Forest Blockades 2007/08

Media Release
4 Feb 2008

Vic Old Growth Protests Continue

Fifteen conservationists shut down logging again in old growth forests north of Orbost early this morning.

The protest is the fourth in ten days to halt operations in the same logging coupe which lies adjacent to a proposed link between the Errinundra and the Snowy River National Parks. The group are demanding the Rudd and Brumby governments urgently respond to calls for the protection of Victoria's remaining high conservation value forests.

“The ALP‘s short memory is costing the community thousands of dollars in subsidies to keep an unprofitable and ecologically destructive industry afloat.

“VicForests ran at a $17,000 loss last year, even with its thousands of dollars in taxpayer handouts. Its time Rudd and Brumby looked at the figures and ended the senseless waste of these rare ecosystems”, said spokesperson Emily Black.

“The public are sick of repeated government inaction on this issue, the ALP should stop pandering to industry lobbyists and woodchip barons and respond to their constituencies who have called for old growth protection for some 20 years”, said spokesperson Emily Black.

“Its absurd that Labor plan to spend millions protecting forests overseas whilst Australia has the fastest rate of extinction globally as well as the highest per capita carbon emissions, and yet our forests are being clearfelled at unprecedented rates”, said spokesperson Emily Black.

Media Release

Tuesday 29th January

Community Stops Logging

Eighteen members of the Goongerah community stopped logging when they walked into an Old-Growth coup in their water catchment near Bonang. The area has been a target of two other protests since logging commenced just over a week ago.

The coup is controversial not just for its “Old Growth” and high conservation values, but also because it is an important water catchment and carbon sink.

“During the last state election campaign the Goongerah water catchment was among many Victorian forest areas promised to be protected by the Bracks/ Brumby Labor Government,” said spokesperson Jarrod Ruch. “We call on the government to honour their promises and protect these areas of old growth forest in East Gippsland.”

The area in question lies adjacent to the proposed link for the soon to be ‘Great Alpine National Park.’ The coup contains trees up to 400 years old, unique flora and fauna and is endangered species habitat. “As climate change takes effect, these huge old trees protect water flows into our rivers throughout the year,” said Mr Ruch.

“With the ever increasing rates of species extinction it is now more important than ever that areas containing vulnerable animals like the Sooty Owl and Yellow-Bellied Gliders be preserved for our common future,” he concluded.

The logging coup is one of four proposed in the area.

Media Release
25 January 2008


Twenty five local conservationists, including a family of ten Bidawal Traditional Owners, today peacefully stopped the logging of high conservation value old growth forest in far East Gippsland.

The logging is directly on the boundary of the Snowy River National Park, and is adjacent to the promised reserve between the Snowy and Errinundra National Parks, 70km’s north of Orbost. It is an area that has been subject to much controversy over many years.

John Hayes, who is a fifth generation Bidawal traditional owner of this area, remembers the walking the land as a child with his late father, Harry Hayes, who was Australian Fly-weight boxing champion.

“My father, who grew up in Orbost and Newmerella, always told me that this was our land, and that when I got older it was my responsibility to get out there and look after my country,” Mr Hayes said.
“I have brought my family out here today as an act of reconciliation, and we are all devastated by the destruction we have witnessed of our traditional land.”

“This land was never given to logging interests, and represents a classic example of the continued dispossession of traditional owners over the custodianship of their land. We call on John Brumby to honour Labor’s pre-election promise to protect “significant old growth forest from logging”, and encourage Kevin Rudd to take the first step in reconciliation and acknowledge the rights of the traditional owners of this land,” he concluded.

Media Release

21th January 2008

Conservationists Return to Defend Carbon Sinks

Fifteen conservationists occupied a logging coupe yesterday in old growth forests north of Orbost, with one person chaining themselves to a log loader, and have prevented clearfelling from commencing this morning. The logging coupe is in the corridor between the Snowy River and Errinundra National Parks.

The group are demanding the Rudd and Brumby governments urgently respond to calls for the protection of Victoria's remaining high conservation value forests, following reports that over 85% of forests logged in Victoria end up as woodchips, sawdust or waste (The Age 19 January 2008)

“The Labor government promised to protect areas of significant old growth forest in East Gippsland over 14 months ago, yet these forests are still being logged. To add insult to injury they are being logged for Japanese copypaper and sawdust,” said spokesperson for the group Emily Black.

