Conservationists from the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) continue to maintain the peaceful blockade of old growth forest at Granite Mountain in far East Gippsland that was established on Monday morning. As the blockade enters its second day a person remains suspended from a tripod structure that is attached to forestry road gate, preventing access to the old growth logging site.
Logging contractors arrived on site yesterday morning and left after a few hours. Logging operations have not occurred since the blockade was established. Police, VicForests and government department officers have not yet attended the site of the protest and are expected to arrive today.
The protest comes just 10 weeks after lawyers acting for the Fauna and Flora Research Collective won a Supreme Court injunction that halted logging of old growth in East Gippsland’s Kuark forest. Later this year lawyers will argue in Court that the Victorian Labor government are failing to meet their legal obligations that require 60% of old growth wet and damp forest to be protected, a step that has not been taken.
“The courageous actions of the person who has occupied the tripod structure for the last 36 hours have halted the destruction of some of Victoria’s oldest and largest trees. They are willing to risk arrest to prevent to destruction from continuing.”
“Logging of untouched old growth forests, doesn’t belong in the 21st century. The logging industry in East Gippsland shouldn’t have to continue to destroy the last remnants of untouched forests that have never seen an axe. If the industry was sustainable it would not be logging pristine old growth, too much has already been lost and what remains must be protected for future generations,” said GECO said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill
“In December 2017 GECO submitted a report to Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio documenting dozens of very large old trees within the planned logging area. Despite alerting the Minister to the threat logging poses to this untouched forest, our concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears as VicForests’ bulldozers and chainsaws move in,” said Ed Hill.
“The overwhelming majority of Victorian voters want East Gippsland’s forests protected from logging by expanding parks are reserves to safeguard these last remaining stands of Victoria’s old growth forest heritage,” said Ed Hill.
“The Andrews Labor government must act in the interests of all Victorian’s and immediately direct their logging agency VicForests to stay out of our old growth forest heritage, whilst steps are taken to protect these areas in formal reserves. Labor must show leadership and solve the long running conflict over logging in East Gippsland, and they will be applauded by the community if they do,”
“These ancient forests are the lungs of our planet, they store huge amounts of carbon that is released when they are logged and burnt, accelerating climate change. They are home to rare and endangered wildlife and offer a rare window of insight into what Victoria’s forests looked like prior to colonisation”
“GECO pays respect to the long and continuing custodianship of these forests by the traditional owners of East Gippsland, the GunnaiKurnai, Bidewell and Monero people. We pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded”
Media contact: Ed Hill – 0414 199 645
High resolution images and vision available on request – [email protected]u