Tuesday, 3 August 2021
[by video link] Today I want to speak out about the terrible devastation that's occurring in a special patch of forest in Alberton West in South Gippsland, Victoria. I want to give a shout-out to and salute the locals who are bravely protesting to stop destructive logging—locals who are taking on VicForests, the Victorian owned logging agency, that once again is smashing up our forests, once again on unceded Gunaikurnai country.
Australia's got a horrific history of colonial exploitation, and we see today that that devastation is continuing: governments are tearing down precious forests on sovereign, unceded Aboriginal land. There's someone currently in a tree-sit, stopping this logging. There are locals frantically trying to get a legal injunction against this destructive logging. They're out campaigning, protesting and doing everything they can to protect this special area of forest. Most of the forests in this region were cleared over a hundred years ago. Every patch that is left is precious, particularly for the threatened birds and animals that live in these forests, including koalas, greater gliders, powerful owls and lace monitors. These species are recognised under our federal environment laws to be in need of protection. But where's our federal government? Cheering on the Andrews state government—and Labor and Liberal are joined at the hip in destroying our native forests. The Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, is sitting on her hands—the minister for environmental destruction rather than protection.
This is logging that's occurring in the context of a climate crisis, when forests are burning that have never burnt before. And it's not just the forests. We have melting ice caps and rising seas, and still the Liberal Party are intent on supporting their corporate mates rather than local people. We must end the devastating logging of our forests, including this special patch at Alberton West. So I call on the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, to step up and to act.