Anti-logging protesters face crack-down

The Victorian Government has announced a crack-down on protesters who trespass in operating logging coupes.

It has introduced new "public safety zones" within 150 metres of logging coupes, and will charge people who enter the zones without permission.

The Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh, says timber protesters put themselves and others at risk, and cause significant disruption to logging operations.

"Operational coupes can be hazardous worksites and require careful management due to the large equipment, heavy logs, noise levels and the nature of the activity," Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh says it is now an offence to enter a public safety zone if timber harvesting operations are occurring.

Previously, trespassers only faced charges when they interfered with timber harvesting.

Trespassers can also be charged if they cause an object or substance to enter a public safety zone.

Anti-logging protesters and forestry workers have clashed several times in recent years at Toolangi, in the Yarra Valley.

But protesters like Amelia Young from the Wilderness Society say they will not be deterred by the new restrictions.

"It won't change people's resolve to try and protect these magnificent forests from being woodchipped to make Reflex copy paper," she said.

"These important ecosystems belong to all Victorians not just the logging industry," Ms Young said.

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