On Saturday May 20th, the day Victoria's anti-protest laws come into effect, a mass survey action has been planned to protect forests, and the right to protest.
Photo credit Lisa Roberts
Taking place at various locations across the state, this mass action is being organised by a big group of folks who put their hand up at our mass meeting on the right to organise for climate and the environment.
The motion from the meeting this action refers to is below:
Surveying by citizen scientists is the act of looking for threatened species in an area slated to be logged in order to trigger specific protections, and protect forests as a result. Surveying is also an excellent way to connect with the forest and all the important beings that call it home. All forest protectors, those at blockades or citizen scientists, are targeted with these new anti-protest laws.
These laws were introduced on May 24th 2022 by Mary-Anne Thomas and seconded by Ingrid Stitt, who is now the Minister for the Environment. These anti-protest laws follow suit with those introduced in Queensland, NSW, and Tasmania aimed at targeting climate and forest activists with heavy-handed penalties. More details on the laws and their national trend can be found here.
- New powers to search vehicles, confiscate personal belongings and ban people on suspicion of an offence.
- The length of time someone is banned can be varied according to the head of the Department Jobs, Precincts, and Regions, otherwise it is a minimum of 28 days.
- Like the Queensland laws they also expand the description of a prohibited thing to include a PVC or a metal pipe.
- If someone is found using one of these prohibited items to hinder, obstruct, or interfere with logging, the fines can increase to $21,000 or up to 12 months jail time.
- These laws can be can be applied by ‘authorised officers’, aka the Game Management Authority, and do not rely on the police to be enforced.
In a time of climate crisis, we must defend the right to protest, not diminish it. Join us and be part of an epic action to protect and restore these critical forest ecosystems that we all depend on, and defend the right to protest in the process.
Photo credit Mat Tompkins