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TASMANIAN DEVILS DEMAND DEN PROTECTION

26th April 2012 – 15 conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Code Green are conducting a “sit in” at Forestry Tasmania’s Hobart headquarters, dressed as Tasmanian devils. The groups are calling for the protection of maternal devil den sites and formal reserves to secure habitat areas. The “devils” have occupied the atrium of the Forestry Tasmania building and are refusing to leave.

Today’s action highlights community concerns surrounding recent findings of a healthy juvenile devil in an area scheduled for logging, in the forest of the Tyenna Valley, surrounding The Observer Tree. Miranda Gibson, permanent resident of The Observer Tree platform for the past four months, released footage of the young devil on Monday

“This footage is evidence of the existence of devil dens in the area. In December Still Wild Still Threatened released footage of a mother devil in the same location. Had logging proceeded in this area over summer, the maternal den site would have been disturbed and this young devil may not have survived. This highlights the importance of protecting these forests for the future survival of this species” said Ms Gibson

“Maternal dens are used from generation to generation. It is likely that this young devil may raise young in the same area. With these findings it is now more critical than ever that these high conservation value forests are formally protected” said Ms Gibson.

“Tasmanians are calling for greater protection for Tasmania’s most iconic species. The Tasmanian devil and other endemic species are at risk of extinction due to rapid decreases in population and secure undisturbed habitat. The community is demanding Forestry Tasmania and the State Government install immediate measures to ensure the restoration and protection of habitat for our unique species. Protection of the 572,000ha of native forests, over half of which were identified by the government’s experts as key habitat for the Tasmanian Devil, is the obvious first step to take.” said spokesperson for today’s action Ali Alishah (Still Wild Still Threatened).

UPDATE:
Four conservationists have been arrested today at Forestry Tasmania’s Hobart headquarters. An alliance of forest groups including Still Wild Still Threatened, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Code Green conducted a “sit in” dressed as Tasmanian devils. The “devils” occupied the atrium of the Forestry Tasmania building and refused to leave. Four demonstrators were arrested and charged with committing a Trespass. They have subsequently been released on bail.

“Today’s successful action has shown the level of community concern regarding the welfare of this endangered species. With recent findings of a healthy juvenile devil in the forest near the base of my tree, there has been widespread concern about the impact of logging operations on young devils and in particular on maternal devil dens” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Miranda Gibson.

“These committed conservationists today have risked arrest in order to highlight the plight of the endangered Tasmanian devil. The protection of habitat and maternal den sites is a critical first step to ensuring the survival of the Tasmanian devil” said Ms Gibson.

Tasmania Forest Defender In Jail, Needs Support

Tasmania Forest Defender In Jail, Needs Support

from Huon Valley Environmental Centre

Nishant Datt will spend one month in jail after breaching a suspended sentence whilst participating in a protest at the Huon Valley Ta Ann mill. He was also sentenced to a further one month imprisonment wholly suspended for 18 months.

Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said, “Nishant Datt has been a defender of the wild forests of Tasmania for seven…

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One week until worldwide event to mark environmentalist's year-long tree top vigil - live-stream from the tree tops

On December 14th 2012 Australian environmentalist Miranda Gibson will mark 12 months since stepping foot on the ground with a live feed to the world from the tree tops. Ms Gibson holds the Australian record for the longest tree sit.

“When I climbed this tree on December 14th 2011 and vowed to remain here until the forest was protected, I had no idea how long I would have to stay up here. Sadly, a year later Tasmania’s forests continue to remain under threat from industrial scale logging.” said Ms Gibson.

“My tree top vigil has acted as a constant reminder that the forests are still in need of urgent protection. It has been a challenging year, but it has also been incredible to experience first-hand the values of these forests, including witnessing endangered wedge tailed eagles soaring above me and enjoying the first snow fall of winter. ”

Ms Gibson has been living on a small platform suspended at the top of the tree. Using solar power she has connected with people around the globe, updating her blog and giving talks via skype.

On December 14th the world will join her in the call for forest protection, with thousands expected to take part in the campaigns first live-stream event. Miranda will address the online event via a live-feed from the tree tops, allowing participants to send in comments and questions. The line up will also include international guest speakers. Community events are planned around Australia to celebrate.

