BY ALEX MILNE
MELBOURNE — Four-hundred people rallied at Parliament House on August 27 to demand that the Strzelecki forests be protected. Protesters called for the creation of a Strzelecki Ranges National Park. Greens senator Bob Brown addressed the crowd.
When the state Liberal government sold the logging rights to the area to the US-based John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company in the 1990s, it promised to protect "core areas and linked wildlife zones". Prior to its election in 1999, Labor leader Steve Bracks also committed itself to this. Neither the corporation nor the Labor government have kept their promises.
The "wildlife zones" are little more than remnants of native vegetation, surrounded by timber plantations laced with poison baits. Crystal clear streams have been turned a murky brown due to erosion. "Buffer zones" around rainforest pockets are woefully inadequate.
The Strzelecki forests are home to many rare and endangered species, including a highly endangered subspecies of koala.
From Green Left Weekly, September 3, 2003.
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