Police broke up a peaceful blockade of an old growth forest logging operation at Granite Mountain in East Gippsland, Victoria, on January 31.
Conservationists from the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) established the blockade and for 10 days managed to prevent logging of an untouched area of old growth forest.
A man, known as Possum, who was suspended in a hammock hanging from a 10 metre tripod structure that blocked access to the logging site, was arrested. He was charged and will appear in Orbost Magistrates court in April.
GECO spokesperson Ed Hill said: “The forest here on Granite Mountain remains in an untouched state. Giant trees have survived here for centuries, and it’s a rare example of what Victoria’s forests were like hundreds of years ago. The trees in this forest are older than the state of Victoria. They are the heritage of all Victorians.
“Victoria is one of the most cleared states in Australia. These forests are globally significant and highly valuable environmental assets. To destroy them for low value wood and paper products is disgraceful.
“Logging in East Gippsland is driving endangered wildlife to extinction, destroying valuable carbon stores and losing up to $5.5 million of public money a year. This economically unviable industry is causing irreversible damage to our environment at a massive cost to the tax payer.
“The overwhelming majority of Victorians want to see Victoria’s forests protected in new national parks and reserves. The Andrews Labor government must act in the interest of all Victorians and immediately protect East Gippsland’s forests.
"These forests are what make East Gippsland so special. What we have here is incredibly unique. Old growth forests have been eliminated from so much of Victoria, to destroy what remains of these ancient forests in their last stronghold of the far east is recklessly short sighted policy.”