Goongerah and Yalmy Blockades 2006

Media Release

30 November 2006

Locals Stop "Future National Park" Logging

Residents of the tiny settlement of Goongerah have stopped logging in an area earmarked for protection by the Bracks government. The logging coupe is in the corridor between the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks and is in the domestic water catchment for Goongerah. Locals have stopped logging in the area a number of times over the last 12 months and five people have been arrested this week.

"We have opposed the logging of our water catchment for a long time now, and the fact that the area is to be included in the new National Park confirms what we have been saying - that this area should be protected. If the Premier Steve Bracks is serious about protecting these areas, he cannot possibly allow this logging to continue," said spokesperson for the residents, Fiona York

"As far as we are concerned, the government is allowing the logging of the future National Park. If the Premier is to make more than hollow election promises, he should pull the contractors out of the area immediately," she concluded.


Update: The treesit has beein removed and one person has been charged on summons. Logging of the new national park continues unabated after being held up for about six hours....

ABC Online

Govt urged to introduce logging ban over areas promised for protection

Tuesday, 28 November 2006. 14:44 (AEDT)
The Wilderness Society is demanding the Victorian Government ban logging in areas it promised to include in new national parks at the state election.

Forest protesters were arrested at a blockade yesterday in old-growth forest north of Orbost, in the state's south-east, and the protesters are back in the area today.

Gavin McFadyen from the Wilderness Society says most of the area is due to be included in the Snowy River and Errinundra national parks.

He says the Victorian public voted for the forest to be protected.

"While the Bracks Government needs to protect these areas under the National Parks Act, and we believe that'll happen early next year, there should now be an immediate moratorium on logging any areas that the Government has proposed and promised ... to be protected for their old-growth values," he said.

Media Release

28 November 2006

“Future National Park” Blockade Continues

Conservationists are again preventing logging from continuing in an area earmarked for protection under the Bracks government’s new forest policy.  The logging coupe is in the corridor between the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks in the headwaters of the Goongerah Creek.  Despite falling into the proposed new National Park, the area is still being logged.  A tree platform attached to logging machinery is preventing logging from continuing, and police are in attendance.

Today’s action follows the bust of a four-day long forest blockade that was set up in the logging coupe on the eve of the Victorian State election.  Four people were arrested, with three of those held in custody at the Orbost police station until bail could be raised late last night. 

“It is beyond belief that the Department is allowing logging to continue in an area that they know is earmarked for protection.  As far as we are concerned they are ensuring the destruction of the future National Park,” said spokesperson for the conservationists Fiona York.

“Individuals are now risking arrest and jail doing what the government should be doing – stopping this logging.  The government needs to pull the logging contractors out of that area immediately.  It is not fair to them or to the Victorian public that there is no certainty about the future of these forest areas,” she concluded.


Update: Four people have been arrested. The blockade has been removed. We have had confirmation from the DSE that the coupe is mostly IN the proposed extention to the new national park corridors, which means that they are now logging the future national park promised by Steve Bracks before the election. Vicforests is continuing to allow logging as they are claiming to be unsure of the boundaries, and want to finish the coupe now that they have started it.

Three of the four people arrested were taken to Orbost and held in custody until $1500 bail could be raised (after hours, of course). The police claim that the people were a "flight risk". This is a significant "upping of the ante" by the police.

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ABC Online

Police take action in forest protest

Monday, 27 November 2006. 15:01 (AEDT)
Police are breaking up a forest protest near the town of Goongerah in far east Gippsland.

Five protesters are still in tree sits and about 20 have been removed from the site.

Protester Fiona Yorke says the forest is part of the area the Labor Party promised to protect as part of its election platform.

"It is still being logged, on the first day of this new Government they've allowed the logging to continue in this area which will become part of the national park part of the corridor between the Errinundra and Snowy River national parks and it's outrageous that they're logging basically the future national park and it needs to stop immediately," she said.

Media Release

27 November 2006

Police Bust Forest Water Blockade

Twenty-five police and government officers have swooped down on an old growth forest blockade in East Gippsland this morning, busting the blockade as it enters its fourth day.  Conservationists have locked themselves to logging machinery and erected two tree platforms and a tripod to prevent logging from continuing in a water catchment area that has been left out of Labor’s forest policy.

The logging coupe is in the corridor between the Errinundra and Snowy River National Parks, contains old growth forest and is part of the domestic water catchment for the township of Goongerah, north of Orbost.

