HUNDREDS of people have braved the rain at Landsborough’s Pioneer Park to rally against the planned logging of Ferny Forest.
Protesters are now set to deliver a petition to state parliament next week with demands to release a valuation of the timber versus the recreational, social and ecological values of the area as it stands.
The state 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 Economic Council’s Liaison and Advocacy Officer, Narelle McCarthy, addressed about 200 protesters saying they were working closely with the state government to press the case against logging.
“We’re working hard, we’re liaising with the department, we’re trying to make sure that they understand we want this forest protected, we can’t afford to lose it,” Ms McCarthy said.
“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.”
“The biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast is living and breathing in Ferny Forest and we want to continue that into the future.”
Local state Member Jason Hunt also 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 and it was inappropriate to continue to pursue the logging.
“The challenge for us now is we need the government first and then the other stakeholders in this agreement to recognise the values of the community have changed,” he said.
“That agreement would no longer be acceptable because the balance or the trade-off to the environment is too high.
“So whatever compensation needs to be negotiated needs to be… a value to that. Let’s get it quantified and persuade the government that they need to reallocate some budget somewhere else and look at paying that compensation if that’s what they have to do.”
Chris Ward, a member of the Save Beerwah State Forest group, said the next step against the logging would be to take the parliamentary petition to the state government.
“One of our team is going to drive down on Monday morning with those sheets and present it to the clerk of parliament,” he told the crowd.
“We will be requesting a valuation of the timber versus the recreational, social values and ecological values of the forest as it stands.”
A statement by the Department of Fisheries and Agriculture to GC&M News last month stated that no decision had been made on whether or not to log Ferny Forest.