‘This isn’t the end’ forest protesters will fight on
Forest campaigners are celebrating a moment of reprieve after machinery was escorted out of State Forests at Nambucca.
The Protect Nambucca State Forest has been protesting for weeks to protect cultural sites and key koala habitat within the State Forest.
The forest holds significant cultural value for the Gumbaynggirr people, who say they haven't given consent for the logging to occur.
"This is a hard fought victory made possible by the tireless effort, spirit and energy of our elders, Gumbaynggirr custodians, local community and allies over the past five weeks," Gumbaynggirr custodian and spokesperson Sandy Greenwood said.
"We have sent a strong message to the NSW Forestry Corporation that their relentless destruction of sacred country will be met with fierce resistance. Our ancestors fought hard to protect country and it has been their presence and protection that has given us an enormous strength to continue this fight."
The Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group collected over 23,000 signatures that were tabled in NSW parliament last week and maintained a vigil camp at the entry of the forest that was visited by hundreds of supporters.
Earlier this week a protester was arrested after locking onto machinery in the forest.
The woman had to be removed by police and taken to Macksville Police Station where she was charged with aggravated unlawful entry onto inclosed lands.
She was granted conditional bail to appear at Macksville Local Court on August 6.
The alliance believes the machinery has been moved into Wild Cattle Creek, another biodiversity hotspot only just spared from the fires.
The alliance is pledging to extend their campaign to protect other native forests in the area from logging.
"The NSW Forestry Corporation has been given the permission to log 140,000 hectares of coastal forests from Taree to Grafton which they refer to as intensive harvesting zones," Ms Greenwood said.
"If we don't act now our deeply significant cultural heritage will be desecrated, our beautiful old growth trees will be logged, rare flora will become extinct and our koalas and endangered species will literally have nowhere else to go.
"We will continue to stand up for country, this isn't the end for us."
The group is calling for Nambucca State Forest to be protected as a cultural heritage park to boost local jobs and protect sacred forest only just spared from the fires.
The Forestry Corporation has been contacted for comment.