South Sister St Marys, Tasmania

South Sister

spiking trees?

MEDIA STATEMENT - 29 NOVEMBER 2005

The Save our Sisters group is appalled to learn of anonymous advice to Forestry Tasmania implying that trees on South Sister have been spiked. Such action, or the threat of such action, is absolutely and totally unacceptable in any circumstance, and is completely repudiated by Save Our Sisters.

While the group considers that the proposed logging of South Sister is an act of environmental bastardy providing no benefits to the Tasmanian community, threatening local water supplies and land stability on the mountain, and damaging local tourism and recreational amenity, it has conducted its campaign over the past two years with integrity, openness and honesty, and regard for due process, even sometimes to the detriment of our protest. We have based our campaign on obtaining and providing expert and scientific evidence to the forest practices system, and we condemn whoever has made this threat as bringing our efforts into disrepute. Our campaign strategy has never considered or included any direct physical action that would so put life in jeopardy. Our efforts have been directed at saving life, not threatening it.

We are also horrified that anybody would be so irresponsible as to put the lives of forestry workers at risk by such a malicious action. Save Our Sisters has considerable issues with the senior management of Forestry Tasmania, several Ministers, DIER and DPIWE, politicians of both major parties, officers of the Forest Practices Authority, the whole incestuous and circular forest practices system in Tasmania, the legislation and the process, but at no time have we ever attempted to involve the actual workers on the ground in our campaign. We deeply regret that anybody should threaten them in this way by attempting to trade on our protest against the institutional vandalism of logging South Sister. Our campaign has been characterised by being peaceful and non-violent, aimed at working through the system and raising public awareness. We have been subject to considerable bureaucratic thuggery over the past two years, and are not averse to challenging the system and those who delight in administering such a non-accountable system for the benefit of vested interests, but while we have been frustrated by the process, we have not moved outside it. We repudiate entirely the action or the threat of such action made by this anonymous and cowardly source.

Save Our Sisters is still actively working to have logging deferred until a relevant, expert and independent evaluation can be undertaken of the water and stability issues of the coupe. The Forest Practices Authority have been provided with information suggesting misleading evidence supplied by Forestry Tasmania, there are concerns about the lack of qualification by Forestry Tasmania staff to address issues of groundwater, and submissions are in progress with regard to the refusal by Forestry Tasmania staff to undertake the necessary scientific surveys to evaluate the groundwater system of the coupe area, instead relying upon a statement that 'the best we can do is to speculate'.

David Clement for Save Our Sisters

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