900 locals join thousands across Australia in march for forest protection

The Bellingen march was part of a national campaign. Photo: Jonathan Cassell.

ACROSS Australia, the ‘March for Forests’ on Sunday March 24 drew thousands of participants, with almost 900 marchers taking to the streets of Bellingen.

The Bellingen event, supported by Gumbaynggirr elders and representatives, brought hordes of passionate advocates out to voice their plea to government to end native forest logging and protect biodiversity.

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Local organisers have proclaimed the event a resounding success.

The national event, organised by the Bob Brown Foundation, was a celebration of community unity and commitment to safeguarding forests and wildlife.

“It was awesome to see so many people wanting to end native forest logging and protect our unique plants and animals,” said local organiser Kaz Selbie.

“It’s up to each and every one of us to defend our forests.

“The more we talk about it, write to our local and federal government and act where we can, the forest killing laws will change.”

Ms Selbie said anyone would be inspired by the dedicated and passionate ‘forest legends’ who work hard to preserve forests, however those people need ongoing support to succeed.

Speakers emphasized the urgency of action to preserve forests and protect endangered wildlife, encouraging individuals to step up and take a stand before forests disappear.

Cath Eaglesham from the Bellingen Environment Centre highlighted the issue of active logging in seven local native forest compartments.

“The Bob Brown Foundation rally is a nationwide call to action to end native forest logging and this couldn’t be more welcomed than here in the Bellingen Shire,” she said.

“There are at least seven forest compartments surrounding Bellingen that are active or about to become active (proposed for logging).

“This has to stop because everyone in our Shire depends on the healthy drinking water that comes from our forests and the impacts logging has on our wildlife is a disaster.”

Louise Cranny from the Kalang River Forest Alliance highlighted the significance of protecting local forests.

“The threat of imminent logging in the Oaks State Forest is a wake-up call, demanding our immediate action.

“As a long-term resident of the Kalang Valley, I am motivated to protect Oaks because it risks permanent and irreversible damage to the Kalang River as well as our clean water supply.

“It is shameful of the Labor party if logging of Oaks is allowed to go ahead, wasting tax- payers money by destroying a pristine forest and river system that is prime koala habitat.”

Jenny Weber, the Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaigns Manager told the crowd, “Our Foundation is building a nationwide movement to end native forest logging.

“We are uniting groups around the country who defend native forests.

“We are urging the public to stand with us and become a part of this critical movement to save our forests.

“Together, we can make a difference.”

More information about the campaign can be found at www.bobbrownfoundation.org.au.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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