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natural native forests eNEWS

Issue 6 November 2009

Up for the fight - southeast forest challenges Is local member Andrew Constance endorsing native forests as renewable energy? Is Constance endorsing a forest furnace at Eden chip mill based on using native forest so-called ‘waste” from a million tonnes of export woodchips, despite opposing the charcoal burner in 2002? (See p. 4) Proposals to burn native forests to make electricity could entrench intensive logging of native forests just as the investment in a pulp mill would devour native forests (See Editorial p. 6).

And they’re still logging - Swift Parrots’ winter feeding grounds going, going, gone. Despite community opposition to this logging, and despite a public statement by Forests NSW that it would take out only ten trees at the “cathedral entry” to Bermagui, the harvesting plans show that in fact 50% of the canopy will be removed from this entry area, and for most of the remainder the operating arrangements provide for only five trees per hectare to be left (See p. 4 Logging Bermagui Forest).

Ready for the chop? Is Yurammie forest the next to go? At the SERCA Forest tour, members from Yurangalo Inc helped out with a great morning tea and were able to explain their concerns about forthcoming proposed logging of neighbouring Yurammie forest, which was visible from the morning tea stop in Gnupa SF (See p. 3). Read about Yurangalo Inc. and its 2010 Western Yurammie Calendar (See p 9).

Will Southeast koalas lose their home? We now have evidence that koalas need 50 kilometre rangelands and fertile soils to survive. Isn’t the sharp decline in koala numbers worrying? Yet FNSW is still planning to log Mumbulla and Murrah early next year. Do we care if we lose all the koalas in our area? Check our website as the story unfolds. Sign up to a new on-line petition asking the Australian Government to reject the use of native forest wood for generating electricity and biofuels. The petition is available at: http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/31814.html

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Issue6 November 2009

Coming to a town near you A 16 foot long traveling billboard arrived on the Far South Coast on 18 November after travelling slowly down the Princes Highway to the Bega Festival and other important rendezvous. This is a mutual brainchild of Lorraine Bowers from Forest Media and Chipbusters, SERCA Campaigners and Tom McLoughlin, Ecology Action and the Sydney team assembling and driving the billboard and truck. Lorraine is also responsible for the artwork and was infinitely patient as the design committee worked to a final version after dozens of attempts. Not easy when seven words are recommended for big posters. And there is so much to say on forests-climate, water and biodiversity. The devasting image, Forest Silent is from Judith Deland. The printed skin is able to be detached and used for other purposes such as forum backdrops. Cactus Imaging printed the skins at a terrific price and they come highly recommended. The operation will be jointly funded by SERCA Inc. and the Environment Network. A new website was created for this joint operation, www. savetheforests.org.au, which leads to the Petition Say NO WOOD CHIP POWER Image source: Barbara Hardy Centre. Photographer: John Hodgson http://www.unisa.edu.au/barbarahardy/

Logging native forests is no laughing matter Go to dontmakemelaugh.com.au SERCA will soon launch our new radio ads in south east NSW. These ads have been written and produced by Paul Gardiner AO and Kate Meszaros, pro-bono. They both work for the Grey advertising group in Melbourne. SERCA is extremely grateful for their efforts for the forests and the future climate. Our new radio star, Ken Kookaburra will be laughing at his friends in the logging industry against ambient forest sounds.

Logging native forests is no laughing matter

Go to dontmakemelaugh.com.au

SERCA at the Bega Festival

Come and meet us on Friday and Saturday 20 & 21 November at Ayres Walkway. Get informed with SERCA material Join SERCA

Climate Action Forum Eurobodalla

What’s happening at the international, national, state and local levels to address global climate change

All welcome. Come along and wear a koala mask by local artist Matthew Jones from Mr. Jones Gallery in Bermagui. Other walks will be held at Batemans Bay and Moruya

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DR MARK DIESENDORF UNSW AUTHOR OF “Climate Action: a campaign manual for greenhouse solutions” (2009)

