Yesterday Echonetdaily reported that NSW Greens MP, Dawn Walker had been fined for protesting against a logging operation that has been caught out destroying koala habitat in Gibberagee State Forest.
In response to that story, the Forestry Corporation of NSW has contacted Echonetdaily saying no fines were issued.
‘The Forestry Corporation has not issued any penalties or fines at Giberagee State Forest,’ said a spokesperson for Forestry Corporation of NSW.
‘Yesterday, (Wednesday, 13 February), community members entered a worksite that was closed to the public for safety reasons and our staff informed them they were in a closed area and asked them to move to a safer area.’
‘Gibberagee State Forest is a regrowth forest with a long history of timber production. There are tight regulations around timber harvesting that ensure it is sustainable, that native flora and fauna are protected and that all harvested areas regrow into thriving, diverse, natural forests, and Forestry Corporation continues to operate in line with these regulations.
‘Recent changes to forest regulations use new, rigorous scientific mapping of potential koala habitat to ensure sufficient koala feed trees are retained even if koalas are not actually sighted, which only strengthens koala protections.
‘The new regulations have also increased long-term monitoring to ensure the rules in place are delivering the best environmental outcomes.’
Harvesting Manager demanded name and home address
Echonetdaily contacted Ms Walker to clarify details of the protest.
‘Forestry Corporation took an intimidatory approach towards community members in Gibberagee State Forest who were peacefully trying to highlight their failure to undertake the legally required surveys to identify Koala High Use Areas requiring protection,’ she said.
‘At around 8am, the Harvesting Manger appeared on site and issued a clear directive that the State Forest was closed and everyone would be issued with a $100 on-the-spot fine if they didn’t leave the area by 8:20am.
‘He returned with two Forestry workers who filmed protesters and took down number plates.
‘The Harvesting Manager then demanded the name and home address of the people who had refused to leave the site (including myself) with the clear statement that we would be fined or prosecuted.
‘These community members had evidence of illegal logging and should hav been heard by Forestry Corporation, not slapped with fines.
‘These fines should be dropped and I’m glad to hear that Forestry Corporation may now be backing away from its heavy-handed response.
‘It’s disgraceful that Forest Corporation and the NSW Government continue to ignore their own logging rules, which is pushing koalas towards extinction across NSW’, Ms Walker said.