Greens say don’t protest for Tas forests

Issue 
Forest campaigners, July 19. Photo: Matthew Newton

Forest protesters disrupted work in the southern Tasmanian town of Esperance on July 16, disrupting operations of Malaysian logging company Ta Ann.

The Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) said 40 people occupied the logging area and one person held a tree sit, which was attached to the logging machines.

HVEC spokesperson Jenny Weber said: “Controversially Ta Ann continues to receive timber from old growth ecosystems, and this logging area is forest that was promised protection, and now tragically the ancient eucalyptus regnans and wildlife habitat is being lost.

“Despite the passage of new forest legislation in the Tasmanian parliament, new reserves are still being logged. This forest in Esperance with important ecological values is one area that was going to be protected, and logging has continued.

“Ta Ann is sourcing wood that comes from inside forests designated by law for future reserve protection. In the international market, Ta Ann continues to sell Tasmanian forest destruction.”

Several protests have been held in recent weeks and could threaten the forest “peace deal” that was signed between the logging industry and big environmental groups in April. As part of the deal, any “substantial active protest” could trigger either house of parliament to cancel the agreement and open the reserves for logging again.

Although the HVEC was not involved in the talks or a signatory to the deal, Greens leader Nick McKim has put pressure on them to abide by the agreement.

In a statement he said: “At this point in time this type of protest is unhelpful and potentially counter-productive to forest protection.

“The Greens hold to our long-held conviction that everyone has the democratic right to non-violent protest, however the political reality is that today’s action could threaten the fate of over 390,000 hectares of high conservation forests that are currently before the Upper House.”

Still Wild Still Threatened’s Miranda Gibson said: “This logging operation is clear evidence that the Tasmanian Forest Agreement has failed, as we continue to see Tasmania’s old growth ecosystems destroyed for corrupt companies like Ta Ann.

“It is completely unacceptable that this destruction is being endorsed by the signatories to the agreement and by our government. Grassroots forest advocates will continue to take action in the defence of our native forests.”

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