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Forestry Corp taking a wrecking ball to Gumbaynggirr culture and the Great Koala National Park

August 1st 2023 

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the states leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today condemned targeted and intensive logging of forests within the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP) by Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW).  

Newry State Forest on the Mid-North Coast (10km west of Urunga) is the most recent target of these operations inside the proposed GKNP. Compartments 21,22,26,27,28 (total area 657ha) of Newry are now ‘Active’, as shown on the FCNSW CIFOA Plan Portal1. 

This forest contains a well-known koala population, with three mapped koala hubs within of directly bordering Newry2. FCNSW are also at the ‘Planning’ stage to log Newry compartments 23,24,25 (528ha total area). 

It has very high cultural significance and value to the Gumbaynggirr people as part of the Nunngguu Mirraarl (Golden Kangaroo) dreaming/songline landscape. The plan to log these compartments is a direct threat to the integrity of this crucial cultural landscape. Gumbaynggirr elders have called for the protection of sacred sites in and around Newry State Forest.  
 
In a clear response to community opposition, locked steel gates have been established at every entrance of the forest with security guards present 24/7 with routine police visits.  
 
Local first nations and community groups are gearing up for a long fight to protect this forest, which is a sign of the significance it has ecologically and culturally. A protest camp has been established at the entrance to Newry.  
 

Statements attributable to Nature Conservation Council of NSW Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford: 
 

“To lock out traditional owners from their own forest is shameful behaviour from Forestry. To see Elders and custodians being physically dragged away to allow logging of their sacred sites to occur under police guard is a new low, even for FCNSW3.” 

“They have a duty to consult and listen to first nations people, which they have clearly failed at4. FCNSW has gone rogue, and they must be reined in at Newry, and across the entire state.” 

“This is occurring within months of a historic referendum for Indigenous rights in this country. When will we learn to listen?”  

“Forestry Corp is taking a wrecking ball to the proposed Great Koala National Park. This smash and grab before the area is protected must be stopped to ensure we have koalas left to protect.” 

“31,000 hectares of forest are currently slated for logging within the boundaries of the proposed GKNP over the next 12 months5. This represents nearly 18 per cent of the entire area proposed for gazettal to form the GKNP.” 
 
“These are our public forests, and the public overwhelmingly does not support this industry. This industry has no social license at all. The frequency and staggering number of arrests occurring in our public native forests protesting logging paints a very clear picture of this.” 
 
“Forests in NSW are incredibly carbon rich, which means they are also big emitters when destroyed. 3.6 million tonnes of carbon are released every year through native forest logging in NSW, the equivalent of 840,000 cars. Protecting them for their carbon value would be a huge step towards achieving NSW’s emissions targets.” 

Statement ends 

(1) https://planportal.fcnsw.net/  
(2) https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/before-creation-of-koala-national-park-loggers-target-key-habitat-20230520-p5d9w0.html  
(3) https://nit.com.au/31-07-2023/7001/elders-physically-removed-from-sacred-land  
(4) https://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/503442/operational-guidelines-aboriginal-cultural-heritage.pdf 
(5) Spreadsheet with details of logging within GKNP as of August 2023 

 

Media contact: Anna Greer 

E: [email protected] Ph: (02) 7208 9482 

Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request 

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