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Australia's forest protection petition

Franklin Scarf, from the famous business Scarf family, and colleagues of Earth Repair Foundation organised this petition to the Federal Parliament (both Houses, Representatives and Senate) in 1997 in an unprecedented, and mammoth achievement of consultation across community groups representing millions of Australians. The petition is still gathering signatures having been signed by literally hundreds of thousands of Australians and endorsed by groups representing millions.
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Media release
News Release

Forest Protection Australia's biggest ever public petition

14th Dec 1998 - April 2003 [ongoing]

The Earth Repair Foundation (ERF), a non-government environmental education organisation based in the Blue Mountains, is seeking to achieve Australia's most signed petition. It calls for the protection of the nation's high conservation value native forests.

The bid is supported by more than 120 diverse, community, union, business, environment, ethnic, religious and political organisations (see list of endorsees). The Forest Protection Petition is seeking to collect OVER A MILLION SIGNATURES. The Petition, with an unprecedented support base, aims to be the most effective in Australia's history. The previous most signed petition in Australia was for health care funding which collected 513,445 signatures and was presented in 1993.

A spokesperson for the Forest Protection Petition campaign, national co-ordinator Franklin Scarf said today, that the petition aimed at protecting in perpetuity Australia's irreplaceable native forests, including old growth and rainforests. It will be presented daily to the Federal House of Representatives and every week to the Senate. The petition advocates a long-term approach to environmentally-sustainable forestry practices, by assisting rural communities with much-needed employment to develop plantation timbers and annual fibre crops. It motivates the principle of "reaping only what we sow".

Mr Scarf said "It is a tragic irony that Australia's native forests are being destroyed to export woodchips to Japan, while Japan preserves its own native forests as national treasures". Recent media reports on the appalling forest fire destruction and resultant pollution in South East Asia have drawn increased international focus to the importance of protecting the remaining high conservation value forests. It is a regional issue affecting neighbouring countries.

"Australia, as a signatory to the United Nations Biodiversity Convention, is committed to protect the fauna and flora unique to our native forests. Any government's acceptance of the further destruction of our beautiful Australian forests for short-term economic gain, is ecologically and economically indefensible - it is stealing an ancient heritage from future generations", Mr Scarf said.

Mr Scarf further said that "Australia's environmental practices will come increasingly under international scrutiny with the approaching Sydney Olympics in the year 2000. This is an opportunity for the Australian Government to demonstrate responsible and exemplary environmental leadership by adopting the world's best practices for Australia's forests". Australia's forests and wilderness have always been an integral part of Aboriginal life and are still interrelated with the culture of Australia's traditional owners.

"It is not only an issue of ecology, but one of human rights and cultural survival". (NSW ABORIGINAL LAND COUNCIL).

For further information, please contact:

Tom McLoughlin at [ecologyaction sydney, on Phone: 02 9599 8499, E-Mail]

or Franklin Scarf, at EARTH REPAIR FOUNDATION, PO Box 150, Hazelbrook, NSW, 2779. Phone: 02 4758 6393, Fax: 02 4758 6904, Mobile: 014 671 372, E-Mail

REVISION: 25th April 2003

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