Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Forestry Cut Down; Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Forestry Cut Down; Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

BY the late 1970s the timber industry on the Tweed faced a crisis over its future brought about by a group of people intent on protecting the forests.

Protests to politicians proved successful enough to place the multi-million dollar Northern Rivers industry in jeopardy. The conservation lobby claimed the timber getters were endangering forests which were apart of our heritagea.

Conservationists and their anti-logging stance were seen as placing not only timber men and their employees on the Tweed in danger of financial ruin, but also endangering the prosperity of the district as a whole.

Timber getting had been a major industry on the Tweed since the 1840s and local sawmillers with a lifetime of experience claimed their culling of timber improved the forests.

They took trees on a selective basis under control of the Forestry Commission and were careful to ensure that the forest canopy was protected so maximum regeneration of tree growth was encouraged.

Labelled as environmental radicals, a group of people held a meeting in Sydney on September 30, 1978, warning the timber industry, NSW Government and the community at large that they would be mounting a major campaign to convert a region called the Border Ranges into a national park.

By early January 1979 the local timber industry, which was second only to sugarcane production as a major income earner in the district, was becoming increasingly worried by individuals who were described as aeco-nutsa.

One of NSWas top timber companies, Standard Sawmilling Company Pty Ltd at Murwillumbah, had over a long period invested heavily in new plant and buildings. The company had a large staff dependent on it for wages that totalled over $1 million annually.

Company managing director Alleyne Withy believed real crises faced the industry because indecision over logging state forests made it impossible to plan future investment policies. He stated that if new timber roads into the forests were not approved his companyas logging operations would be hampered. …

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