GITHABUL representatives are frustrated after being banned from protesting against CSG in a state forest they claim falls under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement negotiated in 2007.
On Monday afternoon Forestry Corporation of NSW employees approached the protesters' campsite within the Eden Creek State Forest, adjacent to Metgasco's planned drill site.
Protesters were told they had to leave by dusk because of safety concerns. When they had failed to leave the well-established campsite by morning, Githabul elder Kamallie Monsell was arrested.
Githabul spokesperson Jarmbi said he was disappointed by the lack of flexibility shown by Forestry NSW.
"I asked the Forestry NSW man 'when will you be back to check on this', he said not until 8 the next morning," Jarmbi said yesterday.
"Then at 6.30am, 20 police came in with the workers behind them, and that's when Kamallie was arrested.
"He was standing back putting his paint on... and they wanted to hurry things up ... next thing they had a gloved hand over his face and led him out of his own country.... it was just disgusting.
"The fact of the matter is this is still Githabul country... It just seems like another trick to us."
A Forestry Corporation spokeswoman said the decision to close the forest was made after police advised of a potential "public safety" issue.
According to the Forestry Corporation, Eden Creek State Forest did not sit under the Indigenous Land Use Agreement as it was purchased as freehold land in 1982 for a pine plantation.
She said "The Forestry Corporation has explained that the Githabul claim is incorrect because it was previously freehold land, which extinguished any claim to native title.