NEFA Leaf - August 2021

Welcome to the NEFA Leaf August Edition - your monthly fix of forest news, politics, community campaigns and ways to take action for forests across the North East Coast of Australia.

There's some BIG news this month...

We're taking Government to Court!

On our behalf, the EDO have just served papers on the Commonwealth and NSW Governments challenging the re-issued Regional Forest Agreement for North-East NSW. 

We will be arguing that when the Prime Minister renewed the RFA for north-east NSW, he didn't have regard to assessments of key environmental matters as required by law. Our case will focus on the lack of assessment of climate change, threatened species and oldgrowth forests. 

We'll be asking the Federal Court to make a declaration that forestry operations on the north coast that significantly affect matters of national environmental significance need to be referred to the Federal Minister for the Environment and assessed under the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

You. Our supporters, already know that the RFAs rubber-stamp ongoing destruction of our precious forest ecosystems. It is truly appalling that in the face of twin global crises of rapidly changing climatic conditions and biodiversity decline, that all the Commonwealth and NSW Governments could do, is continue business as usual without considering the science.

Please donate (if you can) to our crowdfunder for this important case.

You can read our media release here and share our breaking Facebook post here

Chaelundi Blockade's 30th Anniversary 

NEFA twice blockaded Chaelundi, with our biggest blockade starting in April 1991, with the police taking 10 days from 23 July to breakthrough, in the process arresting 230 people.

The combination of creative blockade tactics, the best kind of feralty and critical legal actions were finally successful in stopping the Government in its tracks. 

The fact that these 7000ha are now protected in the Guy Fawkes River National Park is testimony to the 230 people arrested and the countless others who participated and supported the campaign.

Read the full story here or j
oin us for an afternoon of reminiscing and storytelling online to hear the stories from one of NSW's most successful blockades and legal actions on the 21 August. 

Please RSVP here to receive the Zoom link for the online event.

Fridays4Forests Keeps Kicking Goals

Sean O'Shannessy

This week the weekly Fridays4Forests gathering to protect our public native forests grew bigger than ever. Starting as usual on Friday morning the citizen scientists gathered at Cherry Tree State Forest stayed on until Sunday. 

What kept them there over two mid-winter nights was the evidence that they kept finding of the danger to our rare and threatened native animals and plants from logging. Multiple koala trees with a total of over 75 koala scats (poohs) were found by intrepid community members in the zone slated to be logged. Also a stand of Ripple Leafed Mutton Wood, which has been described by one environmental scientist Anastasia Guise as “one of the most rare and endangered rainforest plants in NSW”.

“Fridays4Forests groups have now sprung up in Lismore, Casino, Nimbin, Kyogle and Mullumbimby. The movement to protect our public native forest is gathering momentum and community support every day. Sooner or later the NSW Berejiklian Government is going to have to listen to the people of NSW and stop the wholesale destruction of our koalas homes.” said Sean O’Shannessy from the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA)

This week on Friday 6/8 we will be scouting Richmond Range State Forest

On Friday 13/8 we will be meeting in Byron Bay & hearing from Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Richmond Mandy Nolan about the Feds Koala Strategy & the Biomass Action Group will talk about how fake renewables are greenwashing themselves with the good name of Byron Bay 

Then on Friday the 20/8 we will be holding a Non Violent Direct Action workshop & overnight camp out in Bungabee State Forest.

See all events listed here.

Fridays4Forests comes to the Byron Shire

Kate Coxall

Last Friday the 24th of July, we held our first Byron Shire Fridays 4 Forests at the Mullumbimby Showground, Covid-safe and close to the markets we gathered to hear all about how Biomass is devastating the health of local people within 250km of these plants, worse than the health effects from Coal Fired power plants and emitting greater damaging toxins than a coal-fired plant in terms of Climate Change to boot! 

“It's often claimed that biomass is a ‘low carbon’ or ‘carbon neutral’ fuel, meaning that carbon emitted by biomass burning won't contribute to climate change. But in fact, biomass burning power plants emit 150% the CO2 of coal, and 300 – 400% the CO2 of natural gas, per unit energy produced”. 

We also learned about the incredible Citizen Science program happening fortnightly and whenever people feel to get some forest time in, saving our forests with data about Koala’s and other threatened species, and the incredible, rich history of NEFA, all while sipping on sustainably-sourced, plastic-free coffee!

With more planned and artivist projects already being dreamed up, we invite all NEFA supporters and friends to come along to the Byron Environment Centre on August 13th (Covid regulation depending) or ONLINE to support some great campaigns accessible to all in our community. 

Get onto Facebook and LIKE our NEFA Page and Click going on our Fridays 4 Forests Event Page for up to date info each week.

Koala and Australian Animal costumes encouraged, but not compulsory!  

Girrwaawa Buraala - Come Together, Make Noise! 

