Win for Peachester forest

By Sonia Isaacs

COMMUNITY and conservation groups are celebrating the announcement that parts of Peachester State Forest and Beerburrum West State Forest will now be prioritised for protection.
In a win for people power, the State Government announced that the forests – which had been the focus of recent community conservation campaigns – have now been identified for priority addition to Queensland’s protected areas. This ensures open eucalypt forest, rainforest and coastal wallum remnants, which are home to threatened species such as koalas and greater gliders will be preserved.
Peachester resident and local forest conservation activist Bianca Skews said it was a huge win for people power.
“I’m impressed at how quickly this has all happened, and I’m grateful that the State Government listened,” she said.
“I’m blown away that we were able make people aware that native forest logging needed to stop and we’ve achieved a really positive result.”
The Department of Environment said additional state forests were being considered for early transfer to protected area. “No timber production will occur in the areas of State Forest that will transition to protected area,” they said.
“However, our productive and necessary softwood timber production will continue in plantation areas that are excluded from this transition.”
Queensland Conservation Council protected areas campaigner Nicky Moffat said it was a significant decision.
“The local community has been calling for its forests to be protected, and it is great that threatened species’ habitat and other conservation values in these areas will now be safe,” she said. “It’s positive news these areas have been protected ahead of the 2024 deadline for the ending of native forest logging in southeast Queensland.”
Member for Caloundra, Jason Hunt, told Parliament it was the right decision. “The Hinterland community is dedicated to protecting their local wildlife and natural forests, which is why this government is adding up to 20,000 hectares of State forest in the south east to our protected areas before 31 December 2024,” he said.
Fellow activist and Glenview resident, Linda Daleboudt said there was still much more to be done to continue to protect native forests. “I hope this partial victory gives locals the courage to step up and act and realise change is possible,” she said.
“There is still forest that needs protecting and if we all bond together to fight to preserve the value of nature and our natural environment we can win.”