Today’s decision to list forested extensions to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area recognises outstanding natural values of global significance and rewards 20 or more years of dedicated work by many scientists and conservationists.
“It has been a long, arduous struggle of twenty years or more to finally achieve listing of the extensions to Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, yet at last the global significance of these forests is recognised and inscribed as a heritage property.
“These forests must now receive the protection they have always merited,” said Markets For Change CEO, Peg Putt.
“Scientists and very many conservationists have worked for the major part of their lives to finally see this World Heritage listing.”
“There is a checklist of actions to be taken now, starting with complete cessation of all forestry operations inside the newly listed area.
“The cutting of trees has now ceased, but all other forestry operations may continue indefinitely in the wake of the chainsaw massacre in Butlers Gorge.
“The onus is on the Australian and Tasmanian governments to get forestry operations out of World Heritage forests and commence rehabilitation of natural values damaged by logging.”
“Also of importance is to end the continued logging in the other forested landscapes agreed for future reservation that are outside the World Heritage listed area, because at the moment we have business-as-usual logging inside these forests under special exemptions that have no sunset clause and make the product environmentally unacceptable to markets,” Ms Putt concluded.
• Greens celebrate World Heritage listing
Today’s World Heritage listing of high conservation value forests on the eastern boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has been a long-time coming and will be celebrated by conservationists across the generations, Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
“It’s fantastic that after so many years of campaigning conservationists around Tasmania, and indeed the world, can celebrate the protection of these magnificent wild forests that contain the tallest flowering plants on earth and an array of wonderful wildlife,” Senator Milne said.
“In recognising the decades of work of conservationists I want to pay tribute to the late Helen Gee who was involved for 40-plus years and whose book For the Forests is a wealth of information on all those people who, in many cases, put their bodies in front of the bulldozers.
“We can all smile broadly knowing that at last these Tasmania’s forests of outstanding universal value are now protected for all time.
“Bob Brown and I tried to get these forests listed in 1989 but then Premier Michael Field and David Llewellyn actively blocked their inclusion and drew irrational boundaries which have plagued conservation efforts ever since. For the last 25 years, the Liberal and Labor parties have refused to protect these high-conservation value forests and the Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural heritage within. At last, that period is over.
In parallel with the IGA process, Bob Brown and I worked with Minister Tony Burke to develop this extension and to get this World Heritage nomination in by 8 February this year so that it could be decided ahead of the federal election.
“I am pleased Labor has committed to investigating and recognising the Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage in the new World Heritage areas to add to global understanding and appreciation of Tasmanian World Heritage Area which is a site listed for both its natural and cultural heritage” Senator Milne said.
• WORLD HERITAGE AREA EXTENSION
Nick McKim MP
Monday, 24 June 2013
The Tasmanian Greens today described the historic decision in Phnom Penh to formally extend Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area by over 170,000 hectares as a great day for Tasmania.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP paid tribute to the tens of thousands of people who have contributed to the decades-long campaign to protect these forests.
“It’s a stunning result for our forests, our globally recognised brand and the jobs it supports,” Mr McKim said.
“This is a fantastic outcome for Tasmania, and another strong step towards our clean, green, clever and creative future.”
“Generations to come will be grateful for the foresight and effort of everyone who worked so hard for so long to make this happen.”
“From the Southern Forests, through the Styx and the Florentine to the Great Western Tiers, these majestic forests are now protected for their carbon, their wildlife, and their intrinsic value.”
“This is great news for every campaigner, past and present Greens members, and the majority of Tasmanian people who time after time called for these forests to be protected.”
“The Greens also welcome the commitment by Federal Minister Tony Burke, to fund a study to document the cultural values of the TWWHA and how they contribute to its Outstanding Universal Value, to be done in consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.”
• TWS, ET, ACF: World Heritage Committee endorses Tasmanian Wilderness extension
The successful nomination of an extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area represents a spectacular and globally significant conservation outcome and the resolution of the long running conflict over logging along the boundary of the existing reserve.
The decision on the extension to the existing area, passed today by the World Heritage Committee which is meeting in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, protects outstanding forests areas such as the Styx, Weld and Upper Florentine Valleys and on the flanks of the Great Western Tiers.
“We welcome the decision of the Committee and congratulate and thank each and every person who has participated in the campaign to see these areas protected over the decades of struggle and advocacy,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.
“This extension covers forests from Cockle Creek to Cradle Mountain, protects them in perpetuity and finally recognises them as global treasures of natural and cultural heritage.”
The eNGOs acknowledged the work of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and the signatories to the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.