“The support I have received from right across the globe has been a constant source of inspiration. I am looking forward to celebrating this milestone, of one year in the tree, with all of those people who have encouraged and inspired me to keep going”

“But my true hope is that we will all be celebrating the World Heritage protection of these ancient forests very soon. This forest that has been independently verified as world heritage value and needs a guarentee of secure protection. Only then will I return to the ground.”

“We are expecting a strong show of support for the one year anniversary. I will be asking people to send in their messages, photos and videos to tell the world why our forests need protection.”

“Despite the recently signed forest agreement, this forest remains under threat. There is still no guarentee if or when the proposed reserves will be protected. I am committed to staying at the top of this tree for as long as it takes, bringing an international spotlight on these forests, to bring about the protection they so urgently need”

Miranda is available to do interviews via phone or skype.
Contact: 0414 535 164 or email
observertree2011@gmail.com.

Tony Abbott is wrong - Australia’s forest protection more important in age of climate change

Media Release - 5th March 2014

Australia’s forest advocacy groups have responded to Prime Minister Tony Abbotts attack on forests and praise for the industry that destroys them.  Many of Australia’s forest conservation groups have been working to have the remaining forests and the wildlife within them protected over the decades.  

WA Forest Alliance spokesperson Jess Beckerling said, “Fancy thinking that loggers, who are clearfelling ancient ecosystems at taxpayers’ expense, are the ‘ultimate conservationists’. It goes to show that the Prime Minister has no idea what protection of Australia’s most precious places even means. Tony Abbott is running a shameless attack against the places we love; our forests, marine parks, the Great Barrier Reef. It’s no wonder we’re seeing a resurgence of peaceful direct action around the country.”

Peg Putt, CEO of Markets For Change, said, “The Prime Minister’s determination to log precious native forests when it is documented to be ecologically unsustainable jeopardises the markets of the forest industry which these days demand high environmental credentials in the wood products they sell.”

"He would assist the industry into a viable future more effectively and create more secure jobs if he supported utilising existing plantations for value added product and took the pressure off nature, Peg Putt said.

“Converting the ailing woodchipping export trade into industrial scale incineration of forests to produce electricity is a plan that will harm the climate and horrify consumers,” Peg Putt said.

Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland said, “Just as the latest CSIRO report shows Australia’s extreme weather is set to get worse and become the norm, our PM is advocating the further clearfelling and logging of natural forests in order to keep a failing native forest industry struggling against the tide.”

“If there was an international court to try the world’s worst environmental criminals Tony Abbott would be in the dock! He is an appalling/embarrassing example as the leader of a developed nation, at a time when the world’s natural environments are all under extreme stress,” Jill Redwood said.

“Forests are critical in the fight to moderate our climate. There are plantations enough ready to process right now into sawn timber as well as woodchips for paper, without the need to cut down one more stick of native forest” said Jill Redwood.

Tim Gentles from Goongerah Environment Centre said, "The Abbott government has shown themselves to be dangerously irrational when it comes to the economic and environmental reality of native forest logging. Tony Abbott appears happy to undo the protection of our loved and iconic forests whilst allowing millions of taxpayer dollars to disappear for the benefit of offshore companies like Ta Ann and Nippon Paper." 

Harriett Swift spokesperson for South East Region Conservation Alliance said, “At a time when the national government should be looking at protecting native forests as an affordable way of combating climate change, Mr Abbott is declaring war on them.  Mr Abbott has made it blindingly clear why his government is not prepared to subject the logging industry to the same hard line ‘no subsidy’ ideology that other industries are facing. Abbott pledged to treat this industry that has privileged subsidies at the expense of tax-payers, “You aren’t just any industry,” he told them.”

Markets For Change, Goongerah Environment Centre VIC, Environment East Gippsland VIC, Huon Valley Environment Centre TAS, South East Region Conservation Alliance NSW, Still Wild Still Threatened TAS, My Environment VIC

Australian Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s dreadful proposal to excise intact forests of tall eucalyptus from the far south, Esperance, Picton, Weld, Snowy ranges, Lune and Hastings - and that is just the Huon region.

