Forest conservationists from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) have established an old growth forest blockade this morning at Granite Mountain, near the Errinundra National Park in far East Gippsland. A person is suspended 10 metres above the ground, hanging from a tripod structure that is blocking access to the logging operation.
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.
“This untouched forest on Granite Mountain has never been logged, it contains many large old growth trees that are hundreds of years old. It’s appalling that in 2018 the state Labor government are still logging untouched forests, mostly to be exported as woodchips,” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.
“It is nothing short of absurd, that despite the current legal proceedings against them, the Andrew’s Labor government continue to log these forests that could be required for protection if they are to fulfil their old growth protection obligations,” 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”
High resolution images and vision available on request