We can’t allow the loss of those forests if we are to realistically save their myriad of species and keep the wild trees growing as a carbon bank, as a hedge against worsening global heating.
Heeding growing public outrage, the governments of Western Australia and Victoria have decided to end native forest logging, in the main, this year. But the NSW Labor government and Tasmanian Liberal governments have dug their heels in against the rising tide.
Here’s where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese can intervene. He could withdraw from the disastrous Howard-years regional forest agreements with the states under which logging of native forests was excluded from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999. But he also has at hand the Commonwealth’s powers over corporations, and that includes logging corporations, and powers over trade, including the export of woodchips, whole logs and peeled products from forests.
There is little doubt that with a majority in the House of Representatives, and with the support of the Greens in the Senate, legislation to save the forests would get swift passage. And it would be popular. Opinion polls repeatedly show that a big majority of voters across Australia, and in every state, wants the forests and their wildlife saved. The majority includes more than three of every four people who vote Labor.
That’s why it’s so important that we turn out at rallies across the nation to end native forest destruction. Labor in government continues to be under immense lobbying pressure from the corporations and union officials wanting to continue to profit from Australia’s loss. It is time for us, the public, to insist that the government responds to the voters who, with increasing urgency in this age of extinction and bushfires, are demanding action to save what is left of our forests and wildlife.
Like whaling in 1978, logging of native forests should be brought to an end in 2023. These rallies are a sure way for us all to send that clear message to those in political power. ‘Albo: it’s time! And you can do it!’
Find your local rally here.