A number of Victorian Greens MPs have risked arrest today by joining local citizen scientists at the Wombat State Forest for a protest against new laws that were introduced by the Victorian Labor Government.
The laws – which came into effect today – see protesters threatened with fines of up to $21,000 or twelve months in jail for trying to protect our native forests.
Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, was joined by Senator Janet Rice, Gabrielle de Vietri MP and Dr Tim Read as well as dozens of local residents. The MPs risked arrest by entering logging coupes to survey for threatened species, in defiance of the law.
The citizen scientists found several threatened species, including the Wombat Bush Pea.
Ms Sandell said the new laws posed an extreme penalty for peaceful and non-violent protestors who simply wanted to save our precious forests and the important habitat they provide.
She added that protecting the carbon stored in Victoria’s forests was essential climate action. Yet the Labor Government was determined to support logging at all costs.
In the last couple of years alone Labor has all but ignored illegal logging and spying by VicForests. They’ve introduced new laws to halt successful court cases and now, to add insult to injury, they want to stop peaceful protest..
Logging in Victoria significantly threatens our wildlife including the endangered Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum. With over 2,000 species now on our state’s threatened species list, the Government should be doing all it can to protect our precious forests.
Instead, they’re trying to boot peaceful and non-violent protestors out of the way so they can log more.
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia, yet Labor continues to support logging in our native forests, pushing threatened species to the brink of extinction.
“These new fines and jail time, introduced by Dan Andrews and Labor, are a draconian and extreme response to people who are simply trying to save our environment and climate.
“There’s a concerning trend of both Labor and the Liberals coming together to squash peaceful protest. We’ve seen this in New South Wales and now Tasmania and South Australia too.
“The Greens will always support the right of forest defenders to peacefully protest the destruction of our environment.”