Greens founder Bob Brown has been arrested while protesting against logging in Tasmania’s highlands just days after he blasted Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek for giving him the cold shoulder.
His arrest was revealed by his foundation and came after he spent the night camped out in the state’s Eastern Tiers Forest Reserve alongside defenders of a swift parrot habitat.
‘This is a national disgrace, I call on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to halt this logging which is illegal under Australia’s international obligations,’ Mr Brown said of the logging area.
His arrest comes just days after he called out the environment minister for giving him the cold shoulder after the two ran into each other at the same restaurant.
Labor’s Tanya Plibersek was touring Tasmania last week to ‘consider the environmental impact on this special part of Australia, understand the cultural and heritage significance, and to hear the views of the local community’ when she ran into Mr Brown.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Mr Brown shared a photo of himself at a café in Tullah, two hours west of Launceston, and complained that Ms Plibersek had snubbed him.
Bob Brown’s arrest was revealed by his foundation after he had spent the night camped out in the area alongside defenders of a swift parrot habitat
Bob Brown (centre) shared this photo in which Ms Plibersek is seen dining with a group of men just over his shoulder (pictured)
‘Last night, Australia’s Environment Minister Plibersek dined with senior mining officials not Bob Brown and environmentalists, two tables away,’ the Bob Brown Foundation account tweeted.
‘The minister declined an invitation to see rainforests with Bob today. An absolute low in Australian environmental history.’
Mr Brown has continued fighting for the environment since stepping down as the leader of the Greens in 2012.
In an earlier media release about the swift parrot protest, Mr Brown said: ‘To camp here with swift parrots overhead and in the remains of the forest around us is to experience the feeling that Australia is committing a crime against nature.
‘These critically endangered birds are here, and nowhere else on Earth, and nesting.
‘No nests, no birds. And the government is licensing the destruction of the big trees, the very ones needed for nesting.
‘The same applies to the masked owl which called directly above my campsite last night under the full moon.
‘(Tasmanian) Premier Jeremy Rockliff can halt this debacle immediately. In this era of mass extinction, it is unconscionable that this critically endangered bird’s feeding and breeding habitat in Tasmania is being destroyed for woodchips to China,’ he added.
In a statement, Tasmania Police told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Police attended a timber production zone at Lake Leake this morning following reports a group of people was obstructing the work of logging contractors.
‘Some of the people in the group were moved on without incident, however a man who initially failed to move on from the area will be summonsed to attend court on a Trespass matter.
‘Two women who had secured themselves to logging equipment with metal lock-on devices were arrested and charged with Trespass and Obstruct Police after Search and Recue officers had to attend and release them from the equipment.
‘They will appear in court at a later date.’
Mr Brown is a long-time resident of Tasmania and his Bob Brown Foundation promotes environmental awareness – including pushing for the Tarkine region to be World Heritage Listed, which would prevent mining.
Ms Plibersek (pictured) will need to make an opinion on whether to back the Chinese-owned MMG mine building a tailings dam in the pristine Tarkine area of Tasmania
According to Tasmania’s Department of State Growth the pristine Takyna/Tarkine area of northwestern Tasmania contains the largest area of cool temperate rainforest in Australia and a multitude of Aboriginal heritage sites.
But the area is also rich in minerals and is one of Tasmania most ‘critically’ important sites for the mining and forestry industries which bring in billions in revenue.
Ms Plibersek said, as part of her two day tour of the Tarkine region, she ‘met with workers from a zinc and copper mine that’s been operating in the area for over 85 years’.
‘The mine is seeking federal government approval for a new dam. I take these decisions seriously,’ she said.
The Chinese-owned MMG heavy metals mine at Rosebery is seeking approval for a 285-hectare tailings dam – an embankment used to store mining byproducts.
In July this year, the Bob Brown Foundation argued in court former environment minister Sussan Ley’s decision to allow work to commence at the site was not authorised under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
The Federal Court ruled in his favour that Ms Ley did not take into account the area is the habitat of Tasmania’s rare masked owl.
Ms Plibersek said on Friday she was carefully considering her decision.
‘I’ll carefully consider what I’ve seen and heard in making a decision, as I am required to do by law. For now, I have to be careful about what I say publicly, because any suggestion I have prejudged a decision could see it challenged in court,’ she said.