“Think about your grandchildren”: Elder’s desperate plea

An 80-year-old Tasmanian Aboriginal man has accused the state government of “genocide against forests” after he was arrested this week at a controversial logging site in the state’s south.

Jim Everett, a Pakana Plangermairreenner Elder, political activist, poet and filmmaker, was arrested in a protest in the Styx where centuries-old forests house the world’s tallest hardwood.

A Tasmanian Police spokesperson said officers were called to protest activity at about 7.30am on Tuesday following reports of several people trespassing on a business site.

Only one person was arrested, the spokesperson said.

Footage of the incident shows a Tasmanian Police officer asked if everyone was prepared to leave the site.

In the vision, Mr Everett can be seen to shake his head and say “no”.

In a statement following his arrest, Mr Everett was critical of the state government for stopping protests and permitting native logging.

“I was there to bring a focus into my own Palawa/Pakana community, that it’s a big issue here and we all need to join in. I think that we are going to see more of the black, red and yellow colours in the forests in the future,” he said.

“I want the tell the Tasmanian Government you are committing genocide against these forests, committing genocide against our people because we are connected to the forests and we are going to fight you.”

Mr Everett also called on Tasmanians to consider the state’s forests in the upcoming state election.

“Think about your grandchildren. Are they going to be able to see these giant eucalypts in 20 or 30 years?” he told media in Hobart after his arrest.

“Or will their kids look at them saying why didn’t you do something to help stop it.”

Tuesday’s protest was organised by the Bob Brown Foundation, which also hosted a rally in Hobart last weekend that attracted up to 3000 supporters, according to the foundation.

The foundation’s president and former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, along with several other protesters, have been arrested at The Styx known colloquially as the Grove of Giants in the ongoing protest in the area.

The Tasmanian Liberal government announced it would release 40,000 hectares of forests that were previously earmarked for protection if re-elected this weekend.

Tasmanian Labor also announced an extension of existing native forest logging contracts, and said it would conduct a review into “available resources”.

Native logging has been banned in both Victoria and Western Australia, while global eyes remain on the topic with Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio consistently calling out the practice in Australia on his social media accounts.

“My organisation, Re:wild, and their partners continue to encourage the Australian government to uphold their zero extinction commitment in part by ending native forest logging across mainland Australia and Tasmania,” Mr DiCaprio posted to his 19 million Facebook followers on Tuesday.

In response, the Tasmanian minister for resources Felix Ellis said Mr DiCaprio should “stick to acting”.

“Tasmanian’s don’t appreciate being lectured by a Hollywood celebrity,” he said in a Facebook post.

On Saturday Tasmanians will head to the polls to determine whether the last liberals will be left standing- with several highly contentious voter issues on the ballot including logging, the AFL stadium, the cost-of-living crisis and a struggling healthcare system.

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