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June 26, 2024

Bulga State Forest logging protesters get good behaviour bonds

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Knitting Nannas outside the Taree Court House supporting Aaron Crowe, Susie Russell, and Isla Lamont. Photo Supplied

Protests and ‘watch camps’ have been part of actions throughout the North Coast of NSW over the last several months as locals have sought to protect their local state forests from logging. 

Yesterday, 22 February three activists who had been arrested at the Bulga State Forest action site faced court. All had pleaded guilty to the offences of entering a prohibited forest and putting themselves in an unsafe situation. Each of the three received no conviction and a nine month good behaviour period.

Magistrate Allison Hawkins took into account their good character and the fact that the offences occurred on forestry land and had not been an inconvenience to the general public.

Aaron Crowe, Susie Russell, and Isla Lamont. Photo Supplied

Aaron Crowe was the first case to be heard. He said he was pleasantly surprised by the outcome but it was bitter sweet, knowing the forests are still falling, and there is still much to do.

‘If you care about our forests and all the animals that call them home then now’s the time, the forest needs you! If we don’t stop them, they will sell every last tree that the fire didn’t get in order to fill their quota and you can kiss the greater glider, the koala, and many other national treasures goodbye.’

For Isla Lamont, the response was one of relief.

‘It’s such a relief to have our voices actually heard without being punished. The climate crisis is so real and urgent that standing up to the madness that is destroying our native forests is the only thing to do. Today showed me who the real criminals are. The NSW Government and the Forestry Corporation need to act humanely now.’

54% don’t support logging 

Following the 2019–20 Black Summer Fires the NSW government were advised by the Natural Resources Commission’s (NRC) that they should halt logging in areas impacted by the fires for at least three years. 

Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said at the time the report was leaked that, ‘It is now clear the government was advised it should suspend timber harvesting for at least three years in extreme risk zone, including Narooma, Nowra and Taree.’

A poll released in January by NSW’s biggest environment group, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) NSW, has unveiled polling which shows 54 per cent of people in NSW oppose logging in state forests. 

NCC Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said that, ‘the polling is unequivocal – people want the Perrottet Government to ban native timber harvesting and transition to plantation wood. 

‘The Bulga State Forest, like native forests across the state, are home to many critically endangered species, such as the Greater Glider and the Koala. 

‘If logging is allowed to continue, koalas will be pushed even further down the path to extinction as soon as 2050.’

Aaron Crowe, Susie Russell, and Isla Lamont. Photo Supplied

Nine months too long

 North Coast Forest Alliance (NEFA) member, who says she was targeted by the police for arrest, argued that the nine month long good-behaviour period was too long for such a minor offence. However, magistrate Hawkins disagreed. 

‘While it is a relief that none of us today had convictions recorded, it is frustrating that we were the ones on trial, when the real criminals are the NSW Government and the Forestry Corporation, who are closing the forests to public scrutiny and criminalising protest,’ said Ms Russell following the courts case.

‘There is no doubt that most people want the logging to stop and the forests protected. We are definitely on the right side of history. Our concern is that so much damage will have been done before the politicians take that decision, that we will have a cascade of problems that could have been averted. Much like what is happening with climate change. Two decades of inaction means the impacts will be far worse.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Well your not actually engaging in protest, your actually saboteurs. But it was good that they acknowledged you aren’t perpetrating against real people. Maybe you should get a permit and stage a protest at the front of their office, cause if you go back to the forest you will get a very different result next time.

    If professional polling for the anti-logging campaign could only parlay 54%, then the pro-logging/don’t care sentiment in the community must be fierce. Before you say my logic is faulty, watch “Leading Questions – Yes Prime Minister” on youtube for a short easy explanation.

  2. Lucky/lucky, eh ?
    OK – You got a sympathetiic/lu’vvie magistrate this time – but next time it could be far different.
    But hey – there are many more of you “first-timers” that are ready and willing to queue-up and sacrifice their futures.
    The Ghandhi philosophy.

  3. Well your not actually engaging in protest, your actually saboteurs. But it was good that they acknowledged you aren’t perpetrating against real people. Maybe you should get a permit and stage a protest at the front of their office, cause if you go back to the forest you will get a very different result next time.

    If professional polling for the anti-logging campaign could only parlay 54%, then the pro-logging/don’t care sentiment in the community must be fierce. Before you say my logic is faulty, watch “Leading Questions – Yes Prime Minister” on youtube for a short easy explanation.

  4. Wow. Aaron Crowe said it all:
    ” If you care about our forests and all the animals that call them home then now’s the time, the forest needs you! If we don’t stop them, they will sell every last tree that the fire didn’t get in order to fill their quota and you can kiss the greater glider, the koala, and many other national treasures goodbye”.
    Double Duke’s Giant trees need us. People power is the only way we can stop this State sanctioned destruction. See you at DD. The Echo did an article on Double Duke recently.

  5. It’s so heart breaking that money always win in the battle. Keep up the great fight! Very proud of anyone who risk their comfort, convenience, safety and everything that comes with fighting for the silent trees and wildlife. Massive big thank you from me and my wildling friends…

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