The Victorian Greens have called today a grim day for native forests following the passage of a Labor bill that will introduce major new fines and jail time for peaceful protesters trying to save our environment.
The bill was supported by Labor, the Liberals and the majority of the crossbench, and will see protesters faced with up to $21,000 dollars in fines or 12 months in jail for protesting logging in our native forests.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said these penalties were an extreme response to people who were simply trying to save our environment and climate.
She added that they also set a worrying precedent for the right to protest in our state.
We’ve seen environmental groups, lawyers, human rights experts and even unions come out against this bill, because they recognise the threat it poses to the right to protest and the threat posed by climate change.
Yet today the major parties ignored those calls and put greed before green.
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.
The Greens will always support the right to protest for a healthy democracy, and fight to protect our environment and wildlife from the devastating impacts of native forest logging.
As stated by Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“Today is a grim day for our native forests and for the right to protest.
“Environmental groups, lawyers, human rights experts and unions all called for this bill to be scrapped.
“Yet instead of listening to them, the major parties joined forces to pass a bill that will threaten and intimidate peaceful protesters simply trying to save our environment.
“Time and time again we hear this Government talk a big game on climate and the environment, but it’s in moments like these that their true colours show.
“In the middle of a climate crisis we should be doing all we can to end native forest logging and listen to communities who want to see our environment and wildlife protected.”