The North East Forest Alliance is shocked that NSW Government agencies have cancelled an inspection of State Forests along the Richmond Range to be shown the dire consequences that their new logging rules will have for logging dieback, Koalas, logging intensity and oldgrowth forests.
Image-Logging Dieback the Premier's Department didn't want to see.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said that on Wednesday night the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) rang him to say that a party of bureaucrats responsible for writing the new logging rules agreed to attend a site inspection on Monday 28 May.
"NEFA had refused an invitation to attend a consultation meeting in Lismore on Monday over the new logging rules with the EPA, Premier's Department, Natural Resources Commission, Forestry Corporation, Department of Primary Industries, and a Commonwealth representative.
"Environment groups have had all their representations ignored for the past 4 years and have decided to boycott the Government's sham consultation process so as not to give it false legitimacy.
"I had suggested that as an alternative NEFA could take them on a forest inspection so that they could see for themselves how devastating the current logging is and how much worse their new rules will be in reality. I considered it particularly important that the representatives from the Premier's Department, Natural Resources Commission and Commonwealth see what is going on in the real world.
"With the short notice of their acceptance I arranged for a zoologist and a botanist to accompany us and spent until late on Thursday night writing an itinerary and briefing for the EPA.
"We were to go to Richmond Range State Forest to see how it is being ravaged by dieback after logging, Royal Camp State Forest to see how the new rules would devastate the most important Koala colony left on public land in the Richmond catchment and to Banyabba State Forest so that they could appreciate the beauty and importance of oldgrowth forests that they are about to assign to the chopping block.
"After being provided with my briefing, on Friday morning the EPA rang me to tell me that it had been decided to cancel the site inspection because some members of their group didn't think it complied with their intended consultation.
"It is obvious that the Forestry Corporation didn't want the Premiers Department and the NRC to see the reality of what their decisions on the logging rules mean, and neither did they.
"I am shocked that they reneged on this opportunity to engage with us in a meaningful manner so they could understand our concerns. No matter how hard we try they refuse to listen.
"Instead they are going to hang around doing nothing in Lismore on Monday and meet with the loggers in Grafton on Tuesday. That is what they consider consultation" Mr. Pugh said.