Action Halts Rainforest Logging
Errinundra Plateau

On the 8 February, several conservationists were driving at night towards Goolengook. They were on Errinundra Rd, noticed heavy tracks coming out of an area of old growth forest just before Alstergen Rd on the left. They followed the un-named road (later dubbed “Shotgun Rd”) to investigate. They found a coupe which had logged National Estate-value old growth forest in the headwaters of the Delegate River. They noticed Sassafras trees piled in a log pile realising cool temperate rain forest was also being clearfelled as part of the operation. On their way out, the contractor, camped on the road, pulled a gun on them and said not to return.

On the 9 February, a group of about twelve conservationists (including myself) returned to the scene. We found the contractor and crew at work. We approached the first machine (log loader) and asked the worker whether this was a legal logging operation. He replied that he did not know and stopped the machine. We then approached the second machine (bulldozer), being driven up a steep track by the contractor Mr Alan Beveridge. He was hauling a log behind him. Three members of our group approached the machine at close range. We asked him to stop - he didn’t, forcing the three people to climb onto the blade while he continued working. He moved the blade up and down shaking the three men. He then stopped and took swings at Tom and Justin. Then he continued driving up the hill shaking the blade roughly up and down. The protestors lives were undoubtedly at risk.Several of us were running along beside the dozer telling him to stop driving. There was very little space between us and the embankment - which we had to scramble quickly up to avoid being crushed as he drove on. One woman (Cara) stood on the tracks of the machine while he had stopped - when he resumed driving, they were moving under her feet, she could have been thrown and crushed.

When Mr. Beveridge reached the log loader he turned the dozer off and resorted to continued verbal abuse as well as physically assaulting several people. I saw him rough Carlos up - ripping his t-shirt, causing his finger to bleed and punching his microphone. Carlos replied that we were here peacefully and not intending to do damage to any of his personal property, so he shouldn't touch ours. Mr.Beveridge also threatened me with two fists right in my face, whilst yelling at me. Other members of our group had to restrain him.

He refused to answer whether he had a licence to log rainforests or remove rainforest timbers, or whether he was undertaking a legal operation. He told us to "go talk to the forestry". He also said he’d like to see logging stop for two years, as well as accusing us of being dole bludgers. One person replied that at 9c per tonne, the logging industry is effectively on the dole due to it's massive subsidisation. He just said he didn't listen to what we people said. He was not open to request for dialogue.

He and his crew left the coupe. We consolidated ourselves, recovering from Mr. Beveridge’s physical and verbal violence, and inspected the rainforest. To my knowledge, cool temperate rainforest is being cleared in this coupe, despite the DNRE’s policy on no rainforest logging. The RFA is not working and has not protected important, sensitive areas.

Shelley Barnes