The following update comes from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO).

Conservationists are continuing to blockade an old growth forest logging operation at Granite Mountain in remote East Gippsland today. The blockade was established on Monday January 22nd, and has halted logging in the contentious area for seven consecutive days. Fifteen people are maintaining a presence on the site today, one person is positioned in a hammock suspended from a tripod structure that is blocking the access road to logging operation.

In December last year GECO documented dozens of large old trees in the old growth forest and submitted a report to the environment Department and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio urging them to intervene to prevent logging of the untouched forest.

The protest comes just 10 weeks after lawyers acting for the Fauna and Flora Research Collective won a Supreme Court injunction that halted logging of old growth in East Gippsland’s Kuark forest. Later this year lawyers will argue in Court that the Victorian Labor government are failing to meet their legal obligations that require 60% of old growth wet and damp forest to be protected, a step that has not been taken.

“This untouched forest has never been logged, it contains many large old trees that are hundreds of years old. It’s appalling that in 2018 the state Labor government are still logging untouched forests, mostly to be exported as woodchips,” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.

“Despite the current legal proceedings against them, the Andrew’s Labor government continue to log these forests that could be required for protection if they are to fulfil their old growth protection obligations,” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.

“The overwhelming majority of Victorian’s want to see Victoria’s forests protected in new national parks and reserves. The Andrew’s Labor government must act in the interests of all Victorian’s and immediately protect East Gippsland’s forests. These forests make East Gippsland so special. What we have here is incredibly unique, old growth forests have been eliminated from so much of the Victoria, to destroy what remains of these ancient forests in their last stronghold of the far east is recklessly short sighted policy from the current Labor government,” said Ed Hill.

“These ancient forests are the lungs of our planet, they store huge amounts of carbon that is released when they are logged and burnt, accelerating climate change. They are home to endangered wildlife and offer a rare window of insight into what Victoria’s forests looked like prior to colonisation”

“With a Victorian state election to be held later this year, Labor must enact the preference of the majority of Victorians by protecting our native forests in new parks and reserves. Labor must show leadership on this issue and will be praised by Victorian voters for doing so.”

“GECO pays respect to the long and continuing custodianship of these forests by the traditional owners of East Gippsland, the GunnaiKurnai, Bidewell and Monero people. We pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded”

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