Forest wars find new battleground in Shallow Crossing State Forest, South East NSW
6 March 2023 - Young Indigenous woman Takesa Frank has today met the day suspended 20m above the ground in a treesit cabled to logging machinery in a bid to halt logging operations in Shallow Crossing State Forest. In late 2019, the Currowan Fire tore through the area and just 18 months later logging was recommenced in the forest. Today’s action is part of ongoing statewide struggles by forest defenders to halt logging operations and end public native forest logging for good.
Ms Frank was joined by a group of 20 South Coast locals and Sue Higginson MP, Greens Spokesperson for environment and agriculture.
Sue Higginson said: "Enough is enough, we must stop destroying these sensitive forest environments now. The community and political pressure is mounting, the Government needs to hear the call of these wonderful members of the community who put their lives on hold to protect these forests and our futures.
“We know that disturbance in native forests increases the risk and severity of fire. It is alarming that the NSW Government would risk neighbouring communities by disturbing this forest again after they have just endured the trauma of the 2019/20 Black Summer fires.
“The ongoing conflicts in our forests across the state are a result of government inaction and a policy to destroy our most precious natural resources. Community members shouldn’t have to take matters into their own hands like this, but unfortunately they are left with no choice.
“Takesa has been part of sustained action calling for the government to transition to 100% sustainable softwood plantation timber. She has now had to take the next drastic step to fight drastic environmental destruction. Young people shouldn’t be forced to do this just to protect their local precious native forest environment.” Ms Higginson said.
“I am taking this drastic action to raise the stakes as the major parties are ignoring the call from the bush to end native forest logging,” Ms Frank said.
“My family fought the fires to protect our home and the neighbouring Shallow Crossing State Forest. My family knows this forest. We hear the Powerful Owl calling at night. We see endangered Gang - Gangs raising their young, in the hollows of big old trees. My sister and I learned to swim in the Clyde River and played through the forest as kids. Takesa said.
“Now for the last three years, all we hear is these big old trees crashing to the ground and heavy machinery bulldozing new roads and destroying the vegetation on our mountainside.
“My petition to end native forest logging gained wide public support with over 21,000 signatures. The petition called for an end to native forest logging and a transition to 100% plantations. Rather than heed this plea from the bush, the coalition government pushed ahead with a business as usual rebuttal, before the petition was even debated, in October last year in parliament.
South Coast locals have held monthly forest embassies on the Princes Highway at East Lynne, in the South Coast seat in the leadup to the NSW state election, with two more planned in March.
There are over twenty three compartments slated for logging on both sides of the Clyde River. This is over 4,700 hectares of the lower Shoalhaven. These spotted gum and stringybark forests are being logged mainly for low value wood chips, firewood and pallets. Of great concern to locals is the fate of Big Spotty which at over 72m is the tallest spotted gum in the world and well over 500 years old. Big Spotty is in North Brooman compartment 50 which is formally listed by FCNSW as proposed for logging.