“This forest is exactly the type of forest Premier Steve Bracks promised to protect before the election, yet on the first working day of his new term, the government acts to move conservationists out of the area and allow logging to continue ‘business as usual’,” said spokesperson for the conservationists, James Anthony.

“Despite the rhetoric from the government, old growth logging is still continuing every day in East Gippsland with no end in sight.  Please, Mr Bracks, it is up to you to comprehensively protect East Gippsland’s forests from logging,” he concluded.

As of 10.00 am this morning, fifteen conservationists had been moved out of the logging coupe, with Search and Rescue police attempting to remove a further five people who remain locked to machinery and on tree platforms.  Arrests are expected.

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ABC Online

Anti-logging protesters stage tree sit-in

Friday, 24 November 2006. 15:08 (AEDT)
Forest protesters have locked themselves onto logging machines and set up a tree-sit in old-growth forest north of the town of Goongerah in East Gippsland.

The Victorian Government has promised to join the Snowy River and Errinundra national parks, and include more areas of old-growth forest if it wins the state election tomorrow.

But Fiona York from Goongerah says the area of forest being blockaded has missed out on protection.

"This is exactly the sort of forest that Labor has been promising to protect and it has been left out ... and that's why we're there today," she said.

"The public is not going to be satisfied until old-growth forest is properly protected and when this old-growth forest is also in the water catchments it's also more important."

 

Logging Stopped in Area Bracks Vowed to Protect

This morning conservationists moved into stop logging in an area on the border of one of the old growth forests the Bracks government vowed to protect if re-elected tomorrow.

Tree sits have been established high in the forest canopy and people have attached themselves to machinery in a logging area in the Goongerah catchment in far East Gippsland, one of the old growth forests the Bracks government promised to protect if reelected on November 25.

The mapping we have from the Bracks government announcement is imprecise so it’s difficult to tell if the logging area is just inside or outside the area the Bracks government promised to protect.

Spokesperson Fiona York said; “If it’s inside the boundary of the proposed protected area we are calling on the Bracks government to stop the logging as soon as they are re-elected. If it is outside, the new protected area should be extended to include this logging coup which abuts rainforest and contains old growth forest and is water supply for the Goongerah township.”

“It’s a disgrace that the Department of Sustainability and Environment would prescribe logging in an area which is earmarked for protection immediately after the election if Bracks is re-elected.”

“We intend to stop logging until caretaker mode is over and the Bracks government can halt the logging on Monday November 27.”

Further comment contact: Fiona York ph: 03 5154 0174 or trunk phone on site: dial 5133 7077 then wait for dialtone then call 838 4620.


MEDIA ALERT
29 September 2006

Goongerah locals risk arrest to protect water catchment

Twenty residents of the Goongerah town ship are risking arrest this morning by holding a community walk in on logging in their water catchment.

Spokes person for the community Fiona York said. “ We have tried a myriad of ways to stop the logging in our water catchment, we are now left with no other option but to physically stop the logging.”

“The police have declared the entire catchment area ‘safety zone’, and as such anyone found in the area is liable to be arrested. There is a very strong possibility we could be arrested today for working to protect our water supply.”

“It is well known that logging in water catchments reduces water supply by up to 50%. We are calling on Premier Bracks to stop the logging of water catchments, and in turn increase the water accessible to Victorian towns and cities.”

“Victoria, and much of Australia, is in the grips of a drought. It is time for our leaders to take pro-active measures to protect our water supply and avert further hardship and restrictions the community is feeling.

“If our political representatives continue to fail to act, more and more communities will be forced to risk arrest to protect their right to clean and plentiful supply of water.” Concluded Ms York.
Locals protest water logging Goongerah walk in
   


MEDIA ALERT
26 September 2006
9.00am

Police move in on conservationists protecting water catchments

Police have moved in to remove the 30 conservationists who have halted logging of old growth forests in the Goongerah water catchment over the past two days. The three tree platforms and tripod blocking logging access to the area which activists have perched in, preventing the falling and bulldozing of  old growth trees in the catchment.