A story of Camp Nunguu (Newry Native Forest Blockade) by John Merkel

I’m woken in the dark, just before dawn, by torchlight flashing across the camp, and look over to see the long black shape of heavy machinery parked on the forest road. With my heart in my mouth I get up and approach as quietly as I can, ready to take a photo to send out with an action alert to our crew asleep here at camp, and in towns from Orara down to Grassy Head. But what comes into focus as I get closer is a Land Rover with twelve-metre long bamboo poles tied to its roof racks (that’s almost as long as a semi!) which Old Mate has driven through the winding backroads over the top of the mountain.

We spend the day building the two tripods that now give Camp Nunguu an impressive sense of permanence on behalf of the Gumbaynggirr Nation; that say we’re here, and we’re staying put.

I’ve been living at Nunguu for nearly six weeks. It’s well set up, with a kitchen and a big marquee covering tattered but comfy lounges - just like a Brunswick bar. And Muzz’s solar trailer lights it all up, and allows us to charge our phones and computers so we can keep working while we’re keeping watch. As well as the residents, there’s been a daily procession of visitors and supporters, bringing food and firewood, conversation and encouragement, including a Sunday with the Knitting Nanas when we got to eat cake all day – or I did anyway - and last week, for a gee-up, we had a screening of some classic forest campaign docos in the outdoor cinema we’ve set up with some kit from the Bellingen Environment Centre.

Continue reading this story of living at Camp Nunguu here...

Why are we not surprised! Brown creeks thanks to Forestry Corp!

Lyn Orrego 

Forestry Corporation logging in the Nambucca and Bellingen catchments is based on a faulty soil assessment method and is causing soil erosion and polluted waterways, report finds.

Year after year, the creeks and rivers of the Nambucca and Bellingen catchments turn turbid and brown after rain that follows logging. Soil scientists over many years have presented evidence that the soil assessment method in the rules governing Forestry Corporation (FC) logging operations is faulty and too weak (J. McGarity and M. Eddie), yet Forestry Corporation and the so-called regulator, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) refuse to tighten these so-called soil and water protection rules..

The rules that govern logging of our NSW public native forests (the Coastal Integrated Forestry operations Approval – CIFOA), are claimed to be based on science and to deliver ecologically sustainable forest management. One of these rules, applies to assessing the soils for their likelihood of causing erosion and pollution of downslope waterways following logging. 

See full report here.

Cooks Creek 2019 vs 2020 (Pollution incident from grading upslope - reported to EPA and NPWS)

Bungabbee Forest Friends submit an Application to Turn State Forest into National Park

Alan Roberts

On 25 July 2021 Bungabbee Forest Friends submitted  a very comprehensive application, for Bungabbee NP protection, to the Reserve Establishment Team at NSW DPIE and sent copies to Janelle Saffin (who is incredibly supportive), John Barilaro and Mike Kean, which you can read here.

Forest Corp NSW had listed Bungabbee on their planning portal for a logging start date of Mon 4 April 2022 but it’s not currently listed??

About 15km towards Kyogle along Bentley road from Lismore, Bungabbee road tees off northwards into the forest behind Muckleewee mountain, through the Muckleewee Nature Reserve and then into the Bungabbee State Forest.

Bungabee road is where thousands of us camped during the 5 month long Bentley Blockade which our impressive community won.

When Bungabbee has previously been logged the logs are snigged to dumps close to O’Neill road from which they exit via log truck. O’Neill road continues via Bungabbee Nature Reserve to the top of the McKellar range. Apart from the 2 Nature Reserves and the Bungabbee SF the remainder of the contiguous forested area you can see on the google map is privately owned which is precarious to predatory capitalism. On this map Bungabbee SF is located under “ock V” of the LH ‘Rock Valley’ and the privately owned Boundary Creek Valley (where I live) is marked by the ‘rn’ in the LH ‘Larnook’.

A long time neighbour to Bungabbee SF can’t see any timber worth logging (nor can I yet) and he’s alarmed at the erosion caused by trail bikers and 4WDs. On one occasion he counted 30 vehicles with Qld number plates vehicles leaving. Qld’s forests won’t allow such wanton wrecking, nor should we.

Bungabbee is far more valuable as a carbon storing engine and haven for biodiversity – for that we need it protected one way or  the other. Thanks Bungabbee Forest Friends!

Australian Forest Network Summit

Almost 100 forest defenders from around the country participated in a virtual forest gathering on July 26. It was intense. The first few hours were reports from WA, Tassie, Victoria and NSW, covering campaigns, court cases and strategies. Significant progress was made on developing a national position statement. There was also a panel on plantation issues. There was general agreement that online technology made it possible for regular discussion and information sharing that will be beneficial to all our campaigns.


Boycott BORAL has been a feature of NEFA campaigning for about 30 years. Just as we were about to revive it, BORAL sold their entire timber business to a company called Pentarch, that run the Eden woodchipping operation. A few days later Pentarch bought a couple of Victorian sawmills. Seems they have money and see themselves as a big player in the logging business. Although their expertise seems to be in how to make whole trees into chips. Watch this space.

We thank you for your support, solidarity and care for the forest! Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about NEFA or are looking for ways to get involved. 

Til next LEAF,

We thank you for your support, solidarity and care for the forest! Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about NEFA or are looking for ways to get involved. 


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