• Anna Brozek

Destruction Deemed 'Essential' by the Australian Government

The world has been shaken with panic. In the name of health and safety, our governments have imposed restrictions that have had implications beyond measure. We’ve sat back and asked ourselves; what is the right thing to do? Of course, we should take all precautionary measures, acting in the best interest of the entire population, not only of our countries, but on a global perspective, too. We stay inside, we keep our kids at home, we strip back to the essentials. So why is it that the tree-logging industry is still going full-steam ahead?

National Parks and reserves, that is; publicly-owned forests have been closed since the 31st March 2020. However, smoke still rolls across Tasmanian skies as the land is incinerated without our consent. As well as putting their employee’s lives at risk, corporations are using this global halt as an opportunity to push projects past the line that is normally guarded by protectors of the forest.

For more than 30 years, Tasmania has endured an ongoing, epic battle. Environmentalist groups, namely the Wilderness Society with more than 30,000 members have shed much needed light unto the obscene projects ongoing all over Australia. The Bob Brown Foundation has seen its' most momentous summer to date this year, with 32 arrests and hundreds of volunteers and visitors gathering people power, in Tasmania and beyond, using direct action as a mechanism of change. All this force has been put on hold. Our right to protect the land has vanished.

The motives for continued decimation can be difficult to comprehend. For decades, the industry has been bleeding money, with regular government injections to keep the pulse from flat-lining. $100 million in 2012 makes $28 million in 2016 look like pocket change. But it isn’t. It’s the people’s money, being used to destroy their own land. Even with the government 'contributions', since its’ peak in 2004, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (formerly Forestry Tasmania) has lost over $1 billion from forestry activities.

It's not news that the ongoing loss and degradation of Australian forests has led to the country being among the top drivers of animal extinction in the world. 48 species have become endangered in recent years. You can find the full list here. A WWF analysis placed Australia alongside Borneo and the Amazon in highest ranked deforestation fronts.

Countless species of plants including Myrtle and Leatherwood are also endangered, the repercussions being felt along the entire food chain, right down to our indispensable friends; bees.

The debate is not only about the obscene destruction of habitat and gross waste of funds; The root of the problem runs in the same vein as what activists have been rising up against since the beginning of kleptocracy - the withholding of information.

The logging industry’s exemption from Freedom of Information Act makes it incredibly difficult to grasp the severity of the situation. By disclosing only selective information, mis-categorising types of forests and passing off illegally cleared sections as ‘errors’, the public is left with a shiny facade. Although, those seeking the truth mustn’t look too far.

The entire industry has a dire record of lying, secrecy and hidden profits. Last year, ABC covered the inaccuracy of information and ultimate theft of native land by VicForests, across the Gippsland area. "The process to establish sustainability guidelines is inadequate, unscientific and ambiguous.” - explains Independent Australia.

We are calling for all native logging to be ceased immediately. Other states have already announced their plans to do so, although 2030 is a touch too long. It is possible to manage the logging industry to provide us with all the paper products we need, instead of turning ancient giants into woodchips for a quick buck. With better management and better planning, we can conserve the remaining forests and utilise the existing landscapes effectively. But we have to begin by taking a stand and seeing through the bullshit.

Nothing about the any of the cogs in the gargantuan capitalist wheel of supply and demand makes sense. Our consumption of goods has become an insatiable thirst. The rules of the game won’t change - we have to change the game.

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