Spokesperson Lauren Caulfield said, “Obviously we would prefer not to be forced to take such actions to protect our water catchment and forests, but the simple fact of the matter is that Bracks is failing in his duty to protect these areas.”
“About 20 Police officers and search and rescue are on site declaring much of the Goongerah water catchment an exclusion zone, for the public not for logging, indicating they will be removing and arresting those up the tree sits and tripod.”
 “Logging is planned for Melbourne’s water catchments from December 1, just days after the state election. Most Victorians are appalled that old growth forests and water catchments are being destroyed for woodchips. Every day the equivalent to 18 MCG’s are cleared. Premier Steve Bracks must act to protect old growth forests and water catchments for future generations.” she concluded.
“It’s time both Premier Bracks and Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu announced that they will protect water catchments from logging before the November poll. It is a sad day when people are arrested for protecting the basic necessities of life such as the right to clean and plentiful water and healthy environment as we are doing here today.” she concluded.


For media comment contact: On site at the Forest Rescue – trunk ph: 5133 7077 then wait for dialtone then dial 838 4620.

Billy Dain – Melbourne – mob: 0412608323
Louise Morris 0408667100

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ABC Online

Anti-logging protesters arrested

Wednesday, 27 September 2006. 14:39 (AEDT)

Two women protesting against logging in the Goongerah catchment north of Orbost have been arrested and charged.

Between 30 and 40 protesters had set up tree sits and a large tripod in the area holding up logging for two days.

The protesters say the logging will reduce the water supply to the town of Goongerah and run-off into the Brodribb River.

In the past, protesters have been charged with hindering lawful logging operations.

However, yesterday the arrests were on charges of refusing to leave a public safety zone.

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Media Release

Water catchment logging shutdown continues for a second day

26 September 2006

Logging operations have been halted for a second day by conservationists  in  three tree platforms suspended in the canopy, as well as a tripod stopping access to the forest in which logging was taking place, in the Goongerah water catchment in East Gippsland.

Spokesperson Lauren Caulfield said, ‘It is ludicrous that we have to physically stop logging to protect our water catchments when Victoria is two months away from a state election. Premier Bracks refuses to take the decisive and forward thinking step of ending logging in water catchments. Instead we are saddled with increasing water restrictions in force across most of the state. It is proven that logging in water catchments reduces water supply by up to fifty percent!”

Logging is planned for Melbourne’s water catchments from December 1, just days after the state election.

“It’s time for both Premier Bracks and Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu to announced that they will protect water catchments from logging before the November poll.”

“Most Victorians are appalled that old growth forests and water catchments are being destroyed for woodchips. Every day the equivalent to 18 MCG’s are cleared. Premier Steve Bracks must act to protect old growth forests and water catchments for future generations.” she concluded.

“It’s time both Premier Bracks and Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu announced that they will protect water catchments from logging before the November poll, and we will not allow this issue to be ignored while our communities are feeling the pain of water restrictions and further logging of our old growth forests” she concluded.

For media comment contact: On site at the Forest Rescue – trunk ph: 5133 7077 then wait for dialtone then dial 838 4620.

Billy Dain – Melbourne – mob: 0412608323

MEDIA RELEASE

Water catchment logging operations shutdown


25.9.06

Thirty conservationists have shut down logging operations in the Goongerah township water catchment east of Melbourne.

Logging operations have been halted by three tree platforms suspended in the canopy, as well as a tripod stopping access to the forest in which logging was taking place.

Spokesperson for the group Lauren Caulfield said ‘It is ludicrous to be logging water catchments such as this one when water restrictions are in force across most of the state. It is scientifically accepted fact that logging in water catchments dramatically reduces water supply to towns and cities.’

‘Victoria is a matter of months away from a state election, in which water supply and environmental issues will be at the fore, yet Premier Steve Bracks still refuses to acknowledge the elephant in the corner that is logging of our water catchments. Instead we are saddled with increasing water restrictions and the logging continues unrestricted.’

‘It is unacceptable that four out of five of Melbourne’s water catchments are currently being logged. The ALP are lagging behind, it is time for Bracks to act and stop logging in our states water catchments.’

‘Victorian communities and voters are up in arms at the allowance of logging in our water catchments and demand that Bracks act to protect our water supplies and forests.’ Said Ms Caulfield.

For media comment contact Lauren Caulfield 03) 51540156 (Melbourne contact Louise Morris 03) 94198700.)

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Protesters shut down Gippsland loggers

September 25, 2006 - 2:48PM

The Age

Protesters have shut down a logging operation in Victoria's East Gippsland.

More than 30 protesters rigged three platforms in the canopy of a forest coupe, near Goongerah, about 50km north-east of Orbost, and set up a tripod on the road preventing small, private, local logging contractors from accessing the site.

Victoria Police and officers from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) attended the blockade this morning, leaving without incident.

