Rally calls for native forests to be protected

Rallying for the native forests in NSW. Photo: Nature Conservation Council of NSW/Facebook

More than 100 people calling for urgent action to protect native forests from being logged rallied in Martin Place on October 13.

A 21,000-strong petition, begun by South Coast based NSW Young Greens Indigenous Officer Takesa Frank and the Nature Conservation Council, had already been handed to the NSW Legislative Assembly calling for an end to logging.

The petition called for the industry to transition to 100% sustainable plantations by 2024. It said a moratorium must be placed on logging in state forests, high-conservation value forests be protected and the use of native forest materials as biomass fuel must be banned.

Fourteen environment groups endorsed the rally, which was chaired by Nature Conservation Council chief executive (NCC) Jacqui Mumford.

The rally speakers were Independent MLC Justin Field, Greens MLC Sue Higginson; Takesa Frank from the Brooman State Forest Conservative Group and Sean O’Shannassy from the North East Forest Alliance.

Frank spoke about her family’s battle against the massive bushfires in southern NSW in 2019, which was immediately followed by their struggle against disastrous logging of the forests around their property.

O’Shannassy called for immediate, urgent action to stop government-sanctioned logging in NSW native forests.

“The government has made no plans to transition out of this destructive industry and into sustainable plantations in the full knowledge that communities and workers will be left behind by their policies,” Higginson said.

“So much of our public native forest estate has been impacted by drought, fires and floods,” she said. Native forests are “a vitally important line of defence against both the climate and the extinction crisis”.

“The end of public native forest logging is inevitable,” Higginson said, adding that the NSW government should “develop a plan that delivers economic security for communities and protects our precious forests”.