ALSO DR JOHN KAYE – NSW MLC 1.30pm - 5 pm, Saturday 21st November Moruya High School Hall Co-sponsored by SERCA

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Bermagui Saturday December 12


Issue6 November 2009

FNSW Charm Offensive

Say ‘no’ to woodchip power online

Forests NSW has been conducting a charm offensive over the past few months, taking regional community opinion leaders on a tour of forests, sawmilling and logging sites. CEO Nick Roberts has come from Sydney to lead the tours, with help from a public relations officer from the north coast. After SERCA protests at initial exclusion from the tours, we were included in the 4 September tour. It was a great opportunity to don a hard hat, get up close to some logging and hear current industry thinking on the big issues. We learned, for example, that Nick Roberts intends to start making a profit from the Native Forest Division (currently losing $14.4m a year, according to the Auditor-General). Royalty prices for logs will go up, he assured us. Forestry staff acknowledged that it is possible for 100% of trees from a compartment to go to the chipmill, but say that the woodchips – even in these circumstances – are still a “by-product” of sawlogging, because the logging will lead to the regeneration of lovely sawlogs in the future.

Sign up to a new on-line petition asking the Australian Government to reject the use of native forest wood for generating electricity and biofuels. The petition is available at: http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/31814.html

As a response to the FNSW forest tours, SERCA conducted its own forest bus tour on 16 October. Guests included Bega Valley Shire Councillors, MPs staff and media. Those who attended displayed a genuine interest, and while we can’t say whether we changed anyone’s mind on the day, we all felt it was a worthwhile undertaking. Our guests now have a far better understanding of the damage woodchipping is doing to our region’s forests, catchments, wildlife, soil and waterways. They also understand that our own interests are genuine, based on what we believe is best for the community, the local environment and even the economy. Our tour included visits to Gnupa and Nullica forests, once home to about a dozen threatened species, but now looking more like a moonscape after intensive logging over the past 5 or so years. Members from Yurangalo Inc helped out with a great morning tea and were able to explain their concerns about forthcoming logging of neighbouring Yurammie forest, which was visible from our morning tea stop in Gnupa forest.

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Chipmill told to pull its head in over wood fired power

The Eden chipmill will stop calling the electricity to be generated from its proposed wood fire power station “Green Power” as a result of action by the conservation movement. It has used the term in media comments and in a brochure printed for distribution to the public. Following a complaint by Greens MP, John Kaye to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the chipmill escaped by the skin of its teeth on a technicality and has agreed to withdraw and redraft the offending pamphlet. To quote from the ACCC decision: “Having regard to the facts and circumstances and to legal precedent on the meaning of ‘in trade or commerce’, it is my view that the representations were not made ‘in trade or commerce’ as required by the Act but rather, in relation to trade or commerce.” “The leaflet,” it says “does not seek to encourage consumers to acquire SEFE’s products.” In other words, in plain English, SEFE is not yet marketing its wood fired electricity, so the law does not yet apply.

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SERCA forest tour

If you are on an email group list or manage a sympathetic website, please consider promoting the petition. We are asking the Australian Government to 1. protect native forests as an essential element of the fight against global warming by ending native forest logging and woodchipping; 2. remove all forms of native forest wood from the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, and 3. ban the production of biofuels from native forest wood. We are also calling on the Government to ban the export of native forest woodchips and logs for burning or processing into biofuels. The chipmill woodfired power station would not be viable if native forest wood was excluded from the Rudd Government’s Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET).

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Issue6 November 2009

Country Energy, ACTEW, AGL, Jack Green and Australian Power and Gas have all said “no” to woodchip power. SERCA has asked all NSW and ACT electricity retailers not to buy electricity from the Eden chipmill. Our approaches are part of a national campaign to ensure that electricity generated from native forest wood does not have a market. GreenPower rules clearly and explicitly rule out native forest wood, but under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme, it is legal to market some forms of it as “renewable.” However, electricity retailers recognise that GreenPower is a valuable brand name worth protecting and they do not want it debased by contamination from the highly unpopular wood fired power. Known in the trade as “dead koala power”, native forest wood fired power will now be competing with genuine renewable such as wind, solar and geothermal. The huge demand for wood to burn for electricity in North America and Europe has led to price rises and shortages of wood for the paper industry. The Australian logging industry is licking its lips at the prospect of this happening here.

