Support is continuing to grow for the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy, in south-western Victoria, in the face of police threats. The protest camp was set up by Traditional Owners to defend sacred lands under threat from a highway duplication project that will cost $672 million to save motorists an estimated three minutes of travel time.
The struggle to defend a 200-hectare forest has sparked Germany’s biggest environmental protests for at least a decade.
The Hambacher Forest (aka “Hambi”) is the last remaining corner of a much larger area of woodland that has been eaten up by a huge open-cut lignite mine, owned by European energy giant RWE.
Lignite is the dirtiest form of coal in terms of pollution. The lignite-fired power stations around the mine form the biggest sources of airborne pollution in the European Union.
The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) has accused the NSW government of trying to keep the public in the dark about its proposals for logging on public land. The proposals include opening state forests to increased logging, zoning 140,000 hectares for clearfelling, removing the need to look for and protect most threatened species before logging, reducing stream buffers and allowing logging in old growth forest.
Blackmail charges brought against Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) leaders John Setka and Shaun Reardon were dropped by Victorian prosecutors on May 16 in a major embarrassment for the federal government’s trade union royal commission, police and prosecutors.
The Victorian Socialists released this statement on the Batman byelection on March 18.
* * *
The Labor Party has managed to retain the seat of Batman, by offering a progressive and competent candidate in Ged Kearney, after years of imposing the right-wing powerbroker David Feeney on the electorate, as part of factional deals.
Federal and state governments are about to renew Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) to prolong industrial logging across 2 million hectares of New South Wales native forests. It is expected that an additional 100,000 hectares of native forest will be re-zoned for clear felling.
RFA renewals and burning native forests for energy is will mean the end of native forests.
Victoria's environment department has charged the government-owned logging agency VicForests over its illegal logging of rainforest buffer zones in East Gippsland. The allegations relate to a logging operation in the Serpentine Creek Rainforest Site of Significance near Cann River, which caused serious damage to protected warm temperate rainforest.