“This decision delivers a critical element of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement and a durable and tangible conservation outcome on the ground,” said Dr Phill Pullinger.
“The support and follow through by all parties involved in the Forest Agreement has been very welcome and critical in the success of this nomination. It demonstrates the Agreement can work and is a viable way to protect forests.”
“Signatories are now looking for domestic support for the implementation of the Forest Agreement via the passage of the Initial Reserve Order through both houses of Parliament,” said Jonathan La Nauze, spokesperson for the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“This will reserve much of these World Heritage forests under domestic law, including as new National Parks, and set up the reserve making process for several hundred thousand hectares of critical forests scattered around other parts of the state.”
• Jan Davis, TFGA: Farmers deserve respect in World Heritage decision
“Farmers deserve some respect now the final piece of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement (TFA) has been locked away,” Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said today.
She was responding to today’s decision by the World Heritage Committee in Cambodia to extend the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by more than 170,000 ha, much of it on the eastern boundary where it interfaces with farmland.
“The TFA has been secret people’s business from day one,” she said.
“On the shielded move to extend the world heritage area, there was no consultation with farmers and other landowners. To this day, we still have no detailed maps, so we don’t know who is impacted or how this will affect them.
“However, now the decision has been made, state and federal governments need to lift the veil of secrecy and individually advise each neighbouring property of the boundary and any anticipated impact on their homes.
“Federal environment minister Tony Burke suddenly found $500,000 to overcome objections from indigenous communities to the nomination. We expect to see at the very least a similar funding commitment from the Minister to ensure that fencing and other neighbour responsibilities are adequately identified and addressed,” she said.
“The ENGOs have repeatedly said that achieving the conservation outcomes identified in the TFA would end decades of conflict in the forests. They’ve got what they asked for,” she added.
“That means there should be no issues of durability in the remaining publicly owned forest estate; and we certainly don’t expect them to start the process all over again in the private forests.”
25 June 2013
Written by Alice Biscu
A launch trailer has been released for a new documentary that goes ‘behind the scenes’ with witness filmmaker Heidi Lee Douglas into the ‘Gunns20’ lawsuit and controversial pulp mill proposal in the Tamar valley. The trailer’s release coincides with the World Heritage listing of 170,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest.
Heidi Douglas is directing Defendant 5: The Fall of the House of Gunns after being sued by logging giant Gunns Ltd in 2004, along with 19 other individuals and organisations, for a total of $6.9m. Gunns accused activists and conservationists of using “protest activities” to disrupt its business, particularly to Japanese buyers, in what the company called a “Campaign against Gunns”.
As a result, the documentary styles itself “a cautionary tale about the rising powers of corporations which, when left unchecked, threaten individuals rights to freedom of speech”.
Soon after the lawsuit, commentators accused Gunns of strategically employing litigation to silence public participation, in the tradition of the McLibel case brought by McDonalds against activists in the United Kingdom. They say that the timing of the Gunns lawsuit conveniently silenced criticism while it pushed its controversial pulp mill proposal.
However, the film is ultimately about how a giant corporation was felled by the community that opposed its poor social and environmental practices. The community backlash against Gunns saw existing investors pull out and no new investors replace them. The company eventually settled with the remaining defendants on the eve of the trial in 2010.
Douglas’ motivation for making the film is to “really shine a light on dark places. If people aren’t recognising what’s actually gone before, then they’re not going to learn from those mistakes.”
The trailer can be viewed online on the documentary website at http://www.defendant5.com. The full documentary film is expected to be released in 2014 and recently received funding through a Screen Tasmania Development grant.
The film is co-produced by leading international producer Simon Nasht (I Can Change Your Mind About Climate) and former ABC journalist Trish Lake (Rare Chicken Rescue) through their production companies Smith&Nasht and Freshwater Pictures.
The public can help through tax deductible donations via the Documentary Australia Foundation.
Heidi Lee Douglas
PS - If you’d like to take a moment to see the forests that have just been protected watch this video:
All the forests footage was taken by yours truly and I can hardly believe these wild places have now been protected.
PPS - If you’d like to hear me talking about the film you can listen to a podcast of a recent ABC radio interview:
To find out more about the film and our social change campaign go to:
PPPS - Can’t wait to get involved, want to find out more or discuss our community campaign? Then please contact:
A preliminary court hearing into insider trading charges against the former chairman of the collapsed Tasmanian timber giant Gunns has wound up in Launceston.
John Gay has pleaded not guilty to two counts of insider trading.
Gay allegedly sold three million Gunns shares two months before the stock price dived in 2009.
