Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson will today bring on a debate in NSW Parliament calling on the Government to stop the industrial logging of critical koala habitat within the public native forests that are essential for the promised Great Koala National Park, including in Newry State Forest, on the mid-north coast. The move follows a reignition of conflict over the logging of the promised Great Koala National Park when the Government activated logging operations in Newry State Forest this week.
“Newry State Forest is the front line of injustice, destruction, extinction and political failure.” Ms Higginson said. “Over the last few days we have seen the state owned Forestry Corporation erect locked steel gates at the entrances to Newry, engage 24 hour security, call in the NSW Police, ride roughshod over the Gumbaynggirr Elders including extinguish their sacred fire and start the logging of critical koala habitat. Yesterday morning two brave young people locked onto logging machinery for several hours then they were arrested by NSW Police and taken into custody in Coffs Harbour. Today, Wilkarr Kurikuta, a Ngemba, Wangan and Jagalingou man, is currently locked-on to industrial logging machinery in a further effort to protect the forest. It is completely disgraceful that First Nations people are being forcibly removed from Country so the Government can move in and destroy it.
“It’s deplorable that the Government is doing this with the knowledge that koalas are on the brink of extinction, we’re in a climate crisis and it's all happening on Gumbaynggirr Country that we know is essential to the Great Koala National Park they have promised and the survival of koalas in the wild in NSW.
“The Government’s position is indefensible. Just two weeks ago the Premier was saying protecting koalas is non negotiable for his government. They made an election commitment to create the Great Koala National Park and since then we have seen an escalation of logging operations of critical koala habitat within the Great Koala National Park footprint. People relied on that commitment, they trusted Labor and now they feel let down.
“This debate is about the simple facts about what is happening at Newry, the community’s resolve to draw a line in the sand to stop the logging of the promised National Park and the need to protect critical koala habitat and now. Everything that I am putting to the Government today is objectively true and is simply a call to action for them to uphold their commitments to NSW.
“It is difficult to comprehend what Labor is doing. There is no economic or environmental sense to continue to log and destroy the integrity and future of the Great Koala National Park. They’re also rapidly eroding any trust and hope that the environmental community has in this Government to do the right thing and protect our native forests.
“I too can’t sit back and believe what the Government is doing is acceptable, because it’s not. I am bringing this issue to the floor of Parliament because enough is enough.
For media comment contact Sue Higginson on 0428 227 363