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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Protesters and Forestry reach new agreement

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Protestor on a bamboo tripod on private land being logged at Whian Whian minutes before hew was removed by police. Photo Jeff Dawson
Protester on a bamboo tripod on private land being logged at Whian Whian minutes before he was removed by police. Photo Jeff Dawson

Chris Dobney

A further blockade of the Whian Whian logging site this morning (Saturday September 28) has resulted in a second agreement between the Forestry NSW and the local community allowing habitat surveys to continue.

Members of the local Branch Creek community blockaded the access road to the private logging site this morning from 7.30, meaning loggers were unable to gain access.

Protesters requested independent experts be allowed to continue their habitat and koala surveys, commenced yesterday, to continue today, according to local resident Patrick Tatam.

‘Police arrived 10.45am and attempted to break up the blockade,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘An agreement was finally signed between representatives of the Branch Creek community and NSW Forestry Corporation at about 11.45, which means Forestry can go in and remove two truckloads of lumber today and two more tomorrow from the stockpile already felled. No more trees will be felled over the weekend.

‘Meanwhile, the independent surveys can continue today,’ he said

Mr Tatam added that the highly qualified botanists and ecologist conducting surveys were hoping to finish their work by 4pm today.

Friday 26 September

Protesters at a logging operation on private land on Whian Whian Road have reached an agreement with the Forestry Corporation this morning to enable access to the property by two renowned local botanists and a highly qualified biologist on behalf of the community and have their survey results incorporated in the forestry plan for the site.

In return the protesters have agreed to allow one full truck of logs to be transported out of the site today, but no further logging work will be undertaken on the property before tomorrow.

Under the terms of the agreement, a copy of which has been sighted by Echonetdaily, the Forestry Corporation agrees that: no further trees will be felled on Friday September 27 2013; independent and transparent surveys by Hugh and Nan Nicholson and Rob Kooyman for flora and koalas may be undertaken from 9am in company with Forestry Corporation staff; to incorporate the results into the harvesting plan and apply the appropriate prescriptions; to remove one load of logs (approx 23 sq m); there will be no harvesting on Ludwig Miranda’s property at any time.

The community agrees: to allow unhindered access and egress to and from the Edrich/Helle property for Forestry Corporation and its contractors and agents; to allowing snigging of sufficient logs to make up one full load of logs if necessary; to resume haulage through Ludwig Miranda’s property  as soon as possible.

The agreement follows 24 hours of escalated tension at the site, during which a man sitting on a bamboo tripod on the access track was removed by police and a local resident alleges he was ‘driven at’ by a police vehicle.

Echonetdaily photographer Jeff Dawson, who witnessed the man’s removal, said police lifted the legs of the tripod and ‘tipped him out’. He added that they ‘threw him a rope’ beforehand.


Photos Jeff Dawson and Marie Cameron

Inspector Nicole Bruce from Richmond Local Area Command told local media the man was not injured in the removal.

‘It was a very difficult operation for police to try to get him down successfully without injury to themselves and the protester,’ she told ABC radio this morning.

‘It’s quite rugged terrain. Obviously having machinery working around in the area there’s quite strict OH&S legislation surrounding the activity and he placed himself in quite a dangerous situation.’

The man was arrested and later released on bail at Lismore Local Court yesterday on the condition he not return to the area.

Locals have hailed him as a hero and claimed it is the police who have been endangering protesters.

Patrick Tatam, who lives next door to the property where logging is taking place, told Echonetdaily a police car drove ‘within centimetres’ of his foot.

‘I stood one metre out from my fencepost dividing the entrance of my place and the logging owner’s place yesterday afternoon and [a police vehicle] steered towards me, missing me by less than five centimetres. I am a JP, and am quite prepared to draft a Statutory Declaration to this effect,’ he told Echonetdaily.

Mr Tatam said he is considering lodging a complaint against police over the incident.

He is also concerned that the size and weight of the trucks could damage Whian Whian Road.

‘The trucks used to carry out the felled trees will carry up to ten each, which will gross in excess of 4,000 tonnes, and that will tear up the local gravel road irreparably,’ he said.

‘They will probably fracture or demolish the two lightweight creek-crossing culverts, as well as the crossover above two large concrete pipes just outside our place.

‘The removal of the trees will also create a massive silting up of Branch Creek, which is our (and our neighbours’) only water supply.’


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Tatam
    Well done…
    Who gives the police the right to use force and intimidation towards you.
    I, and so so many others in this region support you in protecting your land, your lifestyle, the trees that care for us.
    Thankyou for your courage to speak out and not just roll over…
    Esther

  2. Great result for the community but the Forestry Corporation of NSW is legally obligated to do surveys properly in the first place. If only FCNSW were willing to do there job properly but that would have to include thorough honest surveying by qualified staff and application of prescriptions to minimize impacts on threatened species and ecological communities.

    Even if EPA had the support from Government and arms length type of integrity to apply Penalty Infringement Notices (PIN) for willful breaches a $300 PIN alone will never change this recalcitrant bureaucratic culture.

    At the end of the day and without wanting to detract from this truly positive achievement FCNSW log forests with tens of threatened species in them every day of the week. How is that ecologically sustainable? How will logging with such little scientific support help us meet our international obligations to protect threatened species from extinction? It won’t.

  3. thanks for the above comments… the protectors need much more support from the broader community to push for legislative changes, so please communicate and share your knowledge, apparently, landowners are NOT required to inspect the land before commencement… so please email and write to any /all relevent departments.. EPA, forestry corporation nsw. environment ministers….they’re allowing logging all across the state now and in national parks would you believe… help out, don’t allow this travesty to continue..

  4. “‘The trucks used to carry out the felled trees will carry up to ten each, which will gross in excess of 4,000 tonnes, and that will tear up the local gravel road irreparably,’ he said.”

    What does this mean exactly?

    Timber weighs between 900 & 1200kg/cubic meter.
    Logs don’t typically get transported if they are much longer than about 6m.

    By the photos the logs look to be about .7 m across. That gives us about 2.3 cuM per log.
    2.5 ton per log, 25 ton per truck+truck

    Are they going to be moving 100+ truck loads?

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