Why do the Nationals want to kill Koalas?

MEDIA RELEASE - 17 September 2020

According to the North East Forest Alliance the National Party has been intentionally misleading the community over their attacks on the Koala SEPP as decisions had already been made months before to abandon the maps and exclude logging and landclearing, making it perplexing as to what truly motivated their actions.

"With 61% of the north coast's 'likely' Koala habitat remaining on private lands, and probably less than 6,000 Koalas left, we cannot save the Koala from extinction without protecting its core habitat on private lands, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

"It is extremely concerning that the National's attacks on Koala protections have been based on misinformation.

"In a letter sent to the Nationals leader Barilaro on 21 August Rob Stokes1 informed him that the 'Pink DA map'2 would be removed and they would 'revert to a survey process which existed under SEPP 44'.

"The decision to abandon this map had been made months previously as the Koala Strategy Board Meeting of 28 May 20203 was informed of this intent.

"This is the Koala Development Application Map which simply triggered the need for Koala assessments when submitting Development Applications.

"Given that the Nationals knew the map would no longer be used they have been deliberately misleading the community by making this mapping the focus of their attacks on the SEPP.

"Stokes also informed the Nationals on 21 August that "Planning officials would welcome the opportunity" to exclude land clearing and logging from the ambit of the Koala SEPP, meaning that core Koala habitat identified in a Koala Plan of Management would no longer require approval to be extensively cleared and can be logged.

"When core Koala Habitat is mapped in a KPoM it is included as Sensitive Protected Land under the Local Land Services Act 2013, which means that approval is required for extensive clearing. And since 2007 mapped core Koala Habitat has been protected from logging under the Private Native Forestry Code.

"There are a whole raft of routine agricultural activities that are still allowed without approval, such as clearing within 6m of tracks and fences, and clearing for 'sustainable grazing'.

"It is important to recognise that Timber NSW have focussed their attack on the SEPP using misleading claims that routine agricultural activities would no longer be excluded, when really their intent has been to ensure that core Koala habitat is no longer protected from logging.

"Before their threat to bring down the Government the National Party seem to have succeeded is excluding land-clearing and logging from the ambit of the Koala SEPP, so that only leaves development as the real target of heir revolt.

"The revelation4 that the only representation that John Barilaro has raised with planning Minister Rob Stokes is from a Newcastle property developer with multiple residential developments on the edges of towns including Maitland, Lismore and Armidale says a lot about the National's true motivations for their belated attack on Koalas.

"Now that the map of likely Koala habitat has been thrown out and core Koala habitat mapped by Council's will no longer apply to logging operations and land clearing, if the Koala is to be saved it is essential that the NSW Government step up and undertake urgent and accurate mapping of core Koala habitat itself for application across NSW", Mr. Pugh said.

FOR COMMENT: Dailan Pugh 66 807063, 0400711054

  1. Letter from Stokes to Barilaro Sydney Morning Herald 14 September 2020.
  2. This is the ' Koala Development Application Map which was intended to fill the gap until core Koala habitat is mapped by a Council n a Koala Plan of Management. This map of likely Koala habitat was intended to simplify the DA process by making it clearer when Koalas were required to be considered in a DA process (in mapped areas) and when they weren't (unmapped areas), It was then up to the developer to assess whether core Koala habitat was present..
  3. EES Koala Strategy Board Meeting 24 - Minutes, Monday 28 May 2020, released under parliamentary 'call for papers'.
  4. The Guardian, 16 September 2020.
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Liberals need support to save Koalas from National Party

MEDIA RELEASE - 10 September 2020

Call to protect core koala habitat from logging.

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The North East Forest Alliance is calling on people who want core Koala habitat to be identified and protected from logging to contact the Liberal Party and encourage them to resist National Party bullying.

The Koala State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) was introduced by the coalition in 1995, with the then National Party member for Ballina, Don Page, claiming credit for it, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

"The SEPP basically requires the preparation of Koala Plans of Management (KPoM) that identify core Koala habitat. These are required to be prepared for individual Development Applications over core Koala habitat, though the emphasis is on Councils preparing shire wide Koala plans.

"Where Councils identify core Koala habitat it is identified as Sensitive Regulated Land and therefore can't be cleared under an exemption, and is excluded from logging under the Private Native Forest logging codes.

"This has been intended since the first 1994 Koala SEPP, yet the Koala inquiry identified that over the last 25 years only 6 comprehensive KPoMs have been approved, and these are mostly just for parts of Local Government Areas, and mostly don't identify core Koala habitat.  

"The bipartisan Koala Inquiry found that the regulatory framework for private native forestry does not protect koala habitat with the theoretical protections for koalas 'weakened substantially, or indeed non-existent, when practically applied'.

"In 2019 the Coalition adopted a revamped Koala SEPP that tries to make the process for identifying core Koala habitat workable.

"Since then Timber NSW have been worried that if Councils identify core Koala habitat then they won't be able to log it, and have been targeting the National Party in a campaign to overturn the SEPP.

"The current threat by the National Party to resign from the Coalition is all about trying to make the identification of core Koala habitat unworkable so that it can continue to be logged  and cleared.

"Koalas had declined by over 50% on the north coast since the Koala SEPP was first introduced 26 years ago, then in 2019/20 30% of their high quality habitat was burnt, with losses of 44-100% of Koalas from firegrounds. Since 2015 clearing of native vegetation has doubled, with no consideration of Koalas.

"Wild Koalas will likely go extinct in NSW by 2050 if the National Party continue like this.

"NEFA are asking people to email or phone the offices of Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Environment Minister Matt Kean to thank them for helping protect Koalas against National Party bullying.  Encourage them to provide support to Councils to complete the mapping of core Koala habitat across NSW within 5 years.

"NEFA are also asking people to email or phone the offices of north coast National Party representatives to protest their attempts to remove protections for Koalas, such as Geoff Provest (Tweed), Chris Gulaptis (Clarence), Gurmesh Singh (Coffs Harbour), Leslie Williams (Port Macquarie), Melinda Pavey (Oxley), Stephen Bromhead (Myall Lakes) and Upper House representative Ben Franklin.

"We need to show that the community supports Koala protection" Mr. Pugh said.