Styx campaign shifts from tree-sit to ballot box

Press release - 7 April, 2004
Following the success of the first stage of their international campaign, Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society today began dismantling the Global Rescue Station in the Styx Valley, Tasmania, shifting the focus from the tree-sit to the ballot boxes of the coming Australian Federal election.

Greenpeace and the Wildness Society activists in their "tree sit" installed in one of the Styx's 84 m high Eucalyptus regnan trees.

To commemorate the five month long tree-sit, environmentalists unveiled a plaque at the base of the tree with a message in English, Japanese and German.

The Wilderness Society spokesperson Geoff Law said, "We have chosen to remove the Global Rescue Station after having firmly placed the issue of Tasmania's forests on the national political agenda, and will be expanding our campaign activities around the country.

The tree-sit began in November 2003 and has been manned by Australian and international activists from Germany, Belguim and Japan. The Global Rescue Station was installed in one of the Styx's 84m high Eucalyptus regnan trees.

The Styx is logged by Gunns Pty Ltd (1) and turned into low-value woodchips for the manufacture of paper in Japan by Oji, Nippon and Mitsubishi.

Greenpeace campaigner Rebecca Hubbard said, "We will continue to intensify the international campaign and maintain the heat on Gunns Ltd. We are continuing our dialogue with Nippon Paper, Oji Paper and Mitsubishi Paper Mills, the Japanese buyers of Styx woodchips in Japan, urging them to stop sourcing chips from Tasmania's ancient forests.

"Reports in UK newspaper The Guardian, the LA Times and on BBC TV have brought this issue to a global audience - Tasmania's threatened forests are already on the international agenda," she said.

Major international media outlets have visited the Styx, airing the story in countries such as Japan, Germany, the US,The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and the UK, and Opposition Leader Mark Latham's visit to the Styx last month further built on the campaign's momentum.

Ms Hubbard said, "Tasmania's 400-year-old threatened forests are now an election issue in Australia, and the international community are now aware of what is happening in the Styx Valley.

"Today we are also launching a tourism charter for the protection of Tasmania's ancient and wild forests, which is calling on the federal government to intervene and prevent further embarrassment to our burgeoning, sustainable tourism industry.

"Greenpeace will be contacting UK tourism operators to express their concerns about the effect of logging of Tasmania's ancient forests on the country's reputation as a prime tourism destination. The government can no longer ignore the rampant destruction of Tasmania's World Heritage-quality ancient forests," she concluded.

Note to Editors:

Notes: (1) GUNNS Ltd is a Tasmanian woodchip company and is the biggest and one of the most destructive hard-woodchip companies in the world. Gunns exports over five million green tonnes of native-forest woodchips each year, mostly to Japan. Gunns is both logging ancient forests and buying timber from ancient forests in Tasmania. Gunns continues to do this despite the persistent opposition of all Australia's environmental groups and 70% of the Tasmanian people. Gunns has refused all calls from civil society in Australia to stop sourcing timber from ancient forests.