New Laws Criminalise Forest Protestors

On May 24th 2022 Mary-Anne Thomas - Victorian state ALP Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development and Ingrid Stitt - ALP Minister for Workplace Safety, introduced the Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 aimed at further criminalising forest protests at logging coupes. These laws follow suit with those introduced in Queensland, NSW, and Tasmania aimed at targeting climate and forest activists with heavy-handed penalties. In Victoria, they are a pre-election gambit aimed at wedging workers against environmentalists, and here's why.

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Where do parties stand on forests for the federal election?

While native forest logging is primarily the responsibility of state governments, there is still federal overlap and responsibility. We've produced this scorecard on what the positions are of major parties for forests.

 

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'Defend Errinundra' Official Selection at union sponsored 'Dare to Struggle Film Festival'

GECO's campaign film 'Defend Errinundra' was showcased as part of the official selection of Sydney's Dare to Struggle Film Festival.

Watch the film 'Defend Errinundra'.
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How good was the Easter citizen science camp?

With the added attraction of senior botanist and East Gippsland specialist David Cameron, we had the biggest citizen science camp ever! Over 50 people attended for guided walks, talks & citizen science efforts and surveying. A new layer of people have been recharged and are ready to fight for the forests of East Gippsland!

Thanks so much to everyone who came and got involved. We hold citizen science and skillshare camps 3-4 a times a year - subscribe to our email list to get updates about the next camp!

 

Volunteers inside the giant 'Cathedral Tree' in the Errinundra. Photo credit: Trudy Photography

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Devastating post-bushfire logging - 2 years in photos

At the beginning of 2020 we wrote to VicForests CEO Monique Dawson about the devastating ecological impacts of post bushfire logging. She admitted to rejecting the advice from leading expert in the field David Lindenmayer, instead relying on VicForests own determination and enforcement on what they felt had value. For over 2 years they have logged recovering forests without oversight, with impunity, and with the tacit support of the Dan Andrews government.

Since the 2019 - 2020 fires, this is what post-bushfire logging looks like in East Gippsland on Bidewell and Monero Country. 

Shocking drone footage reveals the scale of logging devastation in Cann River

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BREAKING: Victorian government breaks old growth forest promise

Logging started this week in a patch of untouched forests in Swifts Creek on Gunnai Kurnai Country, despite the Andrews government promising to protect all old growth forests in November 2019. Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders have also been found in the area, the forests are an island in a sea of fire-impacted forests, and a critical refuge for threatened species.

A number of old growth forest areas have been logged since the government's supposed old growth logging ban.

Take action and call the Environment Minister's office now on 03 9637 9504 and tell her to stop the logging in 'No Rush' coupe in Mt Delusion

Logging in old growth forests on Gunnai Kurnai Country - photos by Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland

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Stop the changes to logging laws

The Andrews government wants to make dangerous changes to logging laws; not to strengthen forest protections, but to provide legal protection for more destructive logging and increase fire threats to communities.

Take action and call on the Andrews government to ditch the dodgy changes and end logging for good!

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Andrews puts communities at risk & takes another swing at logging laws

Less than 6 months since the last changes to logging laws, the Andrews government is planning to axe additional rules designed to keep communities safe from bushfire risk. They are also proposing to weaken protections to threatened species, like the Tree Geebung, an endemic species from the Central Highlands.

The changes mean more areas of forests close to towns with bushfire risk will be up for logging, despite the known links between logging and the increased severity of bushfires.

These rushed changes have the only goal of derailing current community-run court cases so logging can continue unabated. They are a stark contrast to the lack of progress on, for instance, the Major Event Review of the 2019-20 Summer Bushfires, which is yet to finalise its assessment of the impact of the bushfires on our forests and wildlife more than two years later.

The state Labor government are also set to introduce new legislation in early March, that will take away the rights of community groups to take VicForests to court, and leave it up to the Environment Department to decide whether or not VicForests have complied with the law.