Local member supports power from biomass

Andrew Constance, Member for Bega, spoke recently about his visit to an operational biomass plant in Germany. The plant is in the middle of a town and uses a lot of wood waste from construction and timber products plus organic waste (eg grasses) and plastics. He established that Europe has a target of 20% renewable energy and that 70% of this renewable energy will come from biomass burning. Whilst Andrew strongly supports solar farms and wind energy projects for our region, he believes that biomass is the only renewable resource that can provide an adequate, widespread and cheap power supply. He did point out that where native forests have been used as feedstock in Europe there have been repercussions for the forest ecology which need to be resolved. During question time he said that: we should keep an open mind; we needed quality science on which to base our decisions but the ANU peer-reviewed Green Carbon Report was controversial; he does not think it is economically viable to take wood from native forests to burn or to use woodchips; and plantations cause problems because they take water from the catchments. He had not heard of a proposal listed on the DEWHA website for a South Moruya power station using wood waste. His statements are based

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on feedback from the industry. The bottom line is that the logging industry provides employment for many families in his electorate. Andrew emphasised that the SEFE Eden burner will only use waste from sawmills and the chipmill. He does not see it as burning native forest wood. However, data SERCA obtained from a SEFE report to Bega Valley Council reveals that 70% of this “waste” in fact originates from logging our south east native forests. Reliable scientific measurements have proved that our SE native forests would make a far greater contribution to reducing the effects of climate change if they were managed for growth into healthy old forests which can provide safe storage of carbon for hundreds of years and collect and purify our local water supplies. There are now enough plantations to provide our wood.

Logging Bermagui Forest Forests NSW has now scheduled logging in the fourth of the five compartments (2001 to 2005) at the northern entry to Bermagui, and plans to schedule the fifth. Compartments 2004 and 2005 were logged and burnt in the 2008-09 logging season. Logging operations started in early September in compartment 2002, bordering on the protected marine park area of Black Lagoon. They have probably now begun in compartment 2001. Despite community opposition to this logging, and despite a public statement by Forests NSW that it would

take out only ten trees at the “cathedral entry” to Bermagui, the Harvesting Plans show that in fact 50% of the canopy will be removed from this entry area, and for most of the remainder the operating arrangements provide for only five trees per hectare to be left. The coupes in compartments 2001 and 2002 have many beautiful, large old spotted gums and stringybarks, the most valuable for supporting wildlife. Hundreds of these sixty-plus year old trees are being taken out, many only [continued page 5...]

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Electricity retailers say “NO” to woodchip power

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Issue6 November 2009

[from page 4...] to be chipped for export. The coupes drain into protected waterways and a rainforest gully. They provide habitat for many bird and animal species, including sea eagles, glossy black cockatoos, sooty owls. This winter migratory Swift Parrots used the winter-flowering coastal spotted gums as a feeding refuge when their usual box-ironbark woodlands further west failed to produce flowers and lerps, presumably because of bushfires and drought. These parrots are listed as rare and endangered by both NSW and the Commonwealth. No provision is being made for their needs in future years beyond the five trees per hectare. By the time this logging season is over Bermagui will have lost the greater proportion of its large iconic spotted gums, together with the equally iconic and vastly older burrawang understorey. The cathedral entry will be a see-through facade, and the wildlife will be decimated by loss of habitat and damage to “protected” marine park and nature reserve waters. The damage to Bermagui’s tourism potential won’t be undone for many, many decades. The Bermagui community pays a high price for this unprofitable and destructive industry.

