Goolengook forest blockade attacked

Issue 

BY GRAHAM MATTHEWS

MELBOURNE — The Victorian Labor government sent police and environment
department staff to dismantle the Goolengook forest blockade in East Gippsland
in the early morning on March 5. The blockade has been the longest running
in Australia. It celebrated its fifth anniversary on the evening before
the raid.

“This is Victoria's most spectacular and irreplaceable old-growth forest”,
Wilderness Society campaign manager Gavin McFadzean said. “It is a stronghold
for rare and endangered species including the long-footed potoroo, the
spot-tailed quoll and the powerful and sooty owls.”

Activists from Friends of the Earth (FoE) are organising an international
boycott of forestry products sourced from Victorian native forests. The
campaign will involve FoE networks in 66 countries, said FoE forestry spokesperson
Anthony Amis.

The attack on the Goolengook blockade comes less than two weeks after
the Victorian government announced a 43% reduction in sawlog licences in
the East Gippsland region. “Our fears are that Premier Steve Bracks' announcement
will not reduce logging, but simply increase woodchipping appear to be
confirmed”, McFadzean said. Old-growth forests are woodchipped and sold
for as little as 10 cents a tonne.

“How can consumers of timber products overseas trust our government
management of forests, when the state Labor government continues to log
old-growth and high-conservation value forests such as Goolengook?”, queried
Amis.

Amis said that unless Victoria's forest management and forest products
are independently assessed by the Forest Stewardship Council, the international
boycott will remain in place indefinitely.

From Green Left Weekly, March 13, 2002.

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