Logging machinery was removed from the Nambucca State Forest last week by the NSW Forestry Corporation in response to five weeks of strong community opposition.
‘The Protect Nambucca State Forest campaign is celebrating a moment of reprieve after machinery was escorted out of the forest. This comes after weeks of community actions to stop the desecration of cultural sites and key koala habitat within the State Forest,’ said a spokesperson for the campaign.
The group are claiming this as their first victory, and the result of multiple community actions that removed the social license of the logging operations and delayed their work. The forest holds significant cultural value for the Gumbaynggirr people, who had given no prior consent for logging to occur.
Five week campaign
‘This is a hard fought victory made possible by the tireless effort, spirit and energy of our elders, Gumbaynggirr custodians, local community and allies over the past five weeks,’ said Gumbaynggirr custodian and spokesperson Sandy Greenwood.
The Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group collected over 23,000 signatures that were tabled in NSW Parliament and maintained a vigil camp at the entry of the forest that was visited by hundreds of supporters.
With all negotiations dismissed by Forestry Corporation, forest defenders were given no other choice than to escalate and began the on site campaign with locking a person on to a harvester, stopping work for hours. This came after rain and formal court proceedings had interrupted logging operations for the previous two weeks.
‘We have sent a strong message to the NSW Forestry Corp that their relentless destruction of sacred country will be met with fierce resistance. Our ancestors fought hard to protect country and it has been their presence and protection that has given us an enormous strength to continue this fight,’ continued Ms Greenwood.
‘The alliance has been made aware that the machinery has moved into Wild Cattle Creek, another biodiversity hotspot only just spared from the fires. The alliance is pledging to extend their campaign to protect other native forests in the area from logging.
‘The NSW Forestry Corporation have been given the permission to log 140,000 hectares of coastal forests from Taree to Grafton which they refer to as “intensive harvesting zones”. If we don’t act now our deeply significant cultural heritage will be desecrated, our beautiful old growth trees will be logged, rare flora will become extinct and our koalas and endangered species will literally have nowhere else to go.
‘We will continue to stand up for country, this isn’t the end for us.’
The group is calling for Nambucca State Forest to be protected as a cultural heritage park to boost local jobs and protect sacred forest only just spared from the fires.