Bellingen Activist Newtwork Media Release
Logging has been stopped in Newry State Forest, with 6 logging machines leaving the forest this morning. Over half the native forest has been left untouched, signalling a huge win for the community.
Community members suspect that a month of community pressure, media and a recently lodged court case against Forestry Corp has all contributed to the machines leaving the forest early. This is a rare occurrence, with huge costs associated with FCNSW leaving a forest before the final dates.
Sandy Greenwood, Gumbaynggirr custodian, shares:
“This is a historic moment for us on Gumbaynggirr country. While indigenous culture is routinely destroyed, it’s rare to get a win along the way. Our grassroots community resistance has worked and we will continue to fight until all Gumbaynggirr lands are protected from Forestry’s operations. We are relieved that the forest will breathe quiet tonight and that my elders can walk back on our country.”
A court case against FCNSW has also been lodged, with an adjournment being sought in the NSW Land & Environment Court today. Al Oshlack, Researcher/Advocate with the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network, who is the acting lawyer shares:
“Forestry have built an edifice based on fabrication and regulation which has allowed them to carry on forestry operations including alleged criminal and civil breaches of environmental, species and Aboriginal heritage legislation with impunity. This has resulted in a wholesale destruction of threatened animals which in some cases, to the point of extinction particularly Gliders and Koalas.”
“The Newry Court case in particular is highlighting the routine destruction of significant heritage whereas Forestry’s operation plan itself says that
there are no cultural heritage sites in the forest. In fact Newry has become forestry’s own Juukun Gorge. We are celebrating the machines leaving but are hoping to use the court case to get a more permanent outcome for Newry State Forest.”
The community is celebrating today and committed to following FCNSW to the next forest to take action and aim for the same outcome. Bellingen Activist Network is using non-violent direct action and community pressure to push for an end to native forest logging across NSW.
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