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Byron Shire
May 26, 2024

Labor candidate visits Bulga State Forest protection camp

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Myall Lakes ALP candidate Mark Vanstone to visit Bulga State Forest protection camp. Photo supplied

There is no shortage of scientific evidence that we need to preserve our forests with Australia recognised as a ‘global deforestation hotspot’. The Australian government has committed to conserving 30 per cent of its land and sea area but it is once again locals on the ground who are taking action to preserve their local forests.

Long-time forest campaigner Susie Russel is arrested by police. Image NEFA

The Bulga State Forest has been in the spotlight for the last week with forest protectors stepping up and blocking logging machinery from getting into the forest to log. Over 50 people attended the blockade and two peaceful activists were arrested after Forestry Corporation called in the NSW Police to dismantle the blockade. The protest was joined by Greens MLC Sue Higginson.

Higginson said she joined the community as they draw the line and stand up to protect the public native forest from destruction.

Access to the logging area was blocked by a young forest protector on a tripod on 9 January and North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson, Susie Russell, was arrested

Isla Lamont has been up in the tripod since before dawn. Photo supplied.

State election 

The Save Bulga Forest camp has been set up at the Ellenborough Falls campground and today is hosting Myall Lakes ALP candidate Mark Vanstone.

The visit has been organised by Midcoast Councillor Dheera Smith, who visited the camp on the weekend.

‘I’m really pleased Mark Vanstone has agreed to come up and is open to learning about this issue which is just so important to the future of our region,’ said Cr Smith.

‘Many voters want to know what his position is, and what Labor’s position is, on the best use for the publicly owned State Forests,’ said Ms Smith who was elected to Council as lead candidate on the Greens ticket.

The camp, which is a family-friendly space, will be providing the guests with morning tea, some educational presentations, an introduction to camp activities and an old growth forest walk.

Forest protectors at Bulga this morning. Photo supplied.

Water supply 

Local spokesperson for the camp Jarra Hicks said the Save Bulga Forest camp was going to use its prime location to talk to as many visitors to the Ellenborough Falls as possible.

‘People come here to see the spectacular waterfall and to be in the presence of the big old trees. This place is like a tiny example of the Bulga forest. And yet, three years ago, the waterfall had dried up to a trickle and many of the oldgrowth trees across the river were burnt to ash. The amount of water in the river is directly related to the age of the forest, the older the forest in the catchment, the more water in the river,’ Ms Hicks said.

‘As the logging continues in our area it diminishes the regional water supply for decades. It’s not the only factor, climate is a major driver as well, but that is why, in a warming climate, securing our regional water supply should be a top priority. And that means stopping the logging.

‘We want to explain that and much more about the values that will be enhanced and multiplied by letting our forests age.

‘We want Mr Vanstone to know that he won’t have our support unless he is prepared to stand up for our forests, our water and our future’ Ms Hicks said.

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