Forests war flares after chain protest

A 19-YEAR-OLD forest activist has been arrested after locking herself to a gate at Wentworth Hills, southeast of Lake St Clair.

Ellen Maddock, of South Arm, was attempting to stop workers and log trucks from entering the area. Following last week’s arrest, activists from the Bob Brown Foundation returned to the area.

“We return today to defend this incredible old-growth forest,” said Lisa Searle, Bob Brown Foundation native forests campaign organiser.
“The rich carbon and environmental values are being absolutely decimated by ‘Sus’ Timbers Tasmania. “The demolition of this unique wilderness by the Liberal Government is an absolute disgrace.
“Premier Gutwein should be ashamed for continuing to allow logging in this old forest to continue on his watch.

“We are calling on the Tasmanian Government to step in and to grant Wentworth Hills the protection it so desperately needs.”
“Yesterday we were forcibly removed from this area by police and one protestor was arrested. Today we are back and are halting the logging again.”

Green campaigner Bob Brown applauded Ms Maddock’s protest action.

“I join many other Australians in saluting Ellen’s courage and commitment to Tasmania’s future,” he said. “In this age of climate and extinction crisis, the Minister for Forests Destruction, Guy Barnett, should be the one in the paddy wagon, not Ellen Maddock.
“If Ellen’s arrest is a sign of toughening measures against our peaceful defenders of the forests and their wildlife, it won’t work.”

Sustainable Timber Tasmania general manager operations, Greg Hickey said partial harvest operations were being conducted in the Wentworth forest block, located near Tarraleah.

“These partial harvest operations are conducted under certified Forest Practices Plans, which include management prescriptions to protect special values in the area, including wedge-tailed eagles and old growth,’’ Mr Hickey said.
“Tasmania has 1.2 million hectares of forests classified as old growth, including over one million hectares which is protected under the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative reserve system.
“Less than nine per cent of Tasmania’s old growth forest is located on Permanent Timber Production Zone land managed by Sustainable Timber Tasmania, and of this, only four per cent is available for forest operations. “

The operations at Wentworth are being conducted to harvest a variety of forest products, including high-quality eucalypt sawlog, which is being supplied to Tasmanian sawmills to produce timbers used for commercial and domestic purposes.’’

He said protest activity created safety risks for both protesters and forest contractors.