Environmentalists and Traditional Owners have established a peaceful direct action camp today (June 1), vowing to prevent further logging in the Millewa Red Gum wetlands on the Murray River in NSW.
Yorta Yorta Nation
Friends of the Earth
NSW Redgum Forest Action
Media Release -- 1st June 2009
Protesters vow to stop illegal Red Gum Logging
Environmentalists and Traditional Owners have established a peaceful direct action camp today, vowing to prevent further logging in the Millewa Red Gum wetlands on the Murray River in NSW.
Last month the Commonwealth Environment Department instructed the NSW government that logging in the internationally significant wetlands breaches Commonwealth environment law and must cease. The area is nationally recognised as one of the six most important ecological sites along the Murray River.
Spokesperson for Red Gum Forest Action, Tim Thorncraft said, â€œLogging in the Red Gums is illegal under State and Commonwealth law. We have established the camp to prevent any further damage to this wetland.â€
â€œThe NSW government has failed to gain basic environmental approvals, which every landholder in Australia is required to obtain before destroying vegetation of national environmental significance.â€
â€œWe are not prepared to stand by and watch internationally listed wetlands destroyed by patch-clearfelling for cheap firewood. We call on the Commonwealth government to enforce the law and stop the logging immediately.â€
Chairperson of the Yorta Yorta Nation, Neville Atkinson said, â€œThe Yorta Yorta Nation has managed these forests for thousands of years, to protect and conserve the environment, to then hand over to future generations to do the same.â€
â€œWe cannot accept the destruction of our environmental heritage and our cultural economy by logging that is both illegal and unsustainable.â€
Across the border lie the Barmah wetlands, where the Victorian government has announced an end to logging.
â€œWe want to manage this whole area of our Country as a jointly managed National Park. We call on NSW to follow the lead of Victoria, where we are moving forward in partnership with the state government to protect Barmah,â€ he said.
Friends of the Earth spokesperson Jonathan LaNauze said, â€œwe regret the need for direct intervention but the community is left with no option given the belligerent refusal of the NSW government to uphold the law.â€
â€œBy comparison, there has never been a blockade in Victoriaâ€™s red gum forests where the Brumby government have lead the way with new National Parks and assistance for the logging industry to restructure.â€
â€œIt is disappointing that north of the river the NSW government seems hell-bent on breaking environmental laws in order to prop up an unsustainable industry.â€
Tim Thorncraft: 0427 221 691Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Neville Atkinson: 0419502272Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jonathan LaNauze: 0402904251