MORE than 60 people gathered in front of the Victoria St office of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) in Grafton yesterday to demand changes to forestry practices in both private native forestry and State forests.
The peaceful protest, coinciding with World Forest Day, was organised by the North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) and the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA).
Those in attendance heard from a number of speakers including NCEC honorary secretary John Jeayes, who said DECCW was failing in its duty to protect State Forests by not enforcing forestry licensing conditions. This resulted in illegal logging of old growth and rainforests and was harming important habitat for endangered species.
Mr Jeayes said DECCW was also overseeing the logging of old growth, rainforest and koala habitat on private land.
At the conclusion of the rally, Mr Jeayes and a number of protesters, including two in koala suits, entered the DECCW office and submitted a list of changes demanded to forestry practices in NSW.
Mr Jeayes said he had requested the letter be forwarded to Lisa Corbyn, the director general of DECCW.
He said the strong turnout at the protest indicated the importance of the issue in the community.
“There are people here today from all over the North Coast,” he said.
“They are just dismayed by what is going on and the fact that we have a Department of Environment acting as a branch of the logging industry.”
A list of the demands is at http://ncec.wordpress.com.