Tasmania’s World Heritage extension was long fought for by community groups, conservationists and scientists. The evidence is in and it is compelling. The Federal Liberal party promised to do this and they were voted in…. Not with our vote.

Logging destruction of area nominated for World Heritage listing continues in secret- exposed by environmentalists

Media Release 13th Feb 2013 - World Heritage value forests nominated a fortnight ago by the Australian government for inclusion on the World Heritage register are still not safe and are being logged in secret, Tasmanian environment groups Still Wild Still Threatened, and Huon Valley Environment Centre and national group Markets For Change revealed today.

A detailed report as well as film footage of the ongoing destruction, collected since the nomination, including the installation of new forestry gates to exclude the public was released by the groups. Footage also shows the threatened forests that have not yet seen a chainsaw, although Forestry Tasmania has plans to log the intact areas with the knowledge and apparent agreement of the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke.

An online action will today be launched from the Observer Tree through social media, where people can write to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Environment Minister Tony Burke, asking for urgent action to halt the logging of the extraordinary values of the nominated World Heritage Value forests. Also a group of conservationists held a banner out the front of Canberra’s Parliament House this morning calling on Gillard and Burke, “You nominated the forests now stop the logging”.

“When Minister Burke announced that the World Heritage nomination had gone to Paris I was overjoyed. Yet what he failed to announce was that the logging of these forests of global significance would continue. This is unacceptable and I am now compelled to remain in my tree sit until these forests are actually safe, as they should have been as soon as their values were put forward to the World Heritage Committee ,” said Miranda Gibson from the Observer Tree.

Conservationists bring a messages from around the world to Canberra today.

“Conservationists in Canberra today are bringing the voice of the global community to the Australian Government. They have displayed a banner that features over 300 images sent in from around the globe, as the international community called for the protection of these world heritage value forests. Many more people will continue to bring the message to Gillard and Burke through the online action,” said Ms Gibson.

Miranda Gibson said, “In Butlers Gorge nearby the Observer Tree the tall forests are recognised to be absolutely outstanding wilderness and very significant tracts of the tallest flowering plants on the planet, yet this is where logging is ripping the place apart with three separate industrial scale operations.”

Current logging in Butlers Gorge

“The Australian government is abrogating its responsibility to protect the very World Heritage values they have nominated and many conservationists will be shocked that this could happen and angry that they have been kept in the dark about the continued logging. We are calling on the Federal Government to prevent any new logging from commencing and ensure that any current logging cease, so as to maintain the integrity and values of the World Heritage nominated forests.” said Jenny Weber of Huon Valley Environment Centre.

Jenny Weber said, “In the Huon region, seven areas of forests, with extraordinary values are scheduled for ongoing logging. The loggers are not in any of these forest areas now and we do not accept that logging should commence. In the far south in the Catamaran, the tall eucalypt forests in the Esperance and wilderness forests in the Picton Valley, we will not stand by while logging is scheduled to start in these world heritage value forests.”

These unique ecosystems in the Huon are on the schedule to supply timber to Ta Ann whose plywood flooring has already proved controversial in the Japanese market, which is another unacceptable source,” Jenny Weber said.

“Companies selling Tasmanian wood products will now be receiving supplies coming from forests nominated for protection for their world heritage values, a confronting prospect when the markets are actually crying out for improved environmental performance,” said CEO of Markets For Change, Peg Putt.

“Imagine a label on furniture or flooring saying ‘world heritage values died here’ and you get the idea of how horrified consumers will be and the damage this can do to the reputation of Tasmanian timber products just when world heritage recognition was supposed to crown the Tasmanian Forests Agreement. No wonder these logging plans were not publicly announced.”

“A failure of political will is now undermining both the industry and the best environmental treasures of Tasmania and the Prime Minister needs to take the matter in hand and insist that the world heritage values her government has nominated are not under assault for a single day more,” Ms Putt concluded.`

Click HERE to read the report.

From the threatened forests of Butlers Gorge all the way to Parliament House in Canberra- this banner is sharing the messages of support from around the globe, calling for world heritage forest protection.