Protester Danya Bryx said the coupe was in a water catchment and was an area of environmental significance.

"It is unacceptable that four out of five of Melbourne's water catchments are currently being logged," Ms Bryx said.

She said logging of catchments drastically reduced water levels and adversely affected the water available to towns in the area.

"It is ludicrous to be logging water catchments such as this one when water restrictions are in force across most of the state," she said.

A DSE spokesman said the timber coupe was part of the Gippsland water catchment, not the Melbourne catchment, and there were no water restrictions or shortages in the area.

"This timber coupe is not old-growth, the coupe is not rainforest, and this coupe does have approval for harvesting," he said.

AAP

Protesters shut down logging operation

September 25, 2006 02:48pm

Article from: AAP and www.news.com.au

PROTESTERS have shut down a logging operation in Victoria's East Gippsland.

More than 30 protesters rigged three platforms in the canopy of a forest coupe, near Goongerah, about 50km north-east of Orbost, and set up a tripod on the road preventing small, private, local logging contractors from accessing the site.

Victoria Police and officers from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) attended the blockade this morning, leaving without incident.

Protester Danya Bryx said the coupe was in a water catchment and was an area of environmental significance.

"It is unacceptable that four out of five of Melbourne's water catchments are currently being logged," Ms Bryx said.

She said logging of catchments drastically reduced water levels and adversely affected the water available to towns in the area.

"It is ludicrous to be logging water catchments such as this one when water restrictions are in force across most of the state," she said.

A DSE spokesman said the timber coupe was part of the Gippsland water catchment, not the Melbourne catchment, and there were no water restrictions or shortages in the area.

"This timber coupe is not old-growth, the coupe is not rainforest, and this coupe does have approval for harvesting," he said.



Media Release
15 September 2006

Community takes action on Water

Logging in the Goongerah water catchment was stopped today when over twenty members of the community walked in to an active logging coupe. The residents are angered as the coupe is one of over twenty scheduled in their water catchment.

Goongerah relies on the catchment for domestic water. Residents are worried about reductions of water in the river due to the logging. Although Goongerah is higher in the catchment, the southern town of Orbost also relies on the water. ‘While people from Melbourne are angered by logging in their water catchments rural Victorians are undergoing the same problems’ said Rena Gaborov, spokesperson for the residents.

‘Logging ten percent of the catchment can reduce water yields up to fifty percent in forty years. The government knows about the impacts of clear fell logging on water catchments, and with the current push to conserve water it seems insane the logging water catchments still goes on. Premier Bracks has the power to put an end to this waste,’ said Rena.

The area that is being logged is old growth forest as well as being in the headwaters of the Goongerah Creek. There is nearly 800 hectares of this water catchment scheduled to be logged in the next three years.

For more information: Rena Gabarov 0351540156


UPDATE: Six police including Search and Rescue have arrived at the logging coupe with seven DSE and Vic Forests officers. All those protesting have been removed from the coupe except the person high in the tree sit. Search and Rescue are attempting to take down the tree sit that is tied on to the machines but have not suceeded yet.

Media Release
3 May 2006

Tree Sit Over Water

Twenty conservationists have stopped work today in a logging coupe in the Goongerah water catchment, East Gippsland. A protestor up the tree is in a sit that is tied to a log loader and a bull dozer which has prevented the machines from being used.

The controversial area contains old growth forest and is part of 700 hectares scheduled for logging in the catchment in the next three years. The action is one of many that have occurred in Goongerah this year and is part of a campaign to stop the logging of forests in the Goongerah community’s domestic water catchment.

‘Logging of our catchment means our water yield will be dramatically reduced.’ said Rena Gaborov, community member and spokes person for the Goongerah Environment Centre.

Although most of the community is opposed to the logging the government is refusing to stop it ‘Considering the current climate change and the lack of clean water that is available it is insane that the Bracks’ government can allow logging in our catchment, to the detriment to our community’ said Rena.

For more details contact – Rena Gaborov 03 51540190


UPDATE: 3.00pm 17 January

The treesit at the Goongerah Blockade is down but the person locked on to the dragon remains. the treesiter was attached to the sit by a cable as well as locked on by her foot. Search and Rescue police tried to forcibly remove her, then eventually lowered the sit with her STILL ATTACHED!! more soon....