Small Environment Group Takes On The Big Boys In Victorian Supreme Court A landmark court case could alter forest management for rare wildlife. On Tuesday 25th August 2009 Environment East Gippsland commenced proceedings against VicForests in the Supreme Court of Victoria asking the Court for a permanent injunction to stop VicForests from logging Brown Mountain. They are also asking the Court to declare that the logging of Brown Mountain is unlawful. Brown Mountain is known habitat for threatened and vulnerable wildlife which must be protected under government laws. Donations are urgently needed to support the court case that is now going ahead. For more information see Brown Mt Court Case pages or see below for latest media. Go to www.environmenteastgippsland.net.au

HOW CATCHMENTS WORK

The overall impact of logging and regeneration on catchment hydrology is likely to be: 1. an increase in stormflow runoff 2. a reduction in flow duration into dry periods. Integration of these effects to assess their magnitude over large catchments requires careful modelling, taking into account the timing of recovery of vegetation and both short-term stormflow increases and long-term water yield reductions. The magnitude of water yield reductions is likely to be greatest during the summer months. The value of thinning to ameliorate this impact is likely to be very short-lived. The costs of the reduction in stream flow duration in dry periods will include reduced water resource availability for human uses, reduced water quality, an increased risk of toxic algal blooms and degradation in the habitat for native freshwater fishes.

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Above: After sterilisation. Forest Silent. Photo by Judith Deland Below: The Somme. This image helped Justice Forrest to decide to grant the injunction.

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Conclusions from THE HYDROLOGICAL EFFECTS OF LOGGING AND REGENERATION by Mick Harewood, May 1998; updated October 2009

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Issue6 November 2009

From the Editor.... native forests are logged and burned. Full accounting of carbon stocks, uptakes and logging emissions from Australia’s native forests would distinguish between native forests and plantations and encourage production from native forests to already established plantations. Instead, the fall in demand caused by the recent economic downturn in Japan has seen larger cuts to plantation production because native forests are still so cheap as to make up for their poorer quality woodchips. Native forest logging is cheaper because it is subsidised and the producers don’t have to pay for the environmental damage they cause. As the eminent Australian paleobotanist, Mary E White, declared in words prepared for the SERCA forum Forests Climate and Woodchips held in August this year “I am appalled and sick at heart that no one has been listening – no progress has been made. We are still arguing about destroying the last of our biodiverse native forests and vegetation and burning, burning, burning – as though there was no tomorrow. And this way there will be no tomorrow”. But maybe we should take heart from the current celebrations of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. That landmark feature which had stood for so long eventually quickly crumbled in the face of public opposition to its continued existence. Will woodchipping eventually - or soon - halt if we can wedge the corporate plunderers and the political system which favours them?

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Australia’s native forests offer a positive and low cost way to dramatically reduce our national greenhouse emissions. Instead of woodchipping, we can recognise native forests as our most important living carbon stores. Native forests can provide an essential natural stabilisation of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. In the last 15 months there have been well-attended public forums in Bega, Bermagui, Bodalla, Merimbula and Moruya highlighting the importance of making green carbon count. SERCA has been trying to get the scientists’ message to public and politicians to “think climate, think forests”. Well it hasn’t worked yet. We’ve run into the barrage of woodchip industry lobbying, misinformation and public relations greenwashing that has captured political decision making. And it could get worse. Proposals to burn native forests to make electricity could entrench intensive logging of native forests just as the investment in a pulp mill would devour native forests laying waste to their environmental qualities. The next big campaign is to counter industry claims that burning native forests to make electricity is green energy because it is “renewable”. The Australian native forest woodchipping industry wants to count the relatively small annual increment of carbon stored as forests regrow and in paper and cardboard while entirely ignoring the massive release of carbon when

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Issue6 November 2009

Biodiversity Sent by Prue Acton to local papers Treasury’s Ken Henry says we are headed towards a population growth that is unsustainable environmentally, given our past record. Rudd says massive population growth is good and cites progress on the Murray Darling as a reason for optimism that we can grow our population. What progress? What about water supplies elsewhere? The Age and 7.30 report ran stories on declining bird population particularly in Victoria which was once the “Garden State” and is now heading towards aridification, and towards uncontrollable wildfires. The Age Oct. 26 editorial headline says we are heading for a silent spring. The big question: Is it wise to even consider population growth when we have, in two hundred years, stuffed vast areas the size of European countries? What measures would we have to undertake if species loss, top soil loss, water loss and increasing fire danger are to be addressed? Surely our priorities for the populated food producing, drought and fire affected southern Australia are to: • stop degradation i.e. logging for loss-making low value woodchips that is changing forests from wet to dry sclerophyll • stop deforestation , ie clearing land for agriculture and urban spread, • revegetate poor agricultural land with local species • re- carbonise soils through bacterial and microbial activity thus improving farm productivity • restore riparian zones along creeks and rivers, thus retaining water in the soils and improving downstream flows, particularly in summer • stop degradation i.e. logging for loss making low value woodchips that is changing forests from wet to dry sclerophyll Click here to read more Letters

Fire on Gulaga by Bronte Somerset

Gazing from a lookout Above a cheerless bay Silver tide sedated Shags lose noonday rays Fishing boats are skulking Waves lamely lap the shore Gulaga is burning Tragedy’s afore Grand old lady Gulaga Where birthing spirits dwell Rages like a furnace In environmental hell Fire roaring up to glory Blocks out springtime sun Mismanagement of forests Is how it had begun Birds and wildlife scatter Nature’s species die Flames engulf the ridges Earth’s sweet spirits cry Darkest day for Gulaga In its eternal life The carelessness of foresters Cut through it like a knife Peace and all its beauty Lies blackened smouldering charred Spirits are offended Native legends scarred A wanton act of terror Less thought or common sense Such offence of nature Shall deliver consequence

Top: Gulaga, 29.8.2009 Bottom: Gulaga, 30.8.2009

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Letters @

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Issue6 November 2009

On Biodiversity

Imagine a spring silent. No kookaburras laughing. Of feeling deprived, angry, sad and fearing for the future. Not joy. Not beauty. The beauty of nature is in diverse and resilient ecosystems rich in the potential to evolve. We recognize the harmony and inherent drama – and are inspired. Artists spend lifetimes exploring these potentials and communicating through music, dance, theatre, visual art and words, passing that inspiration down through the centuries. This same response drives scientists to understand and to create. Our human response to the beautiful, the extraordinary and the ugly is emotional – literally taking our breath away. Deprived of or immune to the diversity of nature, humans through ignorance or greed or fear, become all consuming, not cultivators. Can we afford to risk such a hopeless world? Our emotions, our aesthetic and creative responses help us to recognise our interconnectedness with all life. They alert us to the consequenses of destroying the very environment which supports us and on which our very survival as a species depends. Our response to nature, creates the passion to act for the good of future generations.

Wild Forests A Breath Of Fresh Air Wild Forests of the South East opened at Gallery Bodalla in early October. Described as a breath of fresh air, this vibrant and varied show with works by over 20 artists is held together by the artists’ love for the natural native forest landscape. 10% of sales will be donated to SERCA natural native forest campaign. Opening the show, Lee Rhiannon, MLC, for The Greens, spoke of her love and commitment to the protection of our wild forests. She said artists perhaps more than politicians can influence how we think about the world. Prue Acton, speaking on behalf of the artists, reminded us that the image is a powerful way to change consciousness. “... think of Dombrovskis’ Franklin River photograph - in the same way a recent photograph by Judith Deland entitled ‘After Sterilization. Forest Silent’ shows the power of art to change the world; it was cited by Justice Forrest as Somme-like, in his ground breaking injunction against VicForests logging Brown Mountain in East Gippsland.” Prue said The majority of the artists used undisturbed forests as inspiration and all play their part in a mix of styles and materials that is art today. A wonderful exhibition worthwhile visiting – you’ll leave there mesmerized by the beauty of the forests and the wonder of the artists’ very individual responses to that beauty. Wild Forests runs until Sunday 22 November. Open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm in the heritage post office building Princes Highway Bodalla. www.gallerybodalla.com.au Phone 44 735 011.

Did you know...

Valerie Faber, Lee Rhiannon and Prue Acton at Gallery Bodalla for Wild Forests.

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that if all the logs cut for woodchipping at Eden since the mill opened were laid end to end, they would go around the world almost 5 times*? *Calculated on the assumption that 34 million tonnes of chips were produced from trees on average weighing 3.5 tonnes and with an average height/length of 20m. This equates to 9,714,286 trees laid end to end = 194,285 kms

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Issue6 November 2009

Threat of logging as Yurangalo Inc. publishes fifth Western Yurammie calendar

Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management?

I don’t think so...

Inc. and the broader Wyndham community will not be ‘comfortable’ about having Western Yurammie logged in any way. Yurangalo Inc. has also started a postcard campaign to demonstrate to Forests NSW that the local community, and others that appreciate the values that Western Yurammie represents, support the permanent protection of this forest. These five compartments are more valuable as they are on the basis of their forest structure, water, soil, biodiversity and carbon sequestration values than degraded by logging. With plantation wood supplies flooding the market and the Nippon Paper woodchip mill at Eden looking for ways to use surplus woodchips by burning forests for electricity, it is vital that the degradation that is native forest logging is halted. It has been clearly indicated that it is not economically viable. Western Yurammie is more valuable locally and nationally intact than as a pile of woodchips and a few sawlogs. To help protect Western Yurammie, 1. Buy a calendar - funds raised from calendar sales go towards the campaign to protect Western Yurammie. 2. Send a postcard to Forests NSW. 3. Contact Yurangalo Inc. PO Box 9121, Wyndham, NSW 2550 or email possiwill@iprimus.com.au 4. Contact the NSW State Premier and the Minister for Primary Industries requesting permanent protection for Western Yurammie (the Yurammie Special Prescription Zone Compartments 963 – 967).

Western Yurammie Calendars

Western Yurammie 2010

Above: Cover of Yurangalo Inc.’s postcard to Forests NSW

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available from SERCA stall Ayres Walkway during the Bega Valley Festival Nov 20 - 21 Candelo Bulk Wholefoods Co-op Pambula Wholefoods $21 incl. envelope plus free postcard

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A local community group, Yurangalo Inc. is continuing its campaign to permanently protect a Special Prescription Zone (SPZ) known as Western Yurammie. The SPZ consists of five forestry compartments (963 967) in Yurammie State Forest; three compartments are on the Wyndham side and two adjoin Goodenia Rainforest in the east. This forest is the watershed for two rivers, the Pambula River to the east and the Towamba River in the west. Because of its significance, community members have been lobbying the NSW Government to protect Western Yurammie since the early ‘90s. As a result of community pressure, these five compartments were designated a Special Prescription Zone during the 1998 Regional Forest Agreement. The NSW Government has received two community petitions requesting the permanent protection of this forest in 1998 and 2001. It has also received thousands of letters asking it to protect the community’s interests. Yurangalo Inc. has been producing calendars that feature images taken by its members in the SPZ since 2006. In addition to highlighting the beauty and diversity of the SPZ to the wider community, the calendars have raised funds to continue Yurangalo Inc’s campaign. Recently Yurangalo Inc. discovered that Forests NSW intend, in 2010, to log three of the five compartments that make up the SPZ. Compartment 966, Compartment 967 that adjoins Goodenia Rainforest and forms part of its catchment, and Compartment 963 that has the Fern Fire Trail running through it to the top of the Chalk Hills, have been mentioned. Forests NSW have stated that when their logging schedule is confirmed they will come up with a consultation process with which Yurangalo Inc will be ‘comfortable’. Given past history, Yurangalo

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