Ferny Forest campaigners demand to ‘stop the chop’

By Mitch Gaynor

THE push to save Ferny Forest from being logged by the State Government is gathering pace after a protest attended by over 230 people and the tabling of a parliamentary petition in Brisbane.

Save Ferny Forest campaigners have also now initiated a “Fridays for Ferny Forest at Four”, during which people will be able to undertake regular activities at the site.

The petition to state parliament demands a valuation of the timber versus the recreational, social and ecological values of the area.

“Your petitioners therefore request the House to do all within its power to block the imminent logging from going ahead or at least provide us with a report weighing up the economic value of the harvested logs against the area’s ecological, cultural, and recreational value (in dollar terms) that will endure for generations to come,” the mortatorium stated.

The government signalled its intention to log approximately 50 per cent of 130 acres of the region, also known as Beerwah State Forest, in December 2021.

It is rushing to clear the high value hardwood trees from the forest before the area is locked up as national park in 2024. Sunshine Coast Environment Council’s Liaison and Advocacy Officer, Narelle McCarthy, addressed about 230 protesters at Pioneer Park in Landsborough on Friday March 11, saying they were working closely with the state government to press the case against logging.

“They hear it. They understand. But they’re still going through their planning stage, so we can’t afford to lose any momentum here around why the forest is so important to everyone and our native wildlife,” she said.

Caloundra state MP Jason Hunt addressed the crowd saying he was against the logging and had signalled his sentiment with the Environment Minister.

Division 1 Councillor and Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor, Rick Baberowski, said community values had changed in the decades since the agreement to log, and it was now inappropriate. “That agreement would no longer be acceptable because the balance or the trade-off to the environment is too high,” he said.

Federal Greens candidate Andrew McLean said: “People power has sent a clear message to the state government. What might be legal isn’t always ethical. Things change over 25 years. And things have changed.”

Ferny Forest is mapped as core koala habitat and is an important corridor between Mooloolah River National Park and Ewen Maddock Dam.  A statement by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said it was undecided whether to pursue the logging.