Day of Forest protests shows public fed up

National Forest Uprising shows public opinion is behind protecting forests and wildlife
A series of protests against the destruction of public native forests have taken place today throughout NSW and in Canberra, dubbed the National Forest Uprising.

Ironically, the Canberra Uprising took place at the same time as Parliament House was occupied to protest against government inaction on global warming, and Aboriginal people protested against the ecological collapse of the Murray-Darling. Together the protests highlight deep and systemic failings in the protection of Australia’s national heritage – and growing public concern about it.

“We’ve seen governments doggedly ignore ongoing wildlife declines and accelerating global warming. Logging is a big contributing factor in both of those,” said Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist with the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).

“From Lismore to Canberra, we have seen hundreds of citizens stand up today and say enough is enough. It’s time our politicians realised that our forests are worth more standing and acted to protect them” he concluded.
In Wang Wauk, north of Port Stephens, a protest took place against the deliberate and knowing logging of an area of forest occupied by koalas.

Ms Susie Russell, spokesperson for the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), called the logging “a crime against the future”.

“For the NSW government to permit logging in areas where its own scientists have identified important koala populations is tantamount to deliberate extermination.

“If Indonesia did this to orangutans, or the Chinese to giant pandas it would be an international scandal.

“This exposes the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) as the fig leaf they have always been: their function is to allow logging to occur regardless of the destruction. Their role is to dupe the public into believing that logging is harmless, and that ‘our forests are in safe hands’ – as Forestry Corporation signs falsely proclaim” Ms Russell added.

NEFA and NPA are calling for the immediate protection of koala hubs and for the urgent creation of the Great Koala National Park in the Coffs Harbour area, where protesters today rebranded the Forestry Corporation headquarters as the National Centre for Koala Conservation.

“The precipitous declines of koala populations render the protection of koala habitat paramount” said Dr Sweeney.

“The Great Koala National Park offers us the best of both worlds: we can protect koalas and have great economic and social outcomes, because koalas are a global icon.”

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