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Otway Ranges Environment Network

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 sales office


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.... Yvonne Francis.

Otway Ranges Environment Network 1995 - Now

  • Mid 1995 - Otway Forest Network formed from numerous existing groups.
  • 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 Campaign
  • 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 RFA process.
  • 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

Copyright (c) Otway Ranges Environment Network Inc