Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 30 & 31

Shame Julia Gillard Shame!

I cannot believe that the Australian government has put its name to a document (that it has the gall to call a “conservation” agreement) which will see more and more of our precious forests devastated. This document is in direct contradiction to the promise that was made by the government when Julia and Lara signed the Intergovernmental Agreement five months ago.

This World Heritage Area bordering forest in the Weld Valley is already gone, are we about to lose more just like it?

The most horrific part of it all is that while this conservation agreement condemns 40 coupes to be logged, Tony Burke has called it a “landmark conservation agreement signed to protect Tasmania’s native forests.”  It is amazing how they can spin the truth and turn it into lies! He claims that the agreement protects 99.5% of the area. With “a small number of coupes” to still be logged.

Firstly, I don’t know how Davina the devil or any other animals living in the 2000 hectares to be felled would feel about their forest being trivialized in such away. Secondly considering the little amount of old growth actually left I think 2000 hectares is a very significant amount. Thirdly, it is directly going against the promise that was made that all of the 430,000 hectares would be protected by the conservation agreement.

Tony Burke stated: “In accordance with the requirements of the Intergovernmental Agreement, which commits to honouring all existing wood supply contracts, these coupes have been excluded from the Conservation Agreement:”

The excuse of contracts  for wood supply (to Ta Ann) is really getting a bit old now – how many times do we need to keep reminding them that clause 27 states clearly that any contracts that can’t be met outside the 430,000 would be honored by way of compensation – not access to the forests for logging.

It is misleading to claim that 99.5% is now protected. The fact is that 100% of what was threatened by logging is still going to be logged. Basically what they have done is a tricky maneuver. Everything that wasn’t scheduled for logging is protected by the conservation agreement (i.e.: they are not going to be logging the areas they had not intended to log) and everything that was scheduled for logging, plus even a little bit more, is excluded from the agreement (i.e.: they are going to log what they had always intended to log).  Not one single hectare of forest that was scheduled for logging has been protected. So what has this agreement done for the forests? Nothing, except to take away the fast-fading hope that Julia Gillard would actually live up to her word.

This “conservation agreement” (it just feels so wrong to call it that) will see this coupe here Tn44B logged.  Pristine areas of forest in the Weld, Butlers Gorge, Styx, Picton…. all have been put on death row by this agreement.  Today’s announcement is a bitter blow to all of those who care about these forests. It is even more a bitter blow to the credibility of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

I do not think that the general public will fall for the green-washing that is occurring here. No matter how many words like “conservation” they want to throw into the agreement, the evidence will speak for itself. This very Monday when logging resumes again here and in coupes all around the state, the evidence will speak for itself.

It is like I said in an earlier blog – it is ridiculous to log the forest prior to reserving it. It is like smashing something before buying it. This is exactly what they seem hell bent on doing. Fragmenting and damaging the area ear-marked for protection.

The government must be held accountable to the Australian public, and to the promises they have made to us. Yet the only ones they seem to be listening to are Ta Ann. All of these logging coupes excluded from the conservation agreement are to feed Ta Ann’s insatiable appetite for Tasmania’s native forest.

Yesterday morning at 6am I woke up to see a media release by the Huon Valley Environment Centre. Conservationists were conducting a peaceful demonstration at the Hobart wharf, where a Ta Ann ship was loading veneer made from Tasmania’s native forests. ‘Conservationists are today protesting about the ongoing logging in Tasmania’s high conservation value forests for Ta Ann, a Malaysian logging company. Ta Ann is receiving timber from old growth and high conservation value forests and they are exporting these forests to Japan to be sold under the false brand of eco-friendly flooring,’ Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said, spokesperson at yesterday’s action.

Unfortunately the government don’t seem to be listening to the Australian public and today’s announcement is a clear demonstration that their loyalties lie with the profits of Ta Ann over and above the promises made to the Australian community.

As Peg Putt (Markets for Change) said today “It’s a black Friday for Tasmania’s forests, and one of severe disappointment to those who hoped for a breakthrough for conservation and an end to the conflict in Tasmania’s forest, in what has now become a deceptive and discredited process”

My offer still stands to Julia. Come and visit the ObserverTree this weekend while you are in Tasmania. Come and see for yourself the forest that you have now condemned to destruction.

In the spirit of yesterdays’ action by the Huon Valley Environment Centre, now is the time to get active. With so many of our precious wild forests on death row there is an urgency with which we must spread the word about what is going on here. It is time to get the word to the Japanese customers of Ta Ann, to the Australian and Tasmanian governments, to Harvey Norman and to Ta Ann that enough is enough. It is time to protect Tasmania’s ancient forests.

For more information check out some of today’s great media releases:

Senator Bob Brown

Markets for Change 

The Wilderness Society, ACF and Environment Tasmania

Huon Valley Enviornment Centre

Posted on January 13, 2012, in Daily Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. a Black Friday for all of us. love your work

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