Logging shut down across Victoria: seven protests in one day

Mt Cole

Logging operations were shut down across Victoria on Tuesday with protesters entering active coupes in Lakes Entrance, Mt Cole, Toolangi, Warburton, Cambarville, Baw Baw and Noojee.

Traditional Owners, regional communities and climate and conservation groups are calling for an immediate end to logging in native forests across the state and the country.

Tactics used to shut down logging included two blockades that are ongoing, walk-ins and locking onto machinery. A further protest was held at Kinglake in a logged and burnt coupe.

Government sanctioned logging is continuing despite a recent Federal Court ruling that logging in the Central Highlands is in breach of environmental laws designed to protect threatened species. Daniel Andrews has refused to direct the state-owned company VicForests to halt logging despite the court finding their past, present, and future logging plans could be unlawful .
The court found that government-owned VicForests’ operations were in breach of state and federal laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) and state-based Code of Practice for Timber Production.

Logging has exemption from federal environment laws under Regional Forests Agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Victoria. VicForests has lost this exemption by failing to meet legal obligations under the agreements to protect threatened species.

Elders and Traditional Owners are speaking up against the handing over of their Traditional Country, Totems, Stories and Cultural Values to logging agencies without their consent.
"We as the First People belonging to this country, have never given consent for the destruction and decimation of our land,” said Lidia Thorpe, Gunnai / Gunditjmara woman.

"Our Totems, Songlines and cultural identity are intrinsically linked with the bush and all living things within it," said Lidia Thorpe.

“Our mental health and well-being relies on the country to be alive. When it continues to be decimated by governments, it’s also making us sick. It affects our emotional and spiritual well-being,” said Lidia Thorpe.

"Governments have orchestrated and manufactured consent from corporations breaching the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, article 19, which states 'States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them,’ ” said Lidia Thorpe.

“Despite no prior consent from Traditional Owners, and the Federal Court ruling that the logging is illegal, the state-sanctioned destruction continues. Logging fuels climate change, increasing the risk of bushfire, which in turn destroys more forest, further exacerbating climate change. This deadly cycle must be broken by ending native forest logging,” said Sarah Day, a spokesperson for the protests.

"More than 20 per cent of Australia's forest has burned in the recent megafires, fueled by climate change . An estimated one billion animals have been lost. It is criminal that state and federal governments are allowing logging to destroy critical unburnt threatened species habitat and further damage burnt forests, especially after the court ruling," said Chris Schuringa, a spokesperson for the protests.

"The legality of logging in any forests under the RFAs is under serious question. The Andrews government is effectively ignoring state and federal laws, and now everyday citizens are being left to hold them accountable by taking legal action, and physically putting their bodies on the line to stop the logging. Actions to stop this unlawful destruction will only escalate until state and federal governments step up to protect forests,” said Chris Schuringa.

(Header photo: Mt Cole)

About the author

Eco-shout is a catalyst to action for environmental and social justice.

Logging shut down in eight coupes across Vic and NSW

Logging operations were shut down en mass across Victoria and in NSW today for the second time as Traditional Owners, regional communities and climate and conservation groups call for an immediate end to logging in native forests.

Forest protests have ramped up across Victoria and NSW over the last months, halting logging in over 15 areas across both states.

Today in Victoria a blockade has halted logging in "Charmander" coupe in the Black Range, and protesters have walked into two more coupes, "Mariner" and "Inventory” nearby halting logging operations. Protestors have also walked into logging coupes in Toolangi, Lakes Entrance and two logging coupes at Mt Disappointment today halting logging operations. Protests also took place at Pyrenees State Forest in a completed logging coupe and in Darebin.

Newly elected Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe supported local community members and Elders Aunty Marjorie Thorpe, Gunnai, Gunditjmara at their walk in at Lakes Entrance.

This follows protests on 9 June when logging was shut down at Mt Cole, Lakes Entrance, Toolangi, Kinglake, Baw Baw, Noojee and Cambarville in Victoria and Nambucca State Forest in NSW through the use of walk-ins, blockades and locking onto machinery.

In Victoria, Government sanctioned logging is continuing despite a recent Federal Court ruling that logging in the Central Highlands is in breach of environmental laws designed to protect threatened species. Daniel Andrews has refused to direct the state-owned company VicForests to halt logging despite the court finding their past, present, and future logging plans could be unlawful.

Logging is increasing in areas recommended for National Park by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC), including Mt Cole and the Pyrenees State Forest. The Government was due to respond to the VEAC recommendations in February.

“Through these protests we stand with Traditional Owners who tell us this logging is happening without their consent and is destroying their Country, Totems and culture and causing severe distress; it is considered part of an ongoing genocide,” said Sarah Day from the Pyrenees protest.

In NSW, Gumbaynggirr Custodians and community members have locked onto logging machinery and are calling for an immediate end to logging across Gumbaynggirr homelands. This comes after NSW Forestry Corporation abruptly halted work in the Nambucca State Forest following weeks of community action by the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group.

Forestry Corporation was given a Trespass notice from Gumbaynggirr Custodians.

“We have given our notice of Trespass to the Forestry Corporation and demanded they stop the logging of all Gumbaynggirr Country for lack of jurisdiction and no conciliation or consent. The NSW Government and Forestry Corp are breaching international and domestic law under the international declaration of Indigenous people's rights,” said Sandy Greenwood, Gumbaynggirr Custodian and spokesperson.

"More than twenty per cent of Australia's forest has burned in bushfires this season fuelled by climate change. An estimated one billion animals have been lost. It is criminal that state and federal governments are allowing logging to destroy remaining unburnt forests and further damage burnt forest," said Sarah Day.

"Logging fuels climate change, increasing the risk of bushfire, which in turn destroys more forest, further exacerbating climate change. This deadly cycle must be broken by ending logging," said Sarah Day.

"Logging itself creates much more fire prone landscapes by replacing older damper forest with young, dense dry forest; the recent fires were made worse by logging and mismanagement of the forest, it is simply a disaster that logging continues," said Sarah Day.

(Header photo: a tree sit tied to machines halting work in the Black Range, "Charmander" coupe in Victoria

About the author

Eco-shout is a catalyst to action for environmental and social justice.

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