The Government has ordered the reopening of logging coupes in the Bonang River catchment in East Gippsland after fifteen conservationists and 18 community members were arrested today. A recent blockade on Ferntree Rd in the area has seen protesters arrested for being on a dragon. The third person was tackled to the ground while trying to lock onto the dragon. Earlier this year, a blockade was re-established on Ferntree Rd, protecting seven coupes of old growth Forest Policy Research that are threatened by logging. Roading stopped in the area at the Big River erosion, stopping the progress of logging in the region.
The tree-sit protest at the Ellery forest has been ongoing for over a week. Hundreds of people have joined the campaign, including Dana Lyons, the famous country singer. She is on a World Tour with the World Temperate Rainforest Network and has been speaking out against the logging industry’s practices in the region. On 16 December, she was given a tour of a temperate forest in East Gippsland. On the 21st, she was given a party by GECO’s activists, complete with a range of entertainment.
A lone protester has ended a five-day tree-sit campaign in E Gippsland today, after a police response. The protester, Darcy Vermont, has been on a tree-top since Friday, and has locked on to machinery in an old growth forest near Bendoc. There have been seven arrests so far, but he says his actions have not led to any violence.
The logging industry has seized the land in question and demolished it. This is the second time the GECO crew has occupied a site in the region. The company has a permit to log in the park and there is no native timber in the area. The loggers have stopped the operation in the park, and logged around half the site.
The GECO group has been monitoring the logging industry in East Gippsland for the last five years. The organisation has arrested nine individuals for blocking logging operations on the state’s forests. The arrests have led to a stoppage of work and a ban on the company’s new plans to expand the business. In the meantime, the activists have held a party to celebrate their efforts and have called on the Premiers of the respective states to stop the project.
The tree stand protests in East Gippsland continue. Despite logging in the area, the campaign continues with the protesters blocking the road to the Eden Woodchip Mill. The activists are also demanding the government halt old growth logging and re-open the roads in the region. In fact, the GECO kitchen was a focal point of the event, as it served as the site of a large demonstration.