Logging of the Myrtle State Forest south of Casino was scheduled to start on Monday, 24 August. Around two dozen protesters had set up a camp on Sunday ready to protect the vulnerable koala area.
However, the forest was given a short reprieve on Monday when the environmental protection agency (EPA) responded to the North East Forest Alliance’s (NEFA) audit report of the area NSW Forestry Corporation were about to start logging.
‘We went down and stayed overnight ready to prevent equipment from damaging the forest,’ Sean O’Shannessy from the radio program Environmental as Anything told The Echo.
‘Then we were told that the NSW Forestry Corporation had been instructed by the EPA not to go ahead. That was because of the community audits that were done [by NEFA] that raised numerous issues with the planning and execution of the proposed logging.’
Speaking to The Echo from his home in Byron Shire Dailan Pugh said that ‘We identified that the area that was to be logged didn’t meet the requirements in the legislation. They are supposed to identify ten per cent of the logging area to be put aside in perpetuity. We found that the allocations were grossly deficient. The areas they had picked were the worst bits of forest that had been badly affected by the fires, and had a lot of dead trees in them.’
Mr O’Shannessy said that while the protesters had left the state forest they were ready to go back down if necessary.
‘If Gladys doesn’t want to become known as the koala killer, then she needs to bring John Barilaro to heel and stop him rampaging through our forests and destroying them. This is the last chance we have of saving koalas in NSW. They could be gone in our lifetimes. We need to protect these areas of essential koala habitat.
‘Under Matt Kean’s ministry we hope the EPA does a thorough and professional job of assessing the situation.’