The North East Forest Alliance describes the final logging rules for public forests released today as a disaster for oldgrowth forests, rainforest, river health, threatened species, Koalas, and global warming.
The Governments' decision remains as it was always intended, they have increased logging intensity throughout State Forests, established a 140,000ha clearfelling zone from Taree to Grafton, reduce stream buffers, removed most wildlife protections, and intend to open up oldgrowth forests and rainforests for logging, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"The removal of the need to look for and protect Koala High Use Areas ahead of logging, and to increase logging intensity in their habitat will likely lead to the extinction of this Australian icon, along with many of its compatriots.
The evidence is clear from a recent industry survey of over 12,000 Australians that the logging of public native forests has no social license, and rather than logging of public native forests being entrenched for a further 20 years it must be phased out as soon as possible according to the North East Forest Alliance.
The Forestry and Wood Products report "Community perceptions of Australia’s forest, wood and paper industries: implications for social license to operate" surveyed over 12,000 people from throughout Australia and found 70% of urban, and 65% of rural Australians find logging of native forests unacceptable, compared to just 10% of urban, and 17% of rural Australians finding it acceptable.
The North East Forest Alliance claims that identification of priority Koala habitat for protection undertaken by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), and released under a freedom of information request, proves that the NSW Government's Koala Reserves are a sham. They assert It does however provide a sound scientific basis to progress meaningful protection for Koalas that should not have been ignored.
"The released data confirms that most of the NSW Government's Koala Reserves are a sham. with no scientific basis and often no Koalas. It is disgraceful that the detailed Koala habitat assessments undertaken for the Koala Strategy by the Office of Environment and Heritage were ignored" NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"If the Premier has any genuine concerns for the plight of Koalas she must urgently establish a moratorium from logging over the 20,000 ha of clusters of resident Koala populations, along with appropriate buffers, identified on State Forests until further assessments are undertaken to identify boundaries of koala usage and determine meaningful climate-resilient koala reserves",
"Now that it has been exposed the NSW Government has no excuse to go on ignoring its own expert advice" Mr Pugh said.
Githabul Tribe and Conservation Groups Reach Historic Agreement
The Githabul Tribe, Githabul Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Githabul Elders and representatives of conservation groups today launched their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the management of Githabul Native Title Lands in the upper Clarence and Richmond Rivers.
On 29 November 2007 the Federal Court of Australia made a consent determination recognising the Githabul People’s Native Title rights and interests over 1120 sq km in 9 National Parks and 13 State Forests.
The MoU proposes:
- · Transferring care and control of 29,700ha State Forests for which Githabul Native Title rights are recognised, from the NSW government to the Githabul Tribe.
- · Preparing a comprehensive Plan of Management to safeguard conservation and cultural values and prioritise rehabilitation works.
- · Achieving an adequately funded comprehensive 15 year rehabilitation plan to arrest and repair forest dieback as part of a Githabul caring for country program.
- · Creating more NPWS positions and training for Githabul Working on Country in National Parks in the Kyogle area.
- · Transferring the care and control of Crown lands around the Tooloom Falls Aboriginal Place to the Githabul Tribe.
- · Promoting the establishment of a Cultural and Tourism Centre at Roseberry Creek.
- · Obtaining World Heritage Listing for the National Parks in the region.
FRAUDULENT TIMBER SHORT-FALL USED TO JUSTIFY LOGGING OF ENVIRONMENT AREAS AND OLDGROWTH FOREST
The North East Forest Alliance has accused the NSW Government of fraudulently claiming a shortfall in high quality logs available from State Forests in north-east NSW to justify their wind-back of environmental protections and intention to log oldgrowth forest and rainforest.
NEFA today released a review of timber yields and modelling for north-east NSW over the past 20 years that has identified a number of serious problems with yield estimations and allocations from the region that will be referred to the Auditor General.
Photo: oldgrowth tree -one of thousands to be made 'available for logging' under the new logging rules.
NATIONAL PARTY'S MONEY HANDOUT A MISDIRECTION TO ALLOW DEGRADATION OF NORTH COAST RIVERS
The North East Forest Alliance has described as misdirection the claim by the National Party that their spending of $45.7 million under the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy will result in improvement in water quality of north coast rivers when any benefits will be overwhelmed by the deterioration resulting from their intention to open up for logging some 22,000 ha of stream buffers in headwaters north from the Hunter River.
"Throwing money at the problem will have no effect until they address the causes, and one of the most significant causes of stream degradation is loss of riparian vegetation", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"The National Party are giving with one hand while taking away with the other. Once again they are using money hand-outs to distract from the real and lasting damage they intend to do to our environment, this time by distracting from the massively increased damage they are doing to our river's vital headwaters.
Photos: Logging causing degradation of streams in Gibberagee State Forest
The North East Forest Alliance is calling upon the public to demand that all candidates for the March State elections declare where they stand on the Berejiklian Government's proposal to open up over 100,000 hectares of protected oldgrowth forest and rainforest on public lands for logging.
"A keystone of Premier Berejiklian's draconian changes to the logging rules for public forests is that some 58,600 ha of High Conservation Value Oldgrowth and 50,600 ha of rainforest in north-east NSW may be made available for logging ", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
Image- photo of mapped oldgrowth in Clouds Creek State Forest that the Natural Resources Commission has remapped as no longer being oldgrowth, this is rejected by NEFA.
DECISION TO LOG OLDGROWTH AND RAINFOREST BASED ON FRAUDULENT CLAIMS
The NSW Government is using grossly inflated timber commitments to fraudulently justify logging oldgrowth forest and rainforest protected in the Comprehensive Adequate and Representative reserve system, according to the North East Forest Alliance.
With revelations that the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has based its justifications for logging oldgrowth and rainforests, and other environmental wind-backs, on a 33% increase in timber commitments, NEFA is calling upon the Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton to honour her predecessors promises by' intervening to direct the agencies to renegotiate an environmentally fairer set of logging rules based on existing wood supply obligations rather than the NRC's grossly inflated volumes.
"Since 2013 a succession of NSW Environment Ministers have repeatedly reassured environment groups that the new logging rules (Integrated Forestry Operations Approval) would result in no erosion of environmental values and no wind-back of the reserve system", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"With the NSW Government now proposing to log oldgrowth forest and rainforest, increase logging intensity, introduce clearfelling, reduce buffers on headwater streams, and remove protections for most threatened species on public land in north-east NSW, it is clear that they lied to us.
LOGGING OF PUBLIC NATIVE FORESTS HAS LOST ITS SOCIAL LICENCE
The North East Forest Alliance maintains that submissions to the NSW Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) show that the logging of public native forests has lost its social licence and that the community do not support the NSW and Commonwealth Government's proposals to extend the RFAs for 20 more years.
Of the 5,425 submissions to the RFAs only 23 supported the Government's proposal to extend the RFAs for 20 years and give additional five-year rolling extensions after each future five-yearly review, and nearly all these were from the industry.
The so-called 'Independent Review' of NSW's Regional Forest Agreements was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on 25 June 2018.
The review notes 'The majority of submitters would like the State to cease native forest logging on public land, indicating it damages biodiversity, environmental values and environmental services such as water, carbon capture and amenity, and provides a low economic return'.
"The Regional Forest Agreements have no credibility, their only purpose is for the Commonwealth to avoid its legal obligations for threatened species and heritage under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.Read more
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.