Image for Lara bans peaceful forest vigil. Forestry Tas HQ protest. Ta Ann HQ picket arrests

25 March 2011

Media Release

Tasmanian Government Bans Peaceful Forest Vigil

Where – Executive Building 15 Murray st Hobart When – Today at 12 Noon

Community members will continue with their plans for a peaceful show of support for forest protection despite a last-minute ban by the State Government.

Since the 15th March campaigners and community members have been gathering for a forest vigil at the courtyard of the Government’s Executive Building. They have been sharing stories and calling for an immediate moratorium on high conservation value forests.

“Lara Gidding’s State Government informed those gathered at the vigil on Thursday that they will no longer be tolerated in the courtyard of the Executive Building,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.

“This is a petty and meanspirited response to Tasmanians who are expressing their genuine grief and concern at the loss of our precious forests,” Jenny Weber said.

“Today marks the last day of the ten day vigil, which commenced on the 15 March 2011, the deadline day for a full moratorium on logging in all Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.  The State Government failed to implement this promised moratorium and instead dealt a destructive blow to a large area of Tasmania’s unique and precious forests,” Jenny Weber said.

“Over the past ten days, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened have conducted a proactive campaign to prevent the loss of ancient ecosystems across Tasmania’s southern forests.  We have held eight logging shut down actions from Esperance in the far south to the Butlers Gorge forests of the central west.  Seven committed conservationists have been arrested for their non violent intervention in the ongoing loss of ancient forests,” Jenny Weber said.

“During that time more than 100 people have attended the forest vigil on the steps of the Executive Building.  The only communication we have received from the State Government is through media comments calling for our protests to end. Despite these attempts to marginalise our organisations there is widespread community support for protection of our high conservation value forests and condemnation of the Government’s failure to deliver on this ” Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Lily Leahy said.

“The forest vigil has provided a successful, peaceful opportunity for Tasmanians to share their concerns at the State Governments failure to act to protect our forests. We have received messages calling for Premier Lara Giddings to implement the promised moratorium from as far afield as Equador, Nicaragua, Galapagos Islands, and in states around Australia”  Lily Leahy said.

Media Release:  Forest conservationists present demands to Forestry Tasmania.

Where: Forestry Tasmania, Melville St, Hobart.

Time: 10 am.

This morning 10 conservationists entered the Forestry Tasmania office in Hobart to highlight the need for the immediate implementation of a moratorium on logging in Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.

Two protesters have scaled five meters to the roof of the atrium to hang a banner reading “Moratorium Now” from the dome ceiling. They have committed to remaining there until Forestry Tasmania meet their demands.

“We’re here to demand an immediate moratorium leading to protection of all high conservation value forests. We are refusing to exit the offices of Forestry Tasmania until this is met” said protester Dylan Grimwood.

““Today there are ancient trees falling in over 30 logging coupes around the state that should have been protected under moratorium by the 15th March. The moratorium is now 10 days overdue. Forestry Tasmania continues to obstruct and undermine this vital first step towards a solution to our forest crisis” Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Lily Leahy said.

“There is no moratorium and Forestry Tasmania have acted in bad faith by continuing to log in high conservation value forests. How can the Tasmanian community be expected to believe that the same organisation who broke the moratorium deadline can now be trusted to implement it?” Said Ms Leahy.

“Tasmania can’t wait any longer to have our forests protected. If the moratorium is not implemented immediately then Tasmania will stand to lose over five thousand hectares of pristine forest over the next six months” said Ms Leahy.



Ta Ann linked to (questionable logging practices) in Sarawak:

WHERE: Ta Ann Tasmania Head Office - 150 Davey St Hobart, next to Caltex Service Station

WHEN: 11am

Today, protesters are staging a sit in at Ta Ann’s Hobart office to raise awareness of the company’s involvement in the (questionable practices) of the Sarawak government and its Chief Minister Taib.

“Ta Ann has become one of Malaysia’s largest logging companies by benefiting from its close connection to the Chief Minister of Sarawak. The company’s CEO and majority shareholder Abdul Hamed Sepawi is the
Minister’s cousin and treasurer of his political party. Sepawi has become a billionaire through logging rights to hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests in Sarawak which were given to his company by Taib,”  said Adam Burling, Huon Valley Environment Centre

“In Sarawak, Ta Ann has profited from the logging of orangutan habitat and the displacement of indigenous people,” said Mr Burling

“In Tasmania, the forests of Esperance, Bruny Island, the Weld Valley, Arve and Picton Valleys are all falling to feed this multi-national logging giant’s appetite for trees. Our forests are continuing to make these billionaire logging barons richer while our state loses its wildlife and forests. Ta Ann claims it is getting these forests cheaper than in Sarawak, where it benefits from being part of the Borneo timber mafia. Its 20 year contracts for wood supply and demand for High Conservation Value forests jeopardise a moratorium on logging and the opportunity for a short term transition out of native forests,” said Mr Burling

“Ta Ann is part of the Taib family’s global network of ... environmental destruction. The company is controlled by the Sarawak Chief Minister’s cousin and a key crony. We have seen Ta Ann destroying the tropical rainforests of Sarawak. Now they are doing the same to the Tasmanian forests,” said Lukas Straumann, Bruno Manser Fund (Switzerland based NGO)

A copy of the Bruno Manser Fund’s report linking Ta Ann to the questionable activities in Sarawak can be found HERE.

• Three protesters have been arrested.