“Its absurd that Labor plan to spend millions protecting forests overseas whilst Australia has the fastest rate of extinction globally as well as the highest per capita carbon emissions, and yet our forests are being clearfelled at unprecedented rates”, he continued

“The DSE and local police aim to sidetrack the debate about logging by diverting the public's attention to fires. However at last Monday's protest conservationists gave an assurance that the bulldozer involved would be released if required for fire work, and several are also members of their local CFA”, said spokesperson Emily Black.

Media Comments:
Emily Black

Trunk Phone (in the logging coupe)
0394193239, wait for tone then dial 8384620

Logging coupe bordering Snowy River National Park Old growth logging in domestic water catchment Logging protester halts clearfelling
Clearfelled old growth forest near Snowy River National Park Public banned from National Park micro cop on big log

Media Release

14 January 2008

Conservationists Defend Carbon Sinks

Fifteen climate conservationists halted logging early this morning in remote old growth forests north west of Cann River.

This is the sixth protest this month in Victoria's forests that has called on the Labor governments to protect high conservation value forests to help slow dangerous climate change.

“If the Brumby and Rudd governments are serious about climate change they will bring the Bali talks home and protect the last of Victoria's old growth forests, rather than continuing to destroy these important carbon sinks”, said spokesperson Emily Black.

“Despite the rhetoric produced by the logging industry in this country, our forests take 150 years to recover the carbon lost as a result of clearfelling, and considering Victoria's forests are on a maximum 80 year rotation there is no question that logging is a significant greenhouse gas emitter”,  said spokesperson Emily Black.

“The public have been calling for the protection of these rare ecosystems for more than 20 years now, its time parliament responded with a comprehensive reserve package to protect our diminishing old growth forests, our water catchments, and our threatened species habitat”, said spokesperson Emily Black.

protesters locked to bulldozer in old growth logging coupe Government officers attend forest protest Government enforcement officer reads protester the act
old growth tree stump in logging clearfell  



Media Release

11 December 2007

Climate Change Forest Blockade Remains

A forest blockade in East Gippsland enters its second day this morning after police and government officers failed to remove protesters from logging equipment.  Thirty protesters are continuing to stop old growth logging, in the face of reports that the Victorian government has failed to deliver on more than half of their pre-election pledges, including a promise to protect East Gippsland’s important forests. The Envirowatch report, endorsed by leading conservation groups, states that John Brumby has failed to immediately protect 35000ha of East Gippsland forest, including Goolengook.

“Old growth logging is still continuing in East Gippsland despite the state government election promises to protect important areas of forest.  We are one year out from the election, yet none of the places the Labor Government promised to protect have been placed in a reserve.  It is about time our politicians were called into account”
 said spokesperson for the environmentalists, Mark Tylor.

The logging coupe is north of Cann River, near the Errinundra National Park, and contains rainforest and habitat for the endangered Sooty Owl, which has reportedly been heard calling at night.

“The Federal government was elected on the issue of climate change, yet are failing to act to protect old growth forest, which is an important carbon sink and vital for the future of the planet,” continued Mark Tylor. 

“If Kevin Rudd is serious about climate change then the first thing he should do is protect Australia’s old growth forests,” he concluded.

The group of environmentalists have been in the logging coupe over the weekend, preventing logging from continuing.  Two people are locked to logging machinery and a person remains up a 30 metre high tree platform.  Search and Rescue police have arrived at the blockade, along with a reality tv camera crew (!) and one person has been charged so far.

The protest follows forest blockades last week where logging was stopped in three logging coupes.

For comment
Mark Tylor (at the forest blockade)
Mobile: 0428125602
Trunk Phone: 0394164970  wait for dialtone then call 838 4620.

For information

Media Release
10 Decemeber 2007

Logging Halted for Climate Change

Thirty five people have today stopped logging in an area of old growth forest north of  Cann River, near the Errinundra National Park, in the Cobon forest block.  The protest co-incides with climate talks in Bali, where the Australian government is being urged to agree to deep cuts in emissions. 