Environment groups selling Tasmanian Forest Destruction to Sarawak timber giant customers

Media Release 23 Jan 2013 - The Wilderness Society today announced they would be travelling to Japan in the coming week accompanied by staff of the controversial Sarawak timber company Ta Ann, to lobby customers and secure this timber company’s international markets.

Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said, “Our forest advocacy organisation does not support the visit by The Wilderness Society to Japan to meet with Japanese customers of Ta Ann. This misguided delegation to Japan by The Wilderness Society is being undertaken without a stick of forest being protected in Tasmania and without any certainty that the Legislative Council will install industry reforms to move forestry in Tasmania away from a reliance on native forest destruction.” 

“Logging is still happening inside the proposed reserves and no new reserves have been created yet. Ta Ann’s Tasmanian product is still coming from proposed reserves where the forests have extraordinarily unique conservation values. This is not acceptable to the market.” Jenny Weber said.

“Environment groups providing environmental credentials for an industry who continues to provide a controversial wood product is not ok, while forests remain unprotected and logging continues unabated, this endorsement is putting the cart before the horse. The logical and reasonable approach in anyone’s book would be to provide a green tick to forestry in Tasmania once its practices have actually changed. This cannot happen while native forest is clear felled, biodiversity is lost and Sarawak timber mafias are driving the destruction,” Jenny Weber said.

“Our campaign has been to inform the Japanese customers of their controversial wood supply by Ta Ann and request Ta Ann and their Japanese customers to cease receiving timber from the destruction of Tasmania’s forests,” Jenny Weber said.

“Our opposition to this tour of environment groups endorsing Ta Ann, is about companies being rewarded for a legacy of environmental destruction and human rights violations overseas before there are any changes made by the company to halt their controversial practices,” Jenny Weber said.

Forest Protester sent to jail in Tasmania

Feb 24th, 2014 - Media Release

Nishant Datt will spend one month in jail after breaching a suspended sentence whilst participating in a protest at the Huon Valley Ta Ann mill. He was also sentenced to a further one month imprisonment wholly suspended for 18 months.

Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said, “Nishant Datt has been a defender of the wild forests of Tasmania for seven years.  The newly listed World Heritage value forests are the places that he has worked tirelessly to defend from logging.”

“Those people who are aware of environmental destruction are morally compelled to highlight this. In the face of Government ineptitude and a short-sighted industry, this often calls for non-violent protest in order to prevent the loss of unique forests,” Jenny Weber said.

“If it wasn’t for people like Nishant, the Upper Florentine Valley would have been riddled with 15 clearfells, and instead remains an intact ecosystem of tall eucalyptus forest that is World Heritage listed,” Jenny Weber said.

“The State Liberal Party is proposing new laws for mandatory sentences and big fines for protesters and conservation organisations if they are elected to government.  This type of disproportionate, heavy-handed crackdown on the environment movements is designed to push a political agenda. People will remain committed to being on the frontline defending the environment as long as it is being destroyed,” Jenny Weber said.

We will conduct a prisoner support campaign for Nish, which will include posting him letters while Nish is in prison.

Please help Nish pay his legal costs by donating here.

youtube

The chainsaws that you were not meant to see in world heritage nominated forests. Please share this film and take online action at taann.good.do

Tasmanian Forest Activists vow to continue campaigns

Media Release 21 Jan 2013 - Tasmania’s grassroots forest organisations have spent a successful activist skillshare weekend in the threatened world heritage value Picton Valley. Through workshops, guest speakers, peddle powered film nights, activists have left the January Justice event with increased knowledge about the Tasmanian forests issue. 

Events continue this week with a visit to the ObserverTree planned for tomorrow and intensive workshops in Hobart in the coming days.

Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said, “Sixty people participated in the intensive skillshare event, with key note speakers, Bob Brown, Roland Browne, Peg Putt and Alistair Graham giving perspectives on Tasmania’s forest issue.  Additional workshops provided by activists, ranged from conflict resolution, social media campaigning, transition out of native forest logging to understanding legal rights of activists and using fauna monitoring cameras,”

“People came from campaigns around Australia, James Price Point in Broome and East Gippsland Victoria and from around Tasmania to collaborate in learning about campaign tactics and non-violent action.” Jenny Weber said.

