Environmentalists who have today set up a tree sit on the slopes of Mt Mueller, near Maydena, are understandably frustrated by inaction on the intergovernmental agreement that was supposed to protect Tasmania’s forests, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
“On 7 August the Tasmanian and Australian governments signed an agreement to immediately protect 430,000ha of forest until an independent verification process was completed,” Senator Brown said.
“Four months later not one hectare has been protected and Forestry Tasmania continues to fell these magnificent trees as fast as they can put the roads in. All up, more than 10km2 of our wild forests will be destroyed.
“Today, this brave young woman, Miranda Gibson, is perched in a coupe that was supposed to have been protected four months ago but on Monday logging began.
“The Australian and Tasmanian governments are taking too long to implement the intergovernmental agreement. If they can get their act together to offer contractors exit packages then they can honour the conservation agreement as well,” Senator Brown said.
Aerial vision of the tree sit will be available from ABC Tasmania and stills are available from Senator Brown.
ANGER OVER FAILURE TO DELIVER IGA CONSERVATION GOALS
Nick McKim MP
The Tasmanian Greens today condemned the lack of progress on meeting the conservation goals contained in the Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, which were agreed to in August to by the Prime Minister and Premier.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said it was understandable that some Tasmanians felt the need to resort to forest protests, given that a clear commitment to protect 430 000 hectares as Informal Reserves under a Conservation Agreement was yet to be delivered.
“Tasmanians are becoming fed up with the lack of progress on delivering the conservation goals agreed to in the IGA, and what we’re seeing is a clear expression of that frustration,” Mr McKim said.
“Forestry Tasmania’s claim that it cannot meet its wood supply contracts without ongoing logging the identified 430 000 hectares should be taken with a grain of salt, and looks like a desperate attempt to lock in business as usual.”
“The IGA is meant to end the conflict in Tasmania’s forests, but that will never happen while parties refuse to comply with the requirement for protection of the identified 430 000 hectares of high conservation value native forests.”
“The IGA was designed to deliver conservation outcomes as well as restructure the timber industry, and both these goals must be delivered concurrently.”
“Clause 25 of the IGA states that the 430, 000 hectares identified in the agreement would be placed immediately into Informal Reserves, and the Greens’ expect this to be upheld,” Mr McKim said.
• Activists unveil new tool in forest fight: ObserverTree networks threatened forest to the world
Still Wild Still Threatened activists will launch a new tool in the fight to protect Tasmania’s forests today, unveiling the ObserverTree, A 17-storey high tree sit and media centre equipped with the technology to record footage of logging operations and stream these images live to the world via the internet.
The ObserverTree is located in logging coupe TN044B, below Mt Mueller, in Tasmania’s western wilderness, part of the 430,000 ha of forest that was supposed to receive immediate protection under the federal-state agreement on forests (the IGA). Logging in TN044B commenced this Monday.
Teacher, author and forest activist Miranda Gibson has vowed to occupy the tree-platform continuously, until real protection is secured for Tasmania’s forests. Ms Gibson will maintain a daily blog and upload video updates during her stay in the tree, documenting the struggle to protect Tasmania’s forests to concerned people all over the globe.
‘In August, Julia Gillard promised ‘immediate protection’ for 430,000 hectares of high conservation value forest in Tasmania and promised compensation to affected contract holders. Yet Forestry Tasmania is blatantly disregarding the Prime Minister’s direction by persisting with destructive logging and road-building within the nominated area,’
said Ms Gibson.
‘We have used the internet to connect this spectacular patch of threatened Tasmanian forest to the world. The ObserverTree will transmit images and information about the value of the thousands of hectares of forest that remain threatened if Julia Gillard does not keep her word. People across Australia and the globe will have the opportunity to view bear witness to the wasteful destruction of these forests and hear from the people fighting to protect them,’ said Ms Gibson.
But wait, there’s more:
Pic: Bob Brown
Rainforest Information Centre:
A BLOW IS STRUCK AGAINST THE BORNEO TIMBER MAFIA
The Rainforest Information Centre has been fighting the Borneo timber mafia for over 20 years, organising roadshows around the world in support of the Penan hunter gatherers and timber ship blockades around Australia. Earlier this year we helped organize an international day of action against Sarawak Chief Minister Taib including protests outside his properties in Sydney and Adelaide.
We are one of 13 international signatories to a letter delivered yesterday to the Malaysian government and police laying corruption charges against Taib and his family and calling for their immediate arrest.
To-day this letter was widely publicized in Malaysian media and we just learnt that the Malaysian opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat unanimously supports our call for the immediate arrest of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. According to the Malaysian internet news service Malaysiakini, the three Pakatan Rakyat coalition partners have issued statements in which they are saying that a failure to arrest and prosecute the Taib family “would severely affect Malaysia’s credibility locally and abroad.”