At the final pre-trial hearing the day’s only witness was professional valuer Wayne Lonergan.
Mr Lonergan was paid $35,000 by the Securities and Investment Commission to produce two reports on what was publicly known about Gunns’ financial situation in the 2009-2010 financial year.
He found an unreleased management report from October 2009 painted a grim picture of Gunns’ finances.
Mr Lonergan said finance brokers had dramatically underestimated the drop in the company’s operating profit to the point where Gunns had stopped making a profit altogether.
He told the court: “the essential bits (of the management report) would seriously disturb an investor”.
• Jenny Webber: Tasmanian Forest Activists celebrate World Heritage protection for the mighty southern forests
Huon Valley Environment Centre has today welcomed the successful nomination of 170 000ha of Tasmania’s forests to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
“This is the first time Huon Valley Environment Centre has witnessed the protection of forests after eleven years of campaigning for the globally significant forests of the Weld, Middle Huon and wild forests in the Esperance and Far South. We have achieved an awesome milestone here as an environmental NGO,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.
“Today, thousands of hectares of contiguous tall eucalyptus wild forests, endangered species habitat, wild rivers and ancient karst systems have finally had their globally significant values recognised.”
We have walked thousands of people through these forests, stood on the front-line to defend them as they have been wantonly destroyed with large scale logging and burning. At last, some of these forests have been saved, and we thank the artists, activists and community members who have participated in our campaign all this time,” Jenny Weber said.
“This is truly the people’s achievement. For decades people have struggled to protect these particular forests and finally we can say, despite shortsighted and wasteful governments, inept land resource management and failed efforts to undermine and marginalise conservationists, we did it!” concluded Jenny Weber.
• ABC: Pre-trial hearing for former Gunns boss winds up John Gay has pleaded not guilty to two counts of insider trading. Gay allegedly sold three million Gunns shares two months before the stock price dived in 2009. At the final pre-trial hearing the day’s only witness was professional valuer Wayne Lonergan. … He found an unreleased management report from October 2009 painted a grim picture of Gunns’ finances. Mr Lonergan said finance brokers had dramatically underestimated the drop in the company’s operating profit to the point where Gunns had stopped making a profit altogether. He told the court: “the essential bits (of the management report) would seriously disturb an investor”. The court heard last year that Gay sold the shares after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
• Kevin Kiernan, in Comments: #13 G’day Robin. I presume from your comments that the only values you consider could possibly be of World Heritage significance are trees? Exactly what are your qualifications for having such a wide ranging grasp on all matters natural heritage? There are quite a few of us who don’t have such a single-minded view of the world as to consider trees are all that matter. But never mind, I personally reckon that at least you are in good company because those who shaped the whole bloody Forestry Agreement don’t seem to have bothered taking the least interest in finding out about or taking account of non-biological heritage either - such other values as may be inside the new boundaries have been included more by good luck than good management. Incidentally, where did you get the idea that the forests ever belonged to you in the first place and so should now be given back to you? I’m a Tasmanian too after all - so maybe I’ll start a campaign to have all those places you mentioned plus perhaps all remaining areas still outside the WHA that have previously been locked up as state forest given back to me instead of you (because I reckon I am far more deserving than you because both my names come earlier in the alphabet than yours) ...
• Rosemary Norwood: Friends of the Great Western Tiers welcomes World Heritage listing It is however particularly disappointing to see politicians, notably MLC Greg Hall, and the TFGA, misrepresenting what this means for those of us who will be neighbours to the extended World Heritage Area. No private land, other than a few blocks voluntarily owned and added by the Bush Heritage Trust and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy will be captured, and claims that access will be denied to these forests and adjacent property owners will be adversely affected have no basis in fact. We look forward to working together with everyone who is now neighbouring the World Heritage Area to ensure that the recreational and cultural assets of the area are protected, and we hope in some cases upgraded to allow for the continued sustainable use of the mountains for recreation and tourism.
• Kim Booth: Burnie export logs redirected to Smithton veneer mill The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed confirmation by the Primary Industries Minister Bryan Green that logs stacked on the Burnie wharf were now being sold to Ta Ann at Smithton instead of being exported at a cost to taxpayers. Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the move followed a successful sawmilling trial which had proven that the thousands of tonnes of export logs stacked up at Burnie were suitable for high-value local sawmilling. “At the time I also said that these logs should be suitable for peeling, and this has now been acknowledged by Forestry Tasmania transporting the logs back to the Smithton Ta Ann peeler mill,” Mr Booth said. “This should also take some of the pressure off our native forests, a precious resource that has been used and abused for decades.”