save the Blue Tier
blue tier update
Fran Coghlan and Lesley Nicklason unfurling the banner in Canberra.
Friends of the Blue Tier take their concerns to Canberra .....
- by Lesley Nicklason
On Sunday 20th June (day 100 of the Blue Tier vigil) Fran (Coghlan) and I headed for Canberra to present our case for the Blue Tier.
We had spent the previous week emailing and faxing Senators and Members of the House of Representatives requesting appointments as well as preparing information packages which included a map of the Blue Tier Nature Recreation Area, a map of Break O’Day showing the extent of the planned and current clearfelling and a map of the George River catchment, as well as a brief explanation of our concerns together with a CD with photos of the areas under threat.
Having no idea what to expect we were overwhelmed with the response and had arranged many appointments by the time we left.
We arrived in Canberra on a glorious Sunday morning and briefly attended a gathering on Parliament House lawns for World Refugee Day before visiting the Aboriginal Tent Embassy (they’ve been there for 32 years).
On Monday morning we began our appointments – our presentation focussed on water concerns and we also discussed the frustration felt by community members in regard to the protection of the natural environment (for example: 5000 people signed a petition in favour and the Break O’Day Council voted unanimously to support the proposed Blue Tier Nature Recreation Area – this has counted for nothing and there are 6 logging coupes planned for next spring/summer within the proposed Nature Recreation Area).
The Ministers and/or their Advisors met with us for up to an hour and we met some great people, had some very interesting discussions and left our information packs and copy of the Upper Catchments Audit conducted by Friends of the Blue Tier which provides scientific evidence of the effects of land clearing in water catchments.
The following Ministers/Advisors met with us and listened to our concerns:
- John Shaw – Tasmanian Liaison Officer - Advisor to Liberal Senator Eric Abetz – Special Minister for State
- Nicholas Howarth – Forests, Wildlife and Biodiversity Advisor to David Kemp, Minister for the Environment and Heritage
- Senator Bill Heffernan (Liberal NSW) – Bill is very aware of water issues and has a good understanding of the situation in Tasmania. He is a member of the Senate Inquiry into water
- Tim Johnson – Advisor to Senator Ian Macdonald – Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
- Averill Bones – Environment Advisor to Senator Lyn Allison, Deputy Leader of the Democrats
- Senator Paul Calvert (President of the Senate) and Media Advisor Vince Taskunas
- Tracy Winters – Advisor to Joel Fitzgibbon – Opposition Mining, Energy and Forestry Spokesperson
- Gavan O’Neill – Advisor to Kelvin Thompson – Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage
- Susan Bryce – Advisor to Senator Len Harris (One Nation)
- Senator Aden Ridgeway – Democrat (NSW) - is on the committee for Senate Inquiry into Plantation Establishment and Water
- Duncan Kerr (ALP MHR – Tas.), Dee Alty (Advisor to Dick Adams) and Paul Kindermann – Advisor to Senator Kerry O’Brien (Shadow Minister for Tourism, Regional Services and Territories)
- Senator Brian Harradine (Independent – Tasmania)
- Senator Bob Brown and Senator Kerry Nettle – Greens
We were lucky to meet briefly with Virginia Young and Alec Marr from TWS and Don Henry and Lindsay Hesketh from ACF ..... very inspiring people.
We also recorded two live radio interviews with ABC and an interview for Southern Cross and WIN as well as wrote an article for the Canberra Times.
Fran and I felt that the trip was extremely valuable and that lobbying politicians - particularly in the lead up to the election - is critical ..... specially since John Gay's announcement that a feasibility study is being conducted into a pulp mill – probably in the north – to be “fed” by native forests in the state's north east. While some attempt has been made to look at non-chlorine bleached pulp the fact remains that a pulp mill suggests ongoing plantation establishment ..... bad news for water and for rural communities.
For further information ... please contact
Lesley on 6373 6195 or 0400 557 418
or use email link above