Residents rally around Tanja forest

• Friends of Chinnock spokesperson Jamie Shaw at last week’s Tathra Hall meeting of around 150 residents to discuss the Tanja State Forest.
• Friends of Chinnock spokesperson Jamie Shaw at last week’s Tathra Hall meeting of around 150 residents to discuss the Tanja State Forest.

AROUND 150 local residents turned out at Tathra Hall last week to discuss the current logging program in Tanja State Forest.

The meeting, to discuss Forests NSW’s (FNSW) rejection of the residents’ offer to buy the trees and request for saw-log only harvesting, was attended by a broad cross section of the community and Bega Valley Shire councillors Keith Hughes, Liz Seckold and Pat Campbell.

Speakers included ex-sawmill worker Richard Blakers, who talked about his experience of the increased impacts of woodchip logging, and Harriett Swift who outlined the “dubious economics of woodchipping”.

Friends of Chinnock spokesperson Jamie Shaw said the turnout showed a high concern about the impact of logging in Tanja State forest to the environment, tourism and community.

“This is a resounding statement by the Tathra community to fight for a better conservation outcome for our forest and our town,” Mr Shaw said.

Residents resolved to call on FNSW to restrict its overall harvesting to saw-logs only and to permanently protect the compartment of forest near Mogareeka as a flora reserve.

Logging in the Mogareeka area was temporarily suspended by FNSW earlier this month due to resident concerns.

“The meeting passed a resolution calling on Forests NSW to halt all logging until independent studies prove that past logging in the forest had not damaged waterways and habitat values,” Mr Shaw said.

“In addition, due to evidence from the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, we are asking that no logging occur until it is proven that post-logging regrowth would not increase the bushfire threat to the local communities living in and around the forest.”

Mr Shaw said the residents were equally concerned about logging for the purposes of woodchipping.

“The community wants a halt to woodchip extraction and we call on Forests NSW to use this forest more sustainably by taking saw logs only,” he said.

“The high value rainforest in the logging area needs to be better protected for future generations.

“This forest is a valuable asset and it should be managed to protect tourism and community values not just to satisfy unsustainable woodchip quotas.”

A Protect Tanja Forest Picnic will be held at noon this Sunday, October 23 at Goats Knob Road, Tanja.

Mr Shaw said the picnic was designed to emphasise that forests should be managed “for our community, not just for big corporations.”