Rally in Australian forests to oppose woodchip industry

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Sunday, July 2, 2006

Greens' Senator Kerry Nettle and Greens' 2007 NSW MLC candidate Joyn Kaye holding banner at head of rally at Eden July 2, 2006

A rally organised by a coalition of nearly 30 environmental groups took place at the site of the Eden wood chip mill in the south east forests of New South Wales today. Organisers estimate that 600 people attended the event, many of whom had travelled hundreds of kilometers to the site from various parts of New South Wales and Victoria.

Wood chip piles at Eden NSW rise above tree tops. Darker pile produced from old growth forest.

The protesters sought to highlight the trade in wood chips made from old growth native forests which has continued in Australia despite promises by governments to discontinue the practice. It is thought to be an unnecessary sacrifice of a publicly owned resource and the habitat of native animals for short term profits. The industry is subsidised through provision of publicly funded infrastructure and a unreasonably low royalty levied on harvesters of the resource.

All Eden wood chips are exported, mostly to pulp and paper mills in Japan and the paper made from Eden chips is generally copy paper used in the printing industry and it is consumed within Japan. Since its establishment, Eden has exported over 35 million tonnes of native forest chips.

The Eden chip mill exports approximately 900,000 tonnes of chips a year, and is heading for 1 million tonnes in the next couple of years, produced from native forests each year and Australia is the only country that continues to trade forest wood chips to Japan, as all other supplier countries use plantation stock to produce chips.

The rally was organised with police cooperation and was conducted without any incident.

Sources

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