Anti-protest bill blow to Victoria’s forests

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have said they will fight a recently introduced bill that would see protestors threatened with fines and jail time for trying to protect our native forests.

The Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 was introduced by the Victorian Labor Government this week and would see forest defenders slapped with fines of up to $21,000 or twelve months in jail.

The Greens say this is an extreme penalty for peaceful and non-violent protestors who simply want to save our precious forests and the important habitat they provide.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said 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 year 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’re trying 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.

And it’s not just happening in Victoria. Seemingly on a joint anti-environment ticket, both Labor and the Liberals have recently teamed up to impose harsher fines on environmental protestors in New South Wales and Tasmania.

As stated by Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia, with our native forests being logged at an alarming rate and our plant and animal life pushed to the brink of extinction.

“Victorians have just voted unequivocally for candidates supporting climate action, which includes protecting forests. Yet instead of protecting our precious forests, the Victorian Labor Government seems hell bent on logging at all costs.

“These fines and penalties are an extreme response to people who are simply trying to save our environment and climate.

“This Government has already come after animal protestors, and now they’re coming for forest defenders. Are climate activists next?

“We’ve seen this in New South Wales and now Tasmania too. There’s a concerning trend of both Labor and the Liberals coming together to squash peaceful protest.

“The Greens will be fighting tooth and nail to block this bill from passing.”

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