“Weeks of harassment by pro-logging people and threats to disrupt the event, failed to impact on the activist skillshare which was the most successful in it’s eight year history.  Tactics employed by the pro-logging people included threats of violence, someone impersonating a journalist interviewing me to seek details about the event,” Jenny Weber said.

“Our grassroots groups who collaborated to host the positive alliance building gathering have vowed to continue to organise for the protection of Tasmania’s native forests,” Jenny Weber said.

Scrutiny of controversial support for Ta Ann in Tasmania

Media Release 21st Dec 2012 - Environment groups Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened have called for an immediate and comprehensive moratorium on all forests nominated for protection, as the key driver of forest destruction Ta Ann has announced it would close over January.  The State Government could provide an immediate moratorium, with-out the business as usual logging that the failed moratoriums have had in the past.    

“A real moratorium on logging in the world heritage value and national heritage value forests will provide the necessary protection for these areas. If Ta Ann is scaling back operations for January, then the logging can be scaled back too,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson Jenny Weber said.

“Ta Ann’s announcements of a seven week shut down and an agreement to accept lower peeler log supply from public forest, means there is no reason for those forests nominated for future reserves to be lost to clear-felling this summer.  For this company to re-open in 2013 and continue to accept wood from verified national and world heritage value forest would fuel controversy in the international market and is unacceptable,” Miranda Gibson spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened said.

The organisations state their opposition to a premature environmental endorsement for Ta Ann in the markets.

“Ta Ann’s announcement that some environment groups will assist the company in January with a ‘market support program’, belittles the credibility of these environment groups and gives false certainty for the Japanese customers of Ta Ann. Premature endorsement for Ta Ann before secure protection of high conservation value forests is delivered is unacceptable.  Endorsement for Ta Ann in their markets by environment groups will be supporting a timber product that is tainted with the loss of globally significant forests, threatened species impacts and large scale clear-felling,” Jenny Weber said.

“Certainty for forest protection has not been provided, so the largest timber company in Tasmania that is the key driver of world heritage and national heritage forests should not be provided market security,” Jenny Weber said.

"Ta Ann has not yet proven that they will cease accepting wood from the controversial forests that are the concern of the international community and customers. The company cannot expect to gain environmental credibility internationally without making those changes. And the market support they intend to receive from some environment groups cannot be a replacement for making real change to their ongoing destructive practices" said Miranda Gibson,

Our organisations are concerned that there are a range of issues arising from Ta Ann in Tasmania that require closer scrutiny including taxpayer funding for a multi-million dollar company, and the intention of the company to maintain their timber supply at 265 000 cubic metres, with 140 000 cubic metres being provided by private land at the same time that a weakening of the forest practices code spells threats to biodiversity.   

"Ta Ann is set to be provided financial assistance by the State Government, with one example being a cheaper electricity deal. For tax-payer funds to support a multi-million dollar company, in a time when our community struggle with high power prices is an insult to the Tasmanian public," said Jenny Weber

“Furthermore Federal tax-payer compensation for the company will be provided after their contracted wood supply could not be met by Forestry Tasmania; however Ta Ann is looking to make up the difference in their contracted wood supply from private land,” Jenny Weber said.

“Ta Ann stands to be the biggest winner out of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, while the forests continue to be lost. Environment groups will give them a tick of approval despite the company being one of the most controversial companies to operate in Tasmania’s environmental landscape, while the tax-payer will prop up a multi-million dollar company,” Jenny Weber said.

"Tasmania has not yet seen one hectare of forest guaranteed secure protection through this forest agreement. Yet despite the uncertainty for the forests Ta Ann are being further propped up by the Government to continue operating in this state, without any evidence that they will cease accepting high conservation value forests," Miranda Gibson said. 

"Ta Ann’s announcements highlight the complete hypocrisy of the forest agreement. While logging is set to continue business as usual in high conservation value forests, the industry are being supported to continue that destruction without a guarantee for the forests,” Miranda Gibson said.

