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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Forest wars find new battleground in Shallow Crossing State Forest, South East NSW

Young Indigenous woman Takesa Frank spent the day suspended 20m above the ground in a treesit cabled to logging machinery in a bid to halt logging operations in Shallow Crossing State Forest.

Photo: Brooman State Forest Conservation Group In late 2019, the Currowan Fire tore through the area and just 18 months later logging was recommenced in the forest. Takesa’s action is part of ongoing statewide struggles by forest defenders to halt logging operations and end public native forest logging for good.

Ms Frank was joined by a group of 20 South Coast locals and Sue Higginson MP, Greens Spokesperson for environment and agriculture.

Sue Higginson said: "Enough is enough, we must stop destroying these sensitive forest environments now. The community and political pressure is mounting, the Government needs to hear the call of these wonderful members of the community who put their lives on hold to protect these forests and our futures.

“We know that disturbance in native forests increases the risk and severity of fire. It is alarming that the NSW Government would risk neighbouring communities by disturbing this forest again after they have just endured the trauma of the 2019/20 Black Summer fires.

“The ongoing conflicts in our forests across the state are a result of government inaction and a policy to destroy our most precious natural resources. Community members shouldn’t have to take matters into their own hands like this, but unfortunately they are left with no choice.

“Takesa has been part of sustained action calling for the government to transition to 100% sustainable softwood plantation timber. She has now had to take the next drastic step to fight drastic environmental destruction. Young people shouldn’t be forced to do this just to protect their local precious native forest environment.” Ms Higginson said.

“I am taking this drastic action to raise the stakes as the major parties are ignoring the call from the bush to end native forest logging,” Ms Frank said.

“My family fought the fires to protect our home and the neighbouring Shallow Crossing State Forest. My family knows this forest. We hear the Powerful Owl calling at night. We see endangered Gang - Gangs raising their young, in the hollows of big old trees. My sister and I learned to swim in the Clyde River and played through the forest as kids", Takesa said.

“Now for the last three years, all we hear is these big old trees crashing to the ground and heavy machinery bulldozing new roads and destroying the vegetation on our mountainside.

“My petition to end native forest logging gained wide public support with over 21,000 signatures. The petition called for an end to native forest logging and a transition to 100% plantations. Rather than heed this plea from the bush, the coalition government pushed ahead with a business as usual rebuttal, before the petition was even debated, in October last year in parliament.

South Coast locals have held monthly forest embassies on the Princes Highway at East Lynne, in the South Coast seat in the leadup to the NSW state election, with two more planned in March.

There are over twenty three compartments slated for logging on both sides of the Clyde River. This is over 4,700 hectares of the lower Shoalhaven. These spotted gum and stringybark forests are being logged mainly for low value wood chips, firewood and pallets. Of great concern to locals is the fate of Big Spotty which at over 72m is the tallest spotted gum in the world and well over 500 years old. Big Spotty is in North Brooman compartment 50 which is formally listed by FCNSW as proposed for logging.

The End Public Native Forest Logging Petition was tabled in parliament by local member Shelley Hancock with 21,046 signatures. Despite it being debated on 13 October 2023 it has been ignored by the NSW major parties.

This petition asked to: · Develop a plan to transition the native forestry industry to 100% sustainable plantations by 2024.

· In the interim, place a moratorium on public native forest logging until the regulatory framework reflects the recommendations of the leaked NRC report.

· Immediately protect high-conservation value forests through gazettal in the National Parks estate.

· Ban use of native forest materials as biomass fuel. (since done by the Federal Government)

Not far from Shallow Crossing, hollow bearing trees were felled by contractors straight after the fires in South Brooman. As this contravened bushfire affected operations, site specific conditions the EPA issued a Stop Work Order for over two months. A $15,000 fine was issued by the EPA.

The NSW Forest Carbon report, released last month, shows that native forest logging in New South Wales emits 3.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Stopping logging is equal to taking 840,000 cars off the road.

The Logging Operations - 12 Month Plan of Operations for the Southern & Eden Forestry Regions has been compiled from the Forestry Corporation NSW portal map and yield figures in harvest plans for each compartment. The Expected Yield Table from the Shallow Crossing Compartment 208, 209, 210 harvest plan shows that over half of the trees from these spotted gum and stringy bark forests are being logged for woodchips (34%) and firewood (17%). The Narooma pallet mill uses salvage logs and sawlogs to make low value products including pallets which could be made from recycled plastic. Over 410,000 hectares of public NSW forest is subject to logging in the South Coast and Eden regions. Ref: See the map of active and planned logging in NSW.

Native forest logging in southern NSW is not generating local work opportunities. Here in Shallow Crossing and Brooman, one set of contractors has relocated to the South Coast after being paid out in Tasmania. Interstate long haul contractors and logging truck drivers are doing 500 km round trips to the lower Shoalhaven from Bairnsdale since logging has stopped in Victoria.

Bombala and Tumut based softwood plantations already supply the Australian construction sector with sawn and engineered wood products that generate jobs. Plantations already provide 90% of the timber we need for building, furniture and paper products. If the government and CFMEU concentrated on softwood plantations, hundreds of milling and wood manufacturing jobs would be created.

2 comentarios

Miembro desconocido
13 mar 2023

Whichever way you look at native forest logging, it's a loser.

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Miembro desconocido
12 mar 2023

ALL KINDS OF NATURAL - Shallow Crossing could be the next mini Kakadu.

Logging the mountainous Shallow Crossing State Forest, rising west along The River Road next to the Clyde River, clashes with the main economic driver of the South Coast - tourism. Holiday makers often with caravans and trailers, already take the dirt road from the Princes Highway to drive over over the concrete Clyde River crossing, water spraying, to camp at Shallow Crossing Camping Ground. From there it's a drive straight up the mountain through these tall spotted gum, stringybark and ironbark forests to Mogood Lookout. These south facing mountains have tree-fern lined rainforests gullies, much of which escaped fire damage. The big old trees from these protect…

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NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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