Several hundred people have taken to the steps of the Victorian Parliament on Saturday, as hundreds of people rally across the country to call for an end to native forest logging.
The rallies were initiated by the Bob Brown Foundation and supported by local environmental, conservation and activist groups in each location.
In a statement, the Bob Brown Foundation said “5000 people across Australia have rallied today calling for the ALP to end to native forest logging, in eight locations from Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, the ACT and Western Australia.”
“In Sydney, community members marched to Prime Minister Albanese’s office in Marrickville.”
Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said “we’re scaling up our campaign to call on Prime Minister Albanese for end to native forest logging and secure protection for Australia’s forests.
“The last three days of nationwide actions are a launching pad for our Federal Election campaign. If logging doesn’t end, we plan to continue these nationwide mass mobilisations for native forests.”
Among the speakers was Greens Senator for Victoria, Janet Rice, who congratulated Victorian anti logging groups for the state’s recent phasing out of most native forest logging by the end of the year.
Describing it as “a huge achievement” that, “despite some little carve outs” and “some little slippery business going on”; Rice said it’s news “absolutely worth celebrating.”
“[Our forests] are our national heritage. They’re some of the most inspiring, bio-diverse forests in the world – part of a web of life that sustains us all.”
“That reason alone is why the federal government should be acting to protect native forests.
“Ending the logging of our forests will [also] help us tackle the climate crisis.”
Victorian Forest Alliance campaign coordinator Chris Schuringa said “native forests are not only critical for native wildlife, but they’re vital carbon stores.”
“They keep us safe from the climate crisis we’re currently facing.”
“They filter our drinking water [and are] culturally and spiritually significant for First Nations people. They hold a very special place in the heart of all Victorians who experience these places so intimately.”
“After years of campaigning and successful community citizen science and legal action, in May we got a monumental announcement from the Dan Andrews government that they were going to end native forest logging in Victoria.”
“We’re beyond proud of this result and it’s a testament to the hard work of passionate community groups and forest defenders who continue to dedicate their lives to this cause.”
Describing the May announcement as “bitter sweet”, Schuringa said that the flood of relief was very real “for a lot of us”.
“The relief that we might finally see an end to the destruction came time for a reflection for all that has been lost.”
“What has also become clear is that the announcement doesn’t include important areas in Western Victoria. Around 65,000 hectors will still remain up for logging next year.”
“These areas deserve protection.”