The Environment Department has a shocking record when it comes to regulating logging. Despite multiple breaches, from widespread illegal logging on steep slopes, to failing to regenerate forests after logging, the Department’s Conservation Regulator has never taken legal action to reign in VicForests. It'll be leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. Take action to call on the government to ditch the dodgy changes here.

Forests logged in Swifts Creek, Gunnai Kurnai Country, failing to regenerate

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Message of the Lyrebird - exclusive screening in Lakes Entrance

We are excited to announce the new date for our exclusive film screening fundraiser of 'The Message of the Lyrebird'. The film is an award-winning feature length documentary filmed in Victoria about people and their relationship with this iconic forest mimic, that has been performing song and dance routines for millions of years.

All ticket sales raise money for our ongoing campaign to protect East Gippsland's precious forests. The screening will be held on Gunnai Kurnai Country at Lakes Entrance Sammy's Squash + Cinema, March 20 from 12:30pm-4. Grab your tickets here.

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Kick-starting the year with a weekend of citizen science!

We had an awesome time at our citizen science camp over the weekend on unceded Bidewell and Monero Country. Was great to get out to the Errinundra Plateau and do some Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider surveys. There were plenty of walks to do during the day, through ancient rainforest to a giant cut-tail Ash on Sellar's Road, and to the Cathedral Tree, a giant 14-meter circumference Manna Gum.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out and got involved! We regularly hold citizen science events, sign up to our email list to get updates and come experience East Gippsland's incredible forests and wildlife, still threatened by logging.

Giant 14m circumference Manna gum in forests scheduled for logging

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What we got up to this year!

After another wonderful, epic, very challenging, roller-coaster year, we are wrapping up our work for 2021 with a look back at what we’ve been up to.

We want to say a massive thank you to every person who donated, shared a post or signed a petition, came out to the forest, especially to support Camp Errinundra earlier this year. We couldn't do what we do without your support.

Keen to kick-start 2022 with a trip to the forests? RSVP to our Defend Errinundra Forest skillshare event on Jan 21-24


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BREAKING: Government to log forests protected for the Greater Glider

The Andrews government has imminent plans to log forests which were supposed to be protected for the threatened Greater Glider. Back in 2018 we found a significant number of gliders in the Cottonwood area - we were told by the Environment Department that they were putting a protection area to save the gliders.

But we were alarmed when we saw the area was scheduled for logging in December, and was even resurveyed by the Environment Department earlier this year, even after they said they would protecting the forests!

Read the exclusive ABC story here. Take action and email decision makers to end logging now.

Greater Glider found in Steps Track by GECO citizen scientists

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New report exposes shocking failure to regenerate forests after logging

A shocking new report has exposed 1 in 3 areas logged fail to regenerate after logging - for Ash type forests half fail to regenerate after 3 years. The report, After the Logging, Failing to regrow Victoria's forests was co-published by 19 environment groups from across Victoria, including GECO, and shows the catastrophic impact logging is having on forests across the state.

Read the exclusive ABC coverage and download a copy of the report here.

TAKE ACTION HERE AND SEND THE REPORT TO YOUR STATE AND FEDERAL MP'S

 

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Andrews government guts protections for wildlife & forests

Last week the Victorian Government quietly sneaked through changes to the law which governs logging, gutting environment protections which were already poorly enforced. The changes weaken already outdated East Gippsland protections for the threatened Greater Glider - set to be listed as endangered after the devastating fires.

This could result in areas that would've been protected for the Glider being logged. At a time when stronger laws are desperately needed to curb the extinction crisis faced by so many animals threatened by logging - the Andrews government is making widespread, systemic illegal logging legal. Read the ABC coverage here.

Credit: Justin Cally - Southern Greater Glider

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How Vic Labor is cooking our climate - Illustrations by Jess Harwood

COP26 has started, and in the weeks leading up we've already seen the absolute shit show playing out in Federal politics over their plan to keep cooking the climate till 2050. But it's not just Scomo and the Federal government that are fuelling the climate crisis.

No matter what party, politician, or government, if you approve or endorse mining, logging, gas extraction - you are part of the problem. We need to show Vic Labor we don't support any of their climate wrecking policies.

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