Media Release
17 January 2006

Two Blockades Busted

Thirty police and government officers are busting the blockade in the Goongerah forest near Bonang in Far East Gippsland. One person remains up a thirty-metre high tree platform and another is locked to a concrete pipe in the middle of the road. The blockade has been in place for two weeks, preventing access to three logging coupes. Protesters have been told to leave the area.

At dawn this morning, police and government officers removed protesters from a logging coupe in the Bendoc region, where work had been stopped since yesterday morning. Two people were arrested and one was taken to Bendoc Police Station after they locked themselves to logging machinery all night. All other protesters have left the area and logging has recommenced in the coupe.

A blockade in the Yalmy forest remains in place, with twenty protesters on site. One person in up a tree platform and another is attached to a car “dragon” which is dug into the road, preventing access to two logging coupes.

All three blockades are in areas of old growth forest, and the Yalmy and Goongerah forests are in water catchment areas.

“Victoria has fallen behind the rest of the country in terms of forest protection, and Premier Steve Bracks can expect protest activity to continue until he protects our forests.” said spokesperson for conservationists, Fiona York.

“There is now nothing stopping these areas from being logged, which will reduce water yields and destroy irreplaceable biodiversity” she concluded.

High resolution photos are available.

For more information: Fiona York


Two blockades have been established in the Yalmy and Goongerah forests. The area is one of the most intact water catchments left in east gippsland and the only remaining corridor between the Errinundra and Snowy River National Parks. In a simultaneous action a treesit was set up in a city roundaboout to draw attention to the logging of East Gippsland's old growth forests.
Yalmy Forest goongerah creek Tree sit
Yalmy forest - due to be logged - protected by blockade Goongerah Creek headwaters - scheduled to be logged Thirty metre high treesit

Media Release
9 January 2006

Two Forest Blockades in East Gippsland

Forest blockades have been re-established in East Gippsland today in areas of old growth forest and water catchments.  A partially completed logging road had been blocked by a 30 metre high tree platform in an area containing two scheduled logging coupes, while access to a further three logging coupes is being blockaded nearby with tree platforms and other structures.

The blockaded logging coupes are in a corridor of old growth forest linking the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks. The logging coupes are the beginning of more than 700 hectares scheduled to be logged in the Goongerah domestic water supply catchment.  The area contains very large trees and rare rainforest types, as well as endangered species habitat.  It is one of the most intact water catchments remaining in East Gippsland.

In Melbourne, a tree platform has been erected in a city round-about to draw attention to the continued logging of East Gippsland’s old growth forest.

“There is strong community opposition to the logging of these last remaining intact water catchments in East Gippsland.  The fact that these areas contain such large trees and rare forest types adds insult to injury.  It is time that Premier Steve Bracks acted to protect our forests,” said spokesperson for conservationists, Fiona York.

For comment:
Fiona York


ABC Radio

Tree platforms target Vic logging operations

Monday, 9 January 2006. 07:50 (AEDT) Conservationists have established two forest blockades in East Gippsland in Victoria to protect old growth forest and water catchments.

A logging road between the Snowy River and Errindundra national parks has been blocked by a 30-metre high tree platform.

Access to a further three logging coupes is also being blocked by tree platforms and other makeshift structures.

Conservationists have also set up a tree platform on a roundabout in Melbourne as part of their campaign.


The Age, 9 January 2006

Tree protesters take campaign to city

January 9, 2006 - 9:53AM

Environmentalists have taken their protest against logging and woodchipping in East Gippsland's forests to the city today.

A group of Melbourne University students has perched 15 metres off the ground on a platform strung in the canopy of a eucalypt tree on the corner of Swanston Street, Cemetery Road and College Crescent, in inner suburban Parkville.

Protester David Hammerton said the city-based demonstration was in support of conservationists who were preparing a campaign to stop logging in East Gippsland.

He said the students were hoping their action would put pressure on the Victorian government to stop logging and woodchipping in old-growth forest areas.

"(Premier Steve) Bracks must act now to protect these irreplaceable national treasures," Mr Hammerton said.

"These forests survived the last ice age, but at this rate they won't survive Bracks' term in office."

Mr Hammerton said the old-growth forest and rainforest was habitat for endangered flora and fauna.

"East Gippsland's unique eco-system is home to over 300 rare and threatened plant and animal species," he said.

"These forests are home to many endangered and threatened species including the Tiger Quoll and the Powerful Owl."

Treesit in Melbourne Roundabout Protesters take action in the city
Treesit in a Melbourne roundabout Protesters take action to the city



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