Bellingen Activist Network Media Release
Gumbaynggirr Elders are claiming a small but important victory over the NSW Forestry Corporation (FCNSW) in the battle over protection of cultural areas in Newry State Forest.
This morning, in the Land and Environment Court, Forestry Corp NSW have entered into an undertaking that restrains them from logging operations in Newry State Forest until this Friday 4pm.
The undertaking is to provide time for Gumbaynggirr elders to enter the forest and assess cultural heritage damage and to file legal proceedings against the Forestry Corporation.
“We are relieved to have our first win in court this morning – a temporary reprieve from the destruction of our sacred homelands. I can now go up to our Nunguu mountain and do cultural business again,” shares Uncle Bud.
The injunction proceedings are being filed in response to active logging taking place within the Newry State Forest over sites that hold significant cultural value to the local Gumbaynggirr people.
Forestry Corporation would be held in serious contempt of court if they breach the terms of the undertaking. This is in place until the next hearing, where matters will be reassessed. The community is then hoping a formal injunction will be put in place.
“There have been concerns about the lack of transparency from Forestry Corporation who have avoided Gumbaynggirr community consultation processes and ignored contact and questions from the community” said Sandy Greenwood, Gumbaynggirr custodian and spokesperson.
“This has been the first positive response from the Forestry Corporation since the protest camp was set up and the forest blockaded three weeks ago. Forestry Corporation has made it nearly impossible to take them to court, so we are seeing this as a promising opportunity to hold them accountable and protect cultural areas,” added Sandy Greenwood.
The camp is being supported by Gumbaynggirr custodians, and is made up of locals and various environmental groups. Hundreds of people have visited over the last few weeks, with events and actions making national news.
More information on upcoming local actions and events can be found at facebook.com/bellingenactivistnetwork
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