The vandalism of our forests must stop NOW!
Joint statement from the Forest Action Gathering convened in Bellingen July 30/31 2022
Meeting in Bellingen this weekend we, the representatives of dozens of environment groups make the following statement:
We recognise that healthy forests are of unequivocal value to First Nations peoples and that forests on public land form part of their unceded lands. We are honoured to have the support of many Gumbaynggirr elders and custodians in our efforts to stop the destruction of country and be part of the paradigm shift: from colonial exploitation to a duty of care for country.
We understand that there are Climate and Extinction Emergencies and that the damning State of the Environment Report highlighted that on nearly every measure our environment is deteriorating. Forests are our life support systems and they are in crisis.
We have recently seen the NSW Government logging agency fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for breaches of logging licence conditions. Fines paid by the NSW people as are the many millions of dollars paid in subsidies to the logging industry, while damage to the public estate is unaccounted for.
We call on our political representatives to exercise common sense and act on the now overwhelming evidence and to stop the state sponsored destruction of the public's forests. Complacency is catapulting Koalas and Greater Gliders towards extinction, along with many other species of animals and plants.
We know that healthy forests are fundamental for healthy communities and that we depend on them to hold our catchments together, maintain and filter our water supplies, and provide long-term employment in industries that appreciate their values rather than destroy them. Logging increases bushfire risk, healthy forests increase bushfire resilience.
We have seen billions of dollars squandered on technologies for carbon, capture and storage. None of these has been able to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere nearly as effectively as trees. Healthy forests have been shown to be the most effective technology for carbon, capture and storage.
We reject the 'greenwash' of those who would have us believe that intensive logging to generate massive volumes of 'waste' or 'residue' that is then wood-chipped and trucked hundreds of kilometres or shipped overseas to be burnt in power stations is a form of 'green renewable energy'. It is neither clean nor renewable and is more akin to a swindle by those who seek to profit.
We have watched this last week as thousands of people across NSW have signed on to a NSW parliamentary e-petition, that today reached over 20,000 signatures to end public native forest logging.
We urge all political representatives to work cooperatively to this end. Provide a 'just transition' package for affected workers, create employment in restoration and repair and new plantations.
We commit to organising and taking action on these key issues over the months ahead and will make our best endeavours to expose the rorts, backroom deals and pork barreling propping up a corrupt system that is damaging community wellbeing, both now and for future generations.
Organisations present: North East Forest Alliance, Bellingen Environment Centre, Redbank Action Group, Kyogle Environment Group, North Coast Environment Council, Nimbin Environment Centre, Friends of the Earth Australia, Australian Forests and Climate Alliance, No Electricity From Forests, Forest Ecology Alliance, Kalang Rivers and Forest Alliance, Mural4Bellingen, Trees Not Bombs, Nature.net, Bellingen Nature Co., Bellingen Knitting Nannas, Fridays4Forests, Wingham Forest Action, Bellingen Activist Network, Sustainable Earth Projects, Climate Change Australia Hastings, Kalang Land and Environmental Action Network, Forest Defence NSW