Protesters demanding an finish to logging in native forests have blockaded the Sydney headquarters of the NSW Forestry Corporation.
Medical physician Lisa Searle hooked up herself to an entry gate on the state-owned company’s base in West Pennant Hills earlier than daybreak on Tuesday and says she’s staying put.
“The police have moved most of the protesters and they’ve told me that if I refuse to detach myself from the gate, that I’ll be arrested, Dr Searle told AAP.
“I’m refusing to depart.”
The blockade follows a run of stop-work orders imposed on the Forestry Corporation over its alleged incompetent conduct in state forests that are home to endangered species, including Australia’s largest gliding possum.
Dr Searle believes many Australians don’t understand the destruction being done in native forests by a corporation owned by the NSW government.
“People should not conscious of how completely disgraceful the behaviour of the Forestry Corporation is in these areas.”
AAP has sought comment from the Forestry Corporation.
The Environment Protection Authority has stopped harvesting in two state forests in recent weeks, amid allegations of incompetent conduct.
The watchdog has raised serious concerns about pre-harvest surveys that are meant to identify and protect habitat trees for at-risk species in the Tallaganda and Flat Rock state forests.
In both cases, concerned citizens went into those forests and found hollow-bearing den trees that the Forestry Corporation did not.
The corporation has admitted it went looking for Southern Greater Glider den trees in Tallaganda during the day, when the nocturnal greater gliders would have been asleep inside their tree hollows.
The EPA is now revising protocols to ensure the forestry industry conducts searches in a competent way.
But the watchdog is refusing to release a photo its officers took of a dead, endangered Southern Greater Glider that was found about 50 metres from where trees were being felled in the Tallaganda State Forest.
Under rules designed to protect important habitat, the Forestry Corporation must identify den trees and enforce a 50-metre exclusion zone to safeguard the bush that surrounds them.
NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson says members of the public need to see the photo and the results of an autopsy.
“It’s a public curiosity matter,” she mentioned.
“As upsetting as these pictures could also be to some folks, they’re elementary within the public being knowledgeable about what’s occurring to nature on the general public forest property.”
Late final week, the EPA mentioned: “We don’t intend to launch the autopsy or pictures of the lifeless glider to keep away from the chance of prejudicing any authorized investigation processes.”
At budget estimates hearings earlier this month, EPA chief executive Tony Chappel said investigations had identified a number of potentially very serious breaches by the Forestry Corporation in Tallaganda.
Mr Chappel said he had preliminary advice about the glider’s cause of death, but wouldn’t release it to avoid prejudicing any legal process that may eventuate.
Asked if that information would eventually be shared with the public, he said: “At the related time limit, completely.”