The Bob Brown Foundation and the Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) today held a demonstration outside the Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit.

Lorraine Bower from AFCA said “While the groups welcome dialogue on the vanishing rainforests in the Asia Pacific region, we are disappointed in the Australian government’s performance in failing to take real action to protect rainforests at home and in our region.”

“All the focus at the Summit seems to be on how other Asia Pacific countries can improve the protection of their rainforests and stop illegal logging. While Australia still needs to improve its own performance on rainforest protection” said Ms Bower.

At the demonstration, campaigners from ACT NOW! Papua New Guinea spoke passionately about their tragic loss of forests, which are both livelihood and home. They described Australia as the largest single beneficiary of rampant and unsustainable logging and land grabbing in PNG. “In PNG forests are disappearing at an alarming rate, but Australia has not said or done anything about the huge SABL land grab or the continuing problem of corruption that is driving rainforest destruction”, said Effrey Dademo, Program Manager for ACT NOW!

Jenny Weber of the Bob Brown Foundation said, “The Abbott government already has a very poor record on the protection of rainforests across the nation from a variety of threats, including development, logging and mining. In Tasmania’s Tarkine, Australia’s largest tract of cool temperate rainforest, State and Federal Governments usher in destructive practices such as large scale logging and mining instead of protecting its globally significant values. In the wet tropics in Queensland, rainforests face a variety of threats including clearing for development, and the Australian government is doing little or nothing to address these threats.”

“While Minister Hunt offers money for combatting illegal logging in the climate of this summit, the Federal Government has also funded to the tune of millions, a Sarawak logging company, Ta Ann, that is embroiled in the corrupt Malaysian logging kabal, tarnished with illegal logging practices in their home state. The Australian Government cannot have it both ways and expect to be applauded for leading the region in action on illegal logging,” Jenny Weber said.

“It seems a pity and rather hypocritical that the Australian government doesn’t seem inclined to face its own shortcomings in protecting rainforests” Ms Bower said. “Real action can be made by the Australian Government to help countries in our region to secure rainforest protection to mitigate climate change. Starting here in Australia to end the destruction of rainforests would make an enormous difference both to our country and those around us, leading the region in real action on rainforest protection.”
Jenny Weber Campaign Manager The Bob Brown Foundation