Survey road activists vindicated

Four East Gippsland activists arrested at Survey Rd in January 2002 were given "formal judicial acknowledgement" that they had been motivated by conservation concerns, and were not acting from self-interest, greed or a desire to hurt other. As such it was not appropriate to convict or fine them for their actions. Magistrate Clive Alsop said it was important for people to take a stand if they believe something is right. However, the charges of obstructing forest operations and obstructing a forest officer were too serious to dismiss (as a Judge in the County Court did last November) so he instead gave the four a three month good behaviour bond.

The magistrate said it was not his role to comment on the workings of the government or bureaucracy. However, his finding as vindicated the actions of the numerous people arrested at Survey Rd last year when a last-ditch effort was made to first stop a road into Spot-tailed Quoll habitat and later to stop the logging of this habitat, which contains rainforest and is part of a water catchment.

The outcome of this trial draws even more attention to the disparity in penalties handed out in the Melbourne magistrates court as opposed to the Orbost magistrates court, where people have been known to get fines over $5000 and even suspended jail terms for similar offences.

(thanks to The Age for some of this information)


Monday 18 November 2002

In an historic move, environmentalists decided today to withdraw from forest blockades, in an attempt resolve conflict and draw attention to old growth logging. The focus will now be on the NRE, who are responsible for the sorry state of the forests through their woeful forest mismanagement.
See Media Releases for more info....

Wednesday 6 November 2002

The dedicated band of black wallabies have been at it again, stopping work for the day at Survey Rd. Go team! This comes on the day of more pre-election promises by the Bracks government, yet still no pledge to protect the unique old growth forest and water catchments of the Errinundra Plateau

Sunday 3 November 2002

Another successful stop work action by a mob of black wallabies. Only three trees were felled today, one perilously close to people in the forest. Another arrest at the end of the day, with the additional charge of "wearing a disguise" chucked in for good measure. A disturbing development was the "deputisation" of loggers, who were allowed to chase and restrain black wallabies.

Saturday 2 November 2002

A group of people stopped logging and roading for the day in a coupe on Survey Rd simply by standing in front of bulldozers. Effective non-violent direct action at work! There was one arrest at the end of the day. The woman arrested sustained bruising to the arms and upper body after being manhandled by NRE forest officers.

Thursday 31 October 2002

A woman suspended from a tripod in her wheelchair has stopped logging traffic from entering coupes on Survey Rd for a day. The mother of two successfully blockaded one end of Survey Rd while a person on a treesit attached to a gate blockaded the other end. One person was arrested after locking on to a NRE vehicle and received numerous charges. This is the end of the fourth week of protest action in the Bonang River area, where two crews are logging old growth forest and rainforest that forms part of a wildlife corridor and is part of the Bonang River water catchment.

Monday 28 October 2002

A lone conservationist defied police attempts to remove him from a tree in a logging coupe at Survey Rd. Search and Rescue police removed the tree platform he had been occupying for four days, disconnecting it from machinery and allowing logging to recommence in the Bonang River water catchment. However, the treesitter evaded arrest by climbing higher into the canopy of the tree and is bearing witness to the destruction occuring around him.

The tree sitter remained in place over the weekend despite extremely high winds and snow. Police and NRE officers are continuing to confiscate vital safety equipment, including radios. However, protesters remain determined.

On Friday 25 October,

the tree sit attached to logging machinery was re-established at Survey Rd. It is stopping logging taking place in an important area earmarked for protection by government scientists, whose recommendations have been ignored (again!). Two logging crews are currently logging this area, and the blockade is stopping work in one of the coupes. It is the third week of blockades in this important area.

On Monday 7 October 2002,

work was stopped for two days in a contentious logging coupe by a lone treesitter, who was eventually removed by Search and Rescue police. The treesit was re-established on Friday the 11th October and remained in place over the weekend despite high winds. One person was removed by Search and Rescue police and arrested on Monday 14 October.

The coupe is in an area earmarked for conservation as a "site of significance" by government scientists, whose recommendations were ignored. The area forms part of a wildlife corridor and is known to contain rare flora including an alpine pepper and orchid, and is the only known sighting of the Long Nosed Bandicoot in the area.

Logging has started in the coupe which forms part of the headwaters of the Bonang River. It is madness for the government to be allowing logging in water catchments when the country is gripped by drought.

For more information call GECO on (03)51540156

see Survey Rd Media Releases for further information

Survey Rd 2001