“Twenty percent of global greenhouse emissions are caused by forest clearing, yet in Australia, old growth logging is being sanctioned by both state and federal governments,” said spokesperson for the protesters Mark Tylor.

“We have a new Federal government who won an election on the climate change issue, yet old growth forest is still being destroyed.  Most school children are able to tell you about the importance of old growth forests as carbon sinks, yet this basic lesson is apparently beyond our politicians who still are allowing this destruction to happen,” he continued.

The area contains old growth forest and is habitat for the endangered Sooty Owl.  Environmentalists, who have been camping in the forest coupe all weekend, have heard the extremely rare owl at night.  Today, two people have chained themselves to logging machinery, while another sits on top of a tripod erected over a logging bulldozer.  A 30 metre high tree platform is attached to another machine preventing it from continuing work.

This blockade follows a number of forest blockades last week, where logging was halted in three logging coupes by protesters chaining themselves to machinery.  Five people were charged on summons.

“Old growth logging is still continuing in East Gippsland despite the state government election promises to protect important areas of forest.  We are one year out from the election, yet none of the places the Labor Government promised to protect have been placed in a reserve.  It is about time our politicians were called into account” he concluded.

For more comment
Mark Tylor (at the forest blockade)

The Age Online

Activists blockade logging in Gippsland

December 10, 2007 - 12:15PM

Environmental activists have forced a halt to logging in an old-growth forest area of East Gippsland, in Victoria's southeast.

Organisers claimed 35 people early on Monday walked into the Cobon forest block about 60km north of Cann River, near the Errinundra National Park.

At least two chained themselves to logging machinery while another protester climbed on top of a tripod erected over a bulldozer.

Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) said the number of protesters was lower than organisers claimed, with about 20 people occupying the site.

A DSE spokeswoman said the activists would be warned they were in a public safety zone, and police had been called to the logging coupe to try to move the protesters on.

Monday's occupation follows a number of blockades last week when up to 65 activists moved into three different coupes in the area.

Two people were later charged on summons with public order offences, the DSE spokeswoman said.

Media Release
6 December 2007

Three logging coupes halted

Today 70 conservationists stopped logging in three coupes in East Gippsland. The protest is in response to unfilled election promises to protect old growth forests made by the Bracks/Brumby government over a year ago. Four have attached themselves to machinery halting clear-felling operations.

Activists stopped operations in Black Cuttings, Aspen Battery Track and Goongarah Catchment. Currently two people are locked on to machinary in both Aspen Battery Track and Black Cuttings. Other activists are black wallerbying (running around) the coupes avoiding Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) officers. 20 people were asked to leave Goongarah Catchment and complied with that direction, avoiding arrest.

"We are here today to hold politicians to account to fulfil election promises. It is outrageous that the Bracks/Brumby government have not yet put these areas into reserves. Brumby needs to act now and solves this issue." said Mark Tylor spokespersons for the group.

Only two percent of Victoria's old growth forests remains. These critically important areas are home to many endangered species, including sooty owl, powerful owl and long footed potoroo.

"Forestry causes a significant proportion of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. If Labor is serious about taking real action to prevent dangerous climate change they must commit to ending logging of high conservation forests now."

"The government needs to stop pandering to the multinational woodchip industry, and have the courage to do what the science tells us is necessary to protect the future survival of all Australians and the planet" concluded James Ludd.

Forest Blockade East Gippsland Locking on to logging machinery Arriving at Forest Blockade
forest blockade aspen battery forest logging aspen battery forest banner

ABC Online

Protesters chain themselves to logging machinery

Posted December 6, 2007 15:00:00

Anti-logging protesters have locked themselves to heavy machinery today at forest coups in East Gippsland in south-east Victoria.

The protesters from the Australian Student Environment Network and the Goongerah Environment Centre walked into coups north of Orbost this morning.

Department of Sustainability and Environment officers have declared the coups as public safety zones, making it illegal for the protesters to remain at the sites.

A spokeswomen for the environmentalists, Molly Williamsons, says the State Government has broken its promise to protect old-growth forest.

"So we're calling on VicForests and the department to stop sending contractors into these areas where their work will be disrupted because they are very important old-growth forest areas, high conservation value forests and water catchments for the local area as well," she said.