Despite the myriad of drug-related arrests made at Burning Seed last week, event organisers may still get the green light to hold the festival at Matong State Forest in future years.
Forestry Corporation of NSW issues permits for state-forest events and a spokeswoman said the organisation has not “previously been made aware of any incidents that would cause concern” for a prospective permit to be revoked from Burning Seed organisers.
“Forestry Corporation of NSW issued a Forest Permit allowing the organisers of the Burning Seed Festival to hold an event for up to 4,000 people in Matong State Forest,” she said.
“Forestry Corporation has not received an application for a Forest Permit for any future event, but if it does, the application will be assessed on its merits, in the same way all permit applications are assessed.”
Police made about 40 drug arrests at the festival and made 17 other drug detections for various other substances.
Superintendent Bob Noble was “pleased” the event was safe without any major incident but was not impressed with the amount of people using and selling prohibited drugs at the festival.
“There’s a segment of the population that thinks it’s OK to take drugs and it’s not that big of a deal, but the legislators voted in by the broader public don’t agree with that and will approach it in a contextual manner,” he said.
“If there are as many people bringing drugs into the event next year, then there may be a bigger police presence.”
Matong State Forest is designated as “state forest land” under the Forestry Act 2012.
Wagga council’s visitor economy team leader Fiona Hamilton said it means under Wagga’s local environment plan, uses that are authorised under the act are permitted without consent.
“Council staff were copied in on communication from NSW Ambulance and also NSW Health in relation to emergency/evacuation planning assessments that had been undertaken,” she said.
“These organisations were in discussion directly with the festival organisers to ensure that appropriate risk mitigation plans were put in place, police were also included in these communications.”
The Daily Advertiser reached out to the president of Burning Seed for comment but did not receive a reply.