Koalas defend koalas on the Forestry Corporation roof

‘Koalas’ protest the logging of native forests by Forestry Corporation

 

ON the morning of Tuesday May 18, four forest defenders, dressed as koalas, spent four hours on the Forestry Corporation roof in Coffs Harbour.

The four were part of action to highlight their view that Forestry Corporation’s NSW (FCNSW) industrial logging of native state forests is ignoring the wishes of Gumbaynggirr elders, fuelling climate change and pushing threatened wildlife to the brink of extinction.

Even though the group has met with Forestry Corporation NSW, held meetings with MPs, written letters and conducted their own surveys, which they say prove koalas are active in local state forests, they feel that Forestry Corporation continues to ignore expert advice and science.

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The group now feels that direct action is their only recourse.

One of the activist ‘koalas’ told News Of The Area, “I felt that I needed to turn up to and support the Gumbaynggirr elders.

“Forestry Corporation’s own figures show it made a profit in 2019 of only $28 a hectare, which, to me, shows that the industry is unviable.

“I will do whatever it takes to protect our forests, waterways and wildlife from native forest logging on Gumbaynggirr homelands.”

The group said that diminishing koala habitat because of bushfires and logging had already pushed Australia’s national icon to serious risk of future extinction and that Forestry Corporation’s industrial logging operations currently proposed at Newry State Forest and Pine Creek State Forest are within some of the most valuable and important koala habitats in the region.

The four were supported by a crowd of protesters outside Forestry Corporation NSW’s building who called for an immediate end to logging in public native forests across Gumbaynggirr homelands.

The protesters say that many of the state forests scheduled for logging were only just spared from the Black Summer bushfires that burnt through the majority of the North East coast forests.

According to them, forests like Newry, Pine Creek and the Kalang headwaters are now critically important, unburnt refuges that will be massively impacted by large logging machines if not stopped.

A forest blockade has been established at the entry of the proposed logging compartments in Newry State Forest (15 minutes west of Urunga) where locals have camped for over a month in anticipation of logging machinery arriving on site.

The protesters want their actions to be the beginning of the preservation of native forests.

They promise that they will continue to do whatever it takes to stop the ongoing desecration of sacred sites and ‘ecocide’ of native habitats.

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

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