NEW FOREST SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE MAKES CASE FOR MORATORIUM

Thursday 5th April, 2012 - The full cycle of logging incursions inside Tasmania’s verified, but unprotected, high conservation value forests has been captured in eye-opening new surveillance aerial footage filmed yesterday, which reinforces the case and urgency for an immediate moratorium on logging activity.

These four environment groups have offered an olive branch comprising a suspension of their market action in Japan for one month on the condition that a moratorium is imposed over the 572,000 hectares under discussion for potential future reservation, whilst forest talks take place.

“We are yet to receive a response on the offer we made to government and the industry, and in the meantime we have gained spectacular new footage showing forests inside the 572 000ha that are being logged, roaded and burnt right now,” said Jenny Weber of Huon Valley Environment Centre.

“The cycle of forest destruction in Tasmania stems from the roads pushed in to pristine forest, large scale industrial logging operations and high intensity burning. The outstanding values of the forests are completely destroyed and we are losing significant tracts of world-class forests every single day.”

“At a time when the focus should be on moving out and moving on, Forestry Tasmania is instead bulldozing new logging roads deep into wilderness of global significance and logging verified World Heritage forests. Make no mistake, this is strategic destruction and must be reined in,” Ms Weber said.

“The rapid devastation that is occurring in Butlers Gorge is seeing their unique ecosystems lost by ongoing logging operations. This area has been identified by the West report as one of the most significant tracts of Tasmania’s tall eucalpyt forests. The wilderness values of these forests are indicated as a key reason for the recommendation of adding them to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area,” said Miranda Gibson of Still Wild Still Threatened from the Observer Tree.

“Apocalyptic vision of the Forestry Tasmania regeneration burn in the Plenty Valley taken during our surveillance flight shows the unacceptable practice that blanketed The Channel in smoke yesterday.  We filmed the aftermath of such fires inside the high conservation value area,” said Ula Majewski of The Last Stand.

“Regarding our olive branch offer, we have delivered a formal letter to government and await their response,” said Peg Putt, representing Markets for Change.

“We reiterate that our offer of a moratorium on market action is conditional on not continuing to log the forests under discussion for protection. Forestry Tasmania’s blatant attack on forests of the highest value which we have revealed, and their refusal to consider moving out, is a serious problem,” Ms Putt concluded.

Image: Forestry Tasmania regeneration burn in the Plenty Valley (inside the 572 000ha identified for protection). 4 April 2012. Photo by Rob Blakers

VIEW SLIDESHOW OF IMAGES HERE

Forestry Tasmania jobs are on the line as the Liberal party prepare to slash millions of dollars from the troubled company.

Forestry Tasmania jobs are on the line as the Liberal party prepare to slash millions of dollars from the troubled company. Though this story points to Hodgman back-flipping on the plan, and tending to keeping it afloat if necessary. As has been the case for far too long. People employed at Forestry Tasmania should be moved into departments within the Govt, split up the functions of FT and get rid of this taxpayer draining agency that causes environmental damage, from the soil to the stripping of native forests to polluting the air with regeneration  burns.

Forest Stewardship Council public stakeholder consultation forum - Seeking feedback on the draft International Generic Indicators and the first phase of developing the Australian National FSC Forestry Management Standard.

Are you interested in having your say about forestry issues? Please share and register for this free FSC Stakeholder Forum in Hobart:
Date: 21/2/2014
Time: 11:00am - 3:00pm Location: Centenary Lecture Theatre, Bld 10, University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus.

Tasmanian Labor promise to destroy climate, wildlife habitat and native forests in latest election policy to fund a biomass industry

Media Release 31.1.14 - Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber today stated, “In a new low for Tasmania, the Premier has made a state election promise for $500 000 to build a polluting native forest fuelled biomass industry.  We can’t afford to trash our forests for bioenergy. Our precious forests must be protected for wildlife, water and the air we breathe. Trashing native forests for bio-energy will make climate change worse,”

“Promising a biomass industry for Tasmania is irresponsible.  A biomass industry would be a threat to people’s health, the wildlife that depend on intact native forests for habitat, and the climate. A transition out of native forest logging and clearfelling in Tasmania will provide a responsible way forward for our community and the climate,” Jenny Weber said. 

“ Tasmanian Labor has excessively wasted taxpayer funds to prop up the native forest industry, an industry that needs to make comprehensive reform to move away from reliance on polluting, broad scale logging and wildlife habitat destruction,” Jenny Weber said.

“The absurd notion that a biomass industry is about using the ‘waste’ in the logging operation is only trying to cloud the truth.   It will replace or supplement the export woodchip trade. The woodchip trade in the past has driven the destruction of native forests in Tasmania while the community was lied to that it was a by-product of the industry.  Now that Tasmania has lost the woodchip market and the forests continue to be trashed, Labor is out to help it’s logging mates burn the forests for bio-energy to allow for entrenched native forest destruction,” Jenny Weber said.

Greg Hunt seeks to wind back World Heritage protection for Tasmanian forests

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed for the first time that the Abbott government will formally seek to wind back World Heritage listing of Tasmania’s forests, less than a year after it was approved.

Mr Hunt said the government would meet an upcoming World Heritage Committee deadline to propose a boundary change to the 170,000-hectare extension agreed by the committee last June.

He refused to rule out seeking the removal of protection from the bitterly disputed old growth forest valleys just added to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Instead Mr Hunt said the new adjustment would maintain protection for all pre-existing national parks, and seek to exclude degraded areas that should never have been part of the wilderness.

The tall eucalypt forests that formed the heart of the 2012 extension were fought over for a generation, sometimes with violence such as assaults on protesters and in the firebombing of loggers’ equipment.

When settled by the committee at its Phnom Penh meeting, it was described by then environment minister Tony Burke as Australia’s most contentious heritage boundary.

"These are extraordinarily precious areas of forest,” Mr Burke said.

But the Liberal Party campaigned successfully in Tasmania at the last federal election on a wind-back of the extension.

”We were critical of the process for adding that, and we were critical of the content of much of it,” Mr Hunt said in Hobart on Thursday.

Asked whether the government would meet the February 1 deadline for changes to be put before the next committee meeting,  Mr Hunt said “correct”.

He declined to release details of the proposed changes before they were submitted, or to specify the fate of areas like the hotly-disputed Styx and Florentine Valleys of central Tasmania.

"I think it’s important to recognise there are degraded areas which should never have been included," Mr Hunt said.

"It’s quite bizarre that you have heavily logged and destroyed areas which simply weren’t up to standard included.

"And then you have very high conservation areas which were included in the national parks.

”All of those pre-existing national parks will be maintained, and I think that’s a pretty good outcome.

"There was a minor boundary adjustment of 170,000 ha. using the terms of the World Heritage process over the last year or so.

”There is a significantly smaller minor boundary adjustment which will go now.”

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said tiny areas of the extension had been logged.

She said like other previously logged World Heritage forests, such as the California Redwoods, they had been included to keep the integrity of the wilderness, and allow restoration of degraded areas.

"This appalling move by Greg Hunt will continue a well established pattern of Australia demeaning itself in a global context under the Abbott government," Senator Milne said.

"Just this week we have the case brought by East Timor against us in the International Court of Justice, Australia is under attack for abuse of the refugee convention, and the Prime Minister saying in Davos that government should get out of the way of business.

"Now Mr Hunt is going to humiliate Australia before the World Heritage Committee."

Senator Milne said there was a strong possibility that such a move could lead to an “in danger” listing by the committee for the Tasmanian wilderness.

"The Greens and conservation groups will lobby the committee to oppose this reckless and destructive action," she said.

Grassroots action in defense of native forests

"Fearless Summer Australia is a movement escalating across the country, to take action to stop the industrial scale destruction of our native forests. Everyone who supports real forest protection is invited to take part in this movement for change. Co-ordinated grassroots non-violent direct actions will take place in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales – as well as anywhere that you would like to organise one! Solidarity actions can take part any where in the world. Contact us if you want help to organise an action in your area, or send us your info, media releases or pics and we’ll post it to the website."