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Forestry protesters dangerously targeting logging trucks on the road

Wombat State Forest Pic: Victorian National Parks Association

VicForests has issued an alert over the serious risks and hazards from threatening and aggressive driving targeting log trucks and other forestry workers. Source: Timberbiz

The alert follows reports of anti-logging activists allegedly tailgating a 63-tonne logging truck from the Wombat Forest for almost 200km, until Victoria Police stopped them at Longwarry on 30 May 2024 more than two hours later.

VicForests alleged this extremely dangerous incident included tailgating, swerving and driving without headlights in the dark. The vehicle in question had been observed at locations of protests being undertaken in the past three weeks.

According to a report in The Weekly Times harvest and haulage contractor Colin Robin, whose machinery has been repeatedly vandalised by anti-logging groups, alleged the white Ford van that stalked his driver’s truck risked causing an accident as it wove in and out of traffic and at one stage even turned off its lights to avoid being seen.

Driver Shane Brown told The Weekly Times he first noticed the van slowly driving past the Bullarto landing where they were loading logs onto the truck in the middle of the Wombat Forest at about 2pm on 30 May, and then spotted it again parked on a side road as he left the site.

Mr Brown said he kept on seeing the van, which was quite distinctive, given it had a solar panel on the roof and side awning, as he made his way to the Calder Fwy.

“The van was changing lanes and its speed changed erratically, tailgating so close at times that I couldn’t see it in the mirrors and then slowing, which caused other traffic to have to swerve around it,” he told The Weekly Times.

In the end he called Mr Robin with the registration details of the van, which led to the Drouin police urging him to pull into the Longwarry Caltex service station, where they could intercept the van.

The police then delayed the van for 20 mins, while Mr Brown got home to his family.

VicForests said this deliberate behaviour was extremely dangerous, threatening and criminal. It has the potential to cause serious injury or even death to the occupants of the vehicles in-volved and other road users.

VicForests said it would involve the police when made aware of these dangerous and potentially criminal activities and any information would be passed onto the police.

VicForests requests that all potentially life-threatening activities such as this, and any activity that can reasonably be considered as threating or harassing, are ceased and actively discouraged by the organisations involved. If injury or a fatality result from this activity, those involved will be held accountable.

VicForests said it would continue to do everything reasonably practicable to protect the health and wellbeing and safety of its staff, contractors and the public.

Earlier this month anti-logging activists smashed up the Robin family’s $350,000 excavator, which was being used to help salvage 600,000 tonnes of windblown trees from the Wombat Forest, daubing it with graffiti that warned its owner had “become a target”.