Threatened Murwillumbah trees saved.
The NSW government put a stay on plans to cut down 48 trees to make way for a temporary parking lot. The trees were planted by legendary “Man of the Trees”, the late Bruce Chick, and others, outside Wollumbin High School. A gathering called by Northern Rivers Guardians and local environment organisations under the umbrella of Northeast Forest Alliance’s Fridays4Forests campaign gathered on 2nd September at Murwillumbah to protest the action.
The NSW Dept of Education intends to amalgamate of all the town’s schools into a giant K-12 “mega-campus” on the current Murwillumbah High School site. Publicity around the protest caused a re-think by the DoE. They said they didn’t realise there was so much concern in the community, which highlighted the lack of consultation around the proposal to merge the schools. The Department said there was no need to consult the public or Tweed Council as the merger was “an exempt development.” Around 80 people gathered to protest, singing a 1960s song protesting paving paradise to put up a parking lot and arguing that the climate crisis should preclude such wasteful destruction, especially when the proposed car park was needed only for a year.
Many people objected to the mega-campus on 26th September at the Murwillumbah RSL attended by local MP Janelle Saffin. It is not clear how a K-12 campus would be an advantage to learning. I suspect only the real estate developers would benefit. Of concern to conservationists is the news that about 150 trees at M’bah HS will be removed to make room for the mega campus. A DoE spokesperson said, “We are committed to planting the same amount of trees that are being removed ….” I suppose that some planners in Sydney do not understand that trees take decades to grow and we need climate action now.
Please contact your parliamentary representatives to stop this ridiculous plan. The NSW state government election is due in March 2023, in less than 6 months. Governments that refuse to consult the community may find themselves voted out in March.
Environment picnics set for 16th October
Nature Conservation Council NSW is planning a state-wide Picnic for Nature day on Sunday 16 October across NSW. This exciting event aims to bring people together to celebrate our natural environment, the creatures that call it home, and everyone who works to protect and help it. But this is more than just a fun day. It’s a chance to connect with like-minded people, grow the movement, encourage volunteers, and talk election strategy.
• Caldera Environment Centre (CEC) is sponsoring a picnic on the Tweed at the Chillingham Community Centre from 10am- 3pm. There is a kitchen for warming up food and boiling water. BYO Everything.
• Nimbin Environment Centre will co-host a picnic event with Northern Rivers Guardians at The Rocks on Widjibul Wiabal tribal land with a native plants nursery that will be open for cash-only sales from 11am to 2 pm. Sophia Fletcher will play music and chai available, but BYO Everything else (chairs, blankets) but no drugs or alcohol. From Stoney Chute Road turn into Morton Road and continue to where you will find signs to the scenic picnic spot.
• Tweed Water Alliance’s picnic is at the Uki Buttery Markets and will highlight the wastefulness of water extraction for bottling TWA Inc spokesperson Pat Miller promises some surprises and says, “Tea will be served, food is plentiful at the Uki Buttery Bazaar Market. In the spirit of recycling, TWA invites you to take home the teacup we give you.”
• Other picnics will be held in Lismore (Lismore EC) and Bellingen (Bellingen EC).
Fridays for Forests meets at 10 am every week, sometimes in a town and sometimes in a forest to enjoy and protect our native flora and fauna from being logged to extinction. See www.nefa.org.au/fridays4forests or #StandUp4Forests on Facebook.
On 7th September I compered a demo National Threatened Species Day outside the office of Geoff Provest, the National Party Member for Tweed. Dailan Pugh, Mandy Nolan, Sean O’Shannessy and Tweed Shire Clr Nola Firth all spoke. Many other actions in the coming months will remind NSW voters that we need to end logging of our public forests—which is ecologically unsustainable and subsidised by our taxes—and adopt a eco-friendly plantation system for supplying timber. The NorthEast Forest Alliance (NEFA) has said the heavily-subsidised government-owned corporation called Forestry NSW made a loss of more than $20 million in 2020. Much of what is logged today is simply chipped or burned. Forests workers could be better employed enhancing forest health and maintaining fire trails.
Dailan Pugh, President of NEFA, reports that NEFA’s “End Public Native Forest Logging” e-petition received 21,046 for signatures and was presented in the Legislative Assembly. He said has noted that a recent government inquiry calls for transitioning away from logging native forests, despite the claims of the Shooters and Fishers that this will lead to a severe shortage of timber. (The Shooters and Fishers has focused on the timber supply crisis, without mentioning the problem is pine.) NCC supports a transition and has called for more plantations and Justin Field called for the Great Koala NP to be established. NEFA says: ‘There is no doubt that there are far greater financial and societal benefits to the community from protecting public forests for carbon sequestration, recreation, tourism, water supply, and habitat’. For court action updates and other current NEFA news, see https://www.nefa.org.au/.
Mardi Grass weekend
NEC shop had extended hours during the festival weekend (16 -17 September) and members marched with the Environment Centre banner in the protestival parade on Sunday 18th. A large and noisy crowd chanted “Change the Law: Free the Weed.” Staffed by a dedicated band of volunteers, open about 363 days a year, the NEC shop stocks everyday products like local coffee, chai, honey and soap plus a range of T-shirts, stickers, books, and vegan nail polish! Something for everyone.
Scott Sledge NEC President