April 15, 2024

Over 4,000 people have marched across Australia’s capital cities and in regional centres, calling for an end to native forest logging.

Crowds gathered in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, as well as regional centres of Newcastle, Bega, Kyneton, Lismore and Bellingen, as part of the March in March for Forests organised by the Bob Brown Foundation.

It comes only a week after 3,000 people marched to end forest logging in Hobart, amid increasing pressure on the federal government to protect forests and their inhabitants.

People attended the marches in tree or koala costumes, holding signs calling for the preservation of the habitats of native wildlife.

The foundation organised the marches to urge the prime minister to end native forest logging and securely protect native forests.

In a statement, environmentalist Bob Brown urged people to attend the marches, saying Australians “need the forests the most.”

“Right now, when we need forests the most, we are still destroying them. We need to protect and restore native forests” he said.

Jenny Weber, the Bob Brown Foundation’s campaigns manager, said the turnouts reflected a growing understanding among the public of the growing dangers of extinction some native species face.

“People know forests are being logged and confident that the story of the koalas, the greater gliders, the swift parrots, it is all coming home to people that there are literally animals that have been lost and on the path to extinction from logging.”

“People love their Australian wildlife and to think that logging is continuing to destroy their habitats is something that is of great concern to people,” she said.

March attenders in Sydney. Many people attended in tree or koala costumes, holding signs calling for the preservation of the habitats of native wildlife. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Last week the New South Wales hosted a “koala summit” looking at the major threats posed to one of Australia’s most popular native species. Bushfires, land clearing and logging were contributing to plummeting populations: in 2022 the government raised the koala’s conservation status to endangered.

Weber said protesters from across the country had expressed concerns at habitats being destroyed, even in places like Adelaide, where there was little connection to forests.

She said the Foundation’s campaign was aimed at the next federal election.

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“We are targeting Prime Minister Albanese directly – we want him to know that he can protect native forests securely across Australia and end native forest logging. It doesn’t have to be up to the state.”

“We are building out these nationwide actions until the federal election or until forests are protected,” she said.

March In March For Forests protesters in Lismore. Photograph: Bob Brown Foundation

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young added her voice to the protest, saying more “protectors” were needed.

“We need an end to native forest logging and an end to the destruction of habitat and wildlife. We need more protectors and less destroyers.”

Hanson-Young referred to the Tasmanian election result as an example of a “clear rejection” of the major parties and their climate plans.

“The Tasmanian election results are a clear rejection of the major parties’ push to continue destruction,” she said.

“Right now the federal environment minister is putting together laws to fix our broken environment laws. They must end native forest logging.”

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