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Logging machines leave Newry State Forest prematurely after a month of community pressure

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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  1. Canguro

    What really sticks in my throat, or gets under my skin, or just plainly pisses me off, is how certain roles and situations in life seem to invite those who are in those circumstances to assume that they somehow or other have a stranglehold on opinion as well as holding the reins of authority and the capacity to make decisions that negatively impact others but benefit themselves.

    In this context, take the the contentious issues of native forest logging in Australia. It’s been a thing, of course, ever since whitey stepped off the boats nearly 250 years ago, and for those of us with a ken for reflection, any drive through the Australian landscape is an opportunity to consider that all of those umpteen thousands of hectares of pasture that side aside the roads we drive on up & down the east coast of this continent were once forested landscapes, as were those in SA & WA along with the NT.

    If I was a sentimental type given to sadness and rumination, it would almost bring me to tears to ponder on the uncountable billions of trees ripped from the ground to be either milled for commercial timber and turned into dollar profits for the merchants or simply windrowed and burned prior to foreign grass-seeds sown and cloven-footed animals introduced, again, solely for dollar profits. It I was a sentimental type, I would never cease my mourning over the uncountable billions of creatures who, thoughtlessly, were mere collateral damage in this ghastly calamity; their loss of habitat, housing, shelter, food sources, and their subsequent deaths. Tragedy upon tragedy, all of it appalling.

    As paltry an argument that can be mustered, one might mount an excuse for the early settlers, those ignorant usurpers of other people’s lands, those righteous bible-thumping savages who, generally, had no qualms about their dispossessing the indigenous inhabitants and in many cases simply murdering them to solve the problem of their presence on the lands that themselves now intended to occupy, one might say, ‘well, they knew no better,’ and to a large extent that could be the case, but it’s hard to maintain that pretence in these times.

    The argument that it’s okay to log native forests has well passed its use-by date. We know full well that over 90% of the east coast rainforests are gone; we know that nationally over 50% of the forests have been cleared, we know that Australia is one of the worst developed countries for deforestation, along with one of the highest loss rates for native fauna across the planet’s continents, and yet here we are, with insignificant men in suits authorising the continuing destruction of native forests such that we saw that outrageous behaviour recently in Tasmania where an ancient Eucalyptus regnans was cut down presumably on the say-so go-ahead permission of the Tasmanian government’s euphemistically named logging authority, Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

    Insignificant men in suits, ignorant farmers with one finger stuck in the air flouting the rules and legislation, obdurate idiots with a chainsaw in their hands, timber mills that ought to have shuttered their doors long ago, governments along with private enterprises that hold contracts to supply wood chips to Japan; all of them wilfully ignorant and criminally so with respect to the ongoing endorsement of the wholesale ravaging of this precious and fragile landscape. When will it cease? When the last tree is cut down, like on Easter Island? When the landscape is completely barren, and bushfires rip through grasslands and destroy towns & cities like in Hawaii where Lahaina, razed as a consequence of the earlier destruction of the natural landscape to be replaced with pineapple plantations and guinea grass as well as the loss of water through diversion into farming and other commercial purposes burned to the ground?

    I don’t know what it will take, but the depth of ignorance and disdain and indifference on display amongst the community of insignificant men in suits who appear to believe that only their opinions count is fiercely frustrating; that their endorsements of the ongoing destruction of this continent’s forested regions is allowed is surely a practically criminal act.

  2. Fred

    Canguro: Hear bloody hear. I’m from NSW that has the Forestry “Corporation” of NSW in charge. The name says it all.

    They apparently manage to “balance environmental conservation and community recreation with timber production and access for other primary industries such as grazing and beekeeping to ensure our forests sustainably deliver multiple benefits to the community for the long term”. No conflicts of interest there… really? I have zero confidence in their ability properly manage native forests as they are still being logged.

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