An urgent campaign and blockade by the WA Forest Alliance to prevent logging in the Lewin Forest, west of Manjimup in Western Australia’s south-west, has dramatically demonstrated the need for more to be done to save these forests.
More than 300 concerned citizens took part in a peaceful people’s picket on August 19 at Tasmania’s parliament house to protest against a bill that would ban the right to protest. The Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill, introduced by the state Liberal government, passed Tasmania’s lower house in June. It is due to be debated in the upper house in late October. The bill makes it an offence to hold a protest that prevents business activity. Protesters can be given on-the-spot fines of $2000. Three-month mandatory jail sentences will apply for second offences.
About 5000 people protested outside Parliament House in Hobart on June 14 to call for the protection of Tasmania’s World Heritage forests. The World Heritage Committee unanimously approved the extension of 120,000 hectares of new reserves to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage property at a meeting in June last year. The forests were judged to have met all four natural heritage criteria.
The Tony Abbott government has done something no other government in the world has done before, asking UNESCO to take one of the nation’s unique natural areas off the World Heritage list. In Tasmania, 170,000 hectares of forest was given World Heritage status in June last year. Environmentalists have long considered the areas, which mostly border existing World Heritage areas, worthy of protection. Among them are well-known forests such as the Styx, Weld and Upper Florentine Valleys.
Victorian state government enterprise VicForests tabled its annual report in parliament in October last year, revealing that, for the sixth year running, the corporation had failed to pay a dividend to the state for being allowed to log publicly owned forests.
Still Wild, Still Threatened released this statement on March 7. *** Miranda Gibson has today reluctantly left her perch high up in the Observer Tree, after 457 days, as a bushfire burned to within a kilometre and it became clear that predicted hot weather early next week could precipitate an emergency situation in the remote forest.
It was standing room only when community members and supporters attended Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on September 6 to witness the dropping of all charges against 12 activists, arising from protests to protect the Gun Barrel coupe in Toolangi State Forest from clear-fell logging in July and August last year. The withdrawal of all charges, without explanation or reason, is a significant victory for the accused and their supporters, and every Victorian who cares for the protection of natural heritage.
The statement below was released by Toolangi residents on July 27. The lock-on is taking place on the corner of Myers Creek Rd and Monda Track, Toolangi. *** What do you do when you watch magnificent native forest habitat on your beloved mountain being bulldozed, loaded on to convoys of huge log trucks and carted off to the woodchippers to be turned into paper! You get angry and determined – that’s what!
Green Left Weekly's Susan Austin spoke to forest activist Miranda Gibson, who has lived for more than 100 days on a platform 60 metres up a Tasmanian old-growth tree. The “Observer Tree” has brought international attention to the campaign to protect Tasmania's forests. Gibson has vowed to continue her tree-sit until the campaign wins. * * * What prompted you to climb the tree and take this courageous action? What do you hope to achieve?
Twenty-four hours of global action to protest against the ongoing logging of Tasmanian forests took place on February 15. The article below first appeared on the Observer Tree blog on February 16. *** An incredible show of worldwide support led to more than 70 actions across 14 countries in 24 hours calling for an end to the destruction of Tasmania's forests.