22 January, 2006

LETTERS: Tasmania and 1080

The Age (letters)

22 January 2006

Claire Miller's Postcard on wildlife in Tasmania ('Wildlife slaughter devils Tasmania', 15/1) perpetuates pejorative cultural stereotypes.

Significant efforts have been made in Tasmania to find environmentally benign and socially acceptable ways of managing wildlife populations and still achieve a balance with the productive requirements of rural landholders. This is in a context where wildlife populations have been increasing in response to abundant food and water supplies on rural land.

Miller conveniently ignores the fact that on mainland Australia 1080 use far exceeds that in Tasmania.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has found that total Australian use is about 200 kilograms a year, of which Tasmania uses about 4 per cent.

Miller says "farmers use a bit of 1080" and then lays the issue squarely on the forest industry as the only significant user, claiming that its use increased by two kilograms in 2004-05. The facts are that 1080 use in Tasmania has decreased from more than 15 to just over eight kilograms in the past seven years. Of this, the forest industry used 54 per cent and farmers 46 per cent.

Forestry Tasmania ceased using 1080 in state forests in 2005. Tighter controls from this month will reduce use of 1080 even further.

Hans Drielsma, Forestry Tasmania

Hats off to Claire Miller for her valiant attempt to capture the dimensions of Tasmania's bone-headed contempt for its wildlife.

The most recent advance here has been the State Government's announcement of the outsourcing of 1080 poison permit assessments to private licensees employed by forestry and agriculture organisations, this to speed up what was already a rubber-stamp process.

Elsewhere, the recently created position of "devil facial tumour disease research director" will have as part of its duties work on browser management, such as poisoning to protect tree plantations.

Having long ago sold the rights to the brand "Tasmanian devil" for a pittance to Warner Brothers, the Government appears to feel that the species should be left in the care of market forces.

John Hayward, Weegena, Tasmania

20 January, 2006

ARTICLE: Anti-logger protesters arrested

The HeraldSun (article)
20 January 06

Ten anti-logging protesters, blockading an isolated patch of forest in Victoria's far East Gippsland, may be the first to be the first charged under a new state law.

A Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) spokesman said today that 10 people were expected to be charged on summons under the Safety on Public Land Act, which came into effect in December 2004.

Goongerah Environment Centre spokeswoman Fiona York said two of the protesters were locked on to logging machinery, six had refused to leave the blockade and one had been taken away by police for an identity check.

She said the site was at a logging coupe in old growth forest, next to the Errinundra National Park, about 90 minutes' drive north-east of Orbost.

Another six protesters moved on when police asked them to leave.

Ms York spoke with the remaining blockaders by phone today and said they were determined to stay at the site.

"They said they were all set and everybody was happy and in good spirits," Ms York said.

Three Orbost police attended the scene today and Ms York said two DSE officers had made the arrests, with no loggers present.

She said today's blockade was the fifth in the area this week and that another 35 people were blockading two other sites at Goongerah and Yalmy forests, which included local water supply catchment areas.

Ms York said three people were arrested at a blockade on Monday after halting work for two days at a logging coupe near Bendoc and that local residents were driving out to support the protesters, bringing food and supplies.

"The amount of protest activity in East Gippsland this week is indicative of exactly how much old growth forest is still being logged in this area," Ms York said.

"These areas contain massive 300-year-old trees, waterfalls and rainforest species. They should not be logged.

"Every day the equivalent to 27 MCGs are cleared. Premier Steve Bracks must act to protect old growth forests and water catchments for future generations."

Original article

10 January, 2006

ARTICLE: Bid to end Alpine cattle standoff

By Jesse Hogan
The Age, January 10, 2006 - 12:18PM

National parks officers will again talk to rebel mountain cattlemen in a bid to end a bitter dispute over a grazing ban in Victoria's high country, acting Premier John Thwaites said today.

A group of cattlemen - and Liberal MP Graham Stoney - have been running small herds of cattle through the Alpine National Park in recent days, ignoring the Government's grazing ban.

None have been prosecuted by parks officials, although some had their details taken two days ago when they refused to turn the cattle around.

Mr Thwaites said parks officials' top priority was to protect the park from grazing.

"They are certainly seeking to ensure that damage is not done and the cattle graziers comply with the law," he said.

"People have a right to protest, but they shouldn't be breaking the law or doing something that could damage the park."

Mr Thwaites said most cattlemen had accepted compensation packages from the government, and stressed the ban did not cover the entire high country.

"We've always said cattle grazing is a good part of the Australian culture and it's continuing, but it's just not continuing in the most precious high country national park."

He also called on Opposition Leader Robert Doyle to ensure Mr Stoney, the upper house MP for Central Highlands, was not urging cattlemen to ignore the grazing ban.

"I don't think it's appropriate for a Liberal member of parliament to put himself in a position where he may be breaking the law. I couldn't say whether he is - that's a matter for Parks Victoria and the rangers to determine."

Three groups of rebel mountain cattlemen are following traditional but now forbidden stock routes through the park and plan to converge at the Wonnangatta Station cemetery tomorrow.

The alpine park's chief ranger, Peter Jacobs, said the authorities had been aware the cattlemen had planned to push cattle illegally through the park.

The maximum fine for bringing an animal into the park without permission was just over $1000, he said.

The muster is the first test of the Government's controversial ban on grazing cattle in the national park, an attempt to protect the alpine environment.

theage.com.au, with AAP"

Original article