Forest fight erupts in Victoria
Traditional owners and environmentalists are disrupting logging in Gippsland and Central Highlands.
The local coalition wants the Victorian Government to end to native timber logging across the state, immediately.
The protestors have been successful in stopping logging at coupes at Mount Cole, Baw Baw, Toolangi, Big Pat's Creek, Cambarville, Lakes Entrance and Noojee operated by state-owned timber company VicForests this week.
They are employing a variety of tactics, including tree-sits, walking around in logging coupes, and locking themselves to machinery.
Former Victorian Greens MP and Gunnai/Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe said the Indigenous community and the environmentalists have joined forces to stop logging practices that cause “absolute devastation”.
“We've had enough of standing by watching this constant destruction of our country and the decimation of our native forests and native animals that belong to these areas,” Ms Thorpe said.
“It's been quite peaceful. In fact there's been no authorities rocking up to these coupes and people will stay there as long as we need to for the Government to act.”
The action comes just days after the Federal Court ruled that VicForests breached environmental laws by logging sections of the Central Highlands which were home to the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum.
Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) general manager Stacey Gardiner has slammed the anti-logging protests.
“The protesters are putting themselves at risk of serious injury or death going onto what is a controlled workplace,” she said.
“These protesters, coming in and jumping out in front of operators whilst they've got large equipment, you need to stop. We need this to stop before someone ends up seriously hurt.”
The Victorian Government says it has a plan to phase out native forest logging by 2030.