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A pocket history of the campaign
to protect the forests of the Otways.
Members of the Cross Campus Environment Network
pay a visit to Kimberly-Clark's
Save the Otways 1981-1993
West Barham River - a seven year moratorium on logging
in that area.
Stopped the continued logging in the Otway National Park in
1985 (instead of planned stop in 1988).
Stopping industry intimidation and harassment of local environmentalist....
Otway Ranges Environment Network 1995 - Now
Mid 1995 - Otway Forest Network formed from numerous existing
1995/96 summer - 5 Actions in the Otway Forest protesting against
woodchipping, water quality issue, and the destruction of the
rainforests. Actions included shutting the entire forestry operation
down in the Otways for a day though a series of coordinated action.
1995/96 summer - Supporters occupied the offices of the Minister
for Natural Resources and Environment as part of the Otway Forest
1995/96 Feb - OREN used Freedom of Information legislation to
expose the Victorian Government for withholding vital documents
relating to the disease Myrtle Wilt - which is destroying the
rainforests of the Otways.
1996/98 The campaign against Kimberly Clark (manufacturer of
Kleenex Tissues) forces company to source woodchips from native
forest outside the Otways.
1998/1999 Strong direct action in the forest over summer. Several
incidents of violence against conservationists. Timber Union picket
on SSP track refuses to let conservationists leave campsite for
5 days. Growing community support for OREN's aims as representatives
of local government and business organisations begin to openly
back an end to clearfelling in the Otway Forests.
1999 Campaign begins to promote non timber forest values begins.
This focus is on biodiversity/conservation, water catchments and
nature based tourism.
1999 Western Victorian Groups input into the Western Victorian
1999 OREN works with the Geelong Community Forum to have the
community of Geelong included in the RFA process as Geelong's
drinking water is sourced from Otway Forests.
Summer 1999/2000. OREN joins with Forest Rescue and the newly
formed Wye River Action Group in establishing spectacular aerial
forest blockades. Ropes, platforms, pulleys and climbing equipment
are used to construct a tree village in the canopy of Rileys Ridge.
Attempts by police and DNRE officers to remove protesters from
Riley's Ridge proved fruitless.
2000-2001 Renewed violence against Otways conservationists brings
all parties to the negotiating table (see
dancing with the devil). Though initially making the right
noises it could be easy to suggest that the new environment minister
appears to be as much under the thumb of the prologging bureaucrats
and logging interests as previous ministers. Research into the
effects of logging on water catchments brings positive news for
conservationist though the Minister chooses to down play the significance.
And the saga continues