here:
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Five forest defenders involved in non-violent actions protesting the destruction of Tasmania’s native forests, including rainforests in takayna / Tarkine, faced Hobart Magistrates Court today. Three had their cases dealt with this morning, with two still to be heard this afternoon.
Charges related to protests at the Sustainable Timbers Tasmania office in Hobart, defending the ancient forests of takayna / Tarkine and Wentworth Hills from logging and protesting at the Ta Ann Smithton mill. Dr Lisa Searle received a $1000 fine, Atalaya Ferrari was fined $400 and Dr Colette Harmsen $1000.
"I am a veterinarian dedicated to protecting wildlife habitat in Tasmania. Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Ta Ann are driving wildlife habitat destruction in Tasmania. I want all native forest logging to cease immediately. Ongoing native forest logging continues despite decimating habitat for many species of endangered wildlife.
“Ongoing loss and degradation of fauna habitat, especially clearing of high-value conservation forest, is one of the most significant threats driving fauna extinctions in Australia. I am committed to protecting the animals in Tasmania's forests because their voices cannot be heard," said Dr Colette Harmsen.
"Bob Brown Foundation remains committed to continuing peaceful protests in defence of one of the greatest treasures Tasmania has, its native forests. takayna / Tarkine is a remarkable and ancient landscape that is being destroyed for rainforest furniture, the modern-day ivory, wasteful woodchips and cheap plywood produced by Borneo logging barons, Ta Ann. Today, these brave forest defenders had their time in court, representing the vast majority of Australians who want these places protected," said Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber.
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Bob Brown Foundation will host a virtual event tomorrow night, Tuesday 5th May 7:30pm-8:30pm, to celebrate the anniversary of the groundbreaking Stop Adani Convoy. On May 5 last year thousands of people rallied on Parliament Lawns in Canberra after the Convoy arrived.
The virtual event will include the online release of the documentary CONVOY. The Foundation will host a live Q&A event online with Bob Brown, film director Matthew Newton, AdaniWatch investigator Geoff Law and Galilee Blockade organiser Ben Pennings.
CONVOY has screened across Australia at twenty sold-out venues. The film follows Bob Brown and the Stop Adani Convoy’s epic road trip from Tasmania to the Galilee Basin in Far North Queensland, a distance of over 3500 kilometres, to stop the development of the Carmichael coal mine.
"To celebrate the historic Stop Adani Convoy's first anniversary, we are proud to host a special virtual event which sees the online release of the film CONVOY and a live panel so people can dig deeper into the stories behind the epic journey and the ongoing campaign to stop the Adani Carmichael coal mine," said Jenny Weber.
"CONVOY is an intimate look at what it takes to undertake a major environmental act of defiance. It follows former Greens leader Bob Brown, and the many concerned Australians that join him, as he sets out on an epic road trip from Tasmania to the Galilee Basin in Far North Queensland, a journey of over 3500 kilometres, to stop the development of the Carmichael coalmine. People can now watch this film from the comfort of their lounge rooms, help us celebrate what was a truly remarkable event and learn how to get involved in the ongoing campaign to Stop Adani," said Ms Weber.
Further details on the event here:
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A beekeeper in Tasmania’s north west revealed today that yet another native forest has been destroyed for controversial Malaysian logging company Ta Ann, at the expense of the employment, climate security, tourism and food production benefits these ancient forests provide.
“The story of the forests north of takayna / Tarkine’s Arthur River, in coupe ME008B, is another tragedy in Tasmania’s ongoing logging disaster,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
ME008B is an ancient eucalyptus forest with mixed rainforest species.
Found only in Tasmania, Leatherwood is a cool temperate rainforest tree that occurs in mossy forests in the wetter areas of Tasmania. These ancient trees grew when Tasmania was part of Gondwanaland, over 65 million years ago. The leatherwood tree takes over 70 years to grow to nectar-bearing maturity. The bees that feed off the leatherwoods in Tasmania’s native forests are essential pollinators for the island’s fruit, cereal and vegetable crops.
“Despite these unique and ancient values of the leatherwood tree, Tasmania’s logging industry is still felling these trees and leaving them on the forest floor in their smash and grab destruction of forests that are critical to our survival and the survival of many species,” Jenny Weber said.
“Tasmania’s government consistently claims to balance the interests of other industries with logging, and yet the most valuable industry always falls second to logging. It happens with tourism and beekeeping and entrenches Tasmania in a state of destruction rather than ensuring economic growth and environmental protection,” Jenny Weber said.
“The government and their logging agency have learnt nothing about the value of leatherwood to Tasmania. ‘Log some and leave some’ is not acceptable. All tracts of leatherwood forest and native forests should be left standing. Tasmania’s logging is needless and harmful to Tasmania in so many ways,” Jenny Weber said.
“We look forward to a day when the protection of all leatherwoods and the security of our island’s food pollination from the leatherwood bee-keeping industry is valued more than the money-losing logging industry”, Jenny Weber said.