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Kimberley Seedy 

Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader March 26, 2013

SCORES of protesters held up logging operations near Toolangi last week but not one person has been fined yet.

About 45 people entered “Block Six” logging coupe near Toolangi last Tuesday but despite a promised crackdown on protests announced by the State Government this year, no penalties have been handed out.

Should the logging protesters face stricter penalties? Tell us below.

In January the State Government brought in new guidelines to prohibit protesters from being within 150m of an operational logging coupe.

On March 13 on-the-spot fines were also introduced. People committing multiple offences on logging coupes can now receive on-the-spot fines of more than $1400.

Department of Primary Industries spokesman Paul Sellars said authorised forest officers intercepted six protesters at a logging coupe and were now considering what action to take.

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said in January they would be taking a tougher approach towards people who trespassed on operational timber harvesting coupes.

Evelyn state Liberal MP Christine Fyffe welcomed the reforms and said the timber industry operated within the law and employed sustainable practices. But the new guidelines have not deterred protesters.

Toolangi resident Bernie Mace said a group walked into the coupe last Tuesday and held up operations for the best part of the day.

“It was about making a gesture about how sincere the community is against clearfelling,” Mr Mace said.

Mr Mace said no one had changed their mind about their opposition to logging and they planned more protests.

Comments on this story (add yours!)
  • Jacquie Wilson of mallacootaPosted at 9:30 AM Today
    they should be fined….. follow through with the new guidelines and take a tougher approach – before someone gets badly injured, or killed. We have the same problem with interlopers in East Gippsland – these protesters should not be in legally sanctioned coups.
  • Lee Fuller of EmeraldPosted at 9:28 AM Today
    State Governments have been mismanaging OUR forests for decades! Protesters are the last line of defence for so much of our environment that is rapidly vanishing. They deserve our support. What sort of future do we leave our children and grandchildren when our forests are decimated?