Action by the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group in Bagawa State Forest this morning.
Action by the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group in Bagawa State Forest this morning.

Protester’s bold call on naming State Forests

THE group behind a State Forest action which halted logging operations have made a bold claim over the use of Indigenous language.

This week members of the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group suggested Forestry Corporation was being "disrespectful" to local Aboriginal people by using Gumbaynggirr language to name forests which were then being logged.

The call comes after the group entered Bagawa State Forest, some 30 km north west of Coffs Harbour and suspended a member in the air while attached to heavy machinery, in a protest over logging country which had been bushfire affected.

"The hypocrisy of Forestry Corporation using a Gumbaynggirr word "Bagawa" - a family clan name - to name a forest and then log it to the ground speaks volumes to their complete disregard for cultural heritage," GCG's Sally Greenwood said.

"They use our language to name our country, then deliberately desecrate it for low-use timber. "It is incredibly disrespectful to Gumbaynggirr Custodians and Native Title holders. My Elders are very upset."

Action by the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group in Bagawa State Forest this morning.
Action by the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group in Bagawa State Forest this morning.

Forestry Corporation responded by saying the whole area was subject to a cultural heritage survey conducted in consultation with local Aboriginal community groups.

"The forest was named when it was initially dedicated in 1913 under the Forestry Act 1909 and the forest is located in the Parish of Bagawa," the spokesperson said.

"Forestry Corporation's predecessor, the Forestry Commission was formed in 1916 to manage the State's forests."

"State Forests such as Bagawa State Forest are sustainably managed to provide the community with a balance between all that the forests have to offer - a renewable timber supply and the local timber industry with a supply of raw materials; protection of flora and fauna and cultural heritage; as well as recreation and tourism opportunities."



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