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March 30, 2023

Mother–daughter protesters face court over tree-sit at Yarratt State Forest

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Juliet and Luca Lamont. Photo supplied

It is symbolic that on International Women’s Day (IWD) that the non-violent, mother–daughter protesters who sat in a tree to highlight the danger that continued logging of NSW native forests, particularly in high-quality koala habitat, face court.

Juliet Lamont, and her daughter Luca, will face court today for their attempt to highlight the unsustainable forestry practices in Yarratt State Forest.

Juliet and Luca Lamont tree sit at Yarratt State Forest. Photo supplied

They were arrested on January 30 after they had suspended themselves on tree platforms attached to ropes that rendered the logging machinery inoperable until they were removed.

‘I didn’t want to get arrested, but like many young people, I am increasingly frustrated that the destruction of our public forests, that is subsidised by the people of NSW, is still happening day after day regardless of the fact that it’s moving species like the koala towards extinction,’ explained 24-year old Luca Lamont.

‘Governments hold Inquiries and get “reports” and then ignore the results. My action was to try and get their attention.’

The Natural Resources Commission’s (NRC) report to the NSW government, that was leaked in late November 2021, recommended that logging was stopped for three years in areas hardest hit by the Black Summer bushfires. This report has been ignored by the current NSW government who have facilitated many of these areas being logged. 

‘The NRC recommended that logging stop immediately in Taree Management Area because of the extreme risk logging would cause serious and irreversible harm, a month later Forestry started logging the only unburnt State Forest (Yarratt) and they are still at it,’ explained North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson Dailan Pugh in January 2022.

Satellite images of logging Yarratt State Forest 2021 to 2023. Image supplied

‘When I saw the satellite image of Yarratt that showed really clearly the intensity of the logging, I  knew I had to act,’ said Juliet Lamont.

‘The other lowland State Forest in the Taree area, Kiwarrak, was badly burnt in the fires. Yarratt didn’t burn. There have been hardly any koala sightings in Kiwarrak since the fires, in Yarratt there have been more than 30 and the area has been classified as high quality koala habitat.

Juliet Lamont, film-maker and activist,

Greenwashing government

‘It is unbelievable that the NSW Government can talk about doubling koala numbers and spending millions on their recovery when what they are really doing is greenwashing. Koalas don’t eat money. They have their favourite trees and they live in colonies. Unless we identify and protect those colonies, koalas won’t survive in the wild. It’s as simple as that.

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

‘I want my kids to know I tried. And I am incredibly proud that my daughters have chosen to take action as well,’ said Juliet.

Juliet’s other daughter Isla was recently given a nine-month good behaviour bond for her protest in Bulga State Forest.

Koala extinction Blinky. Photo supplied

Warning- not a sight for children

Blinky, the incarnation of Koala Extinction will also be outside the courthouse, his charred carcass and painful bellows an insight into the future for koalas if the logging of their forest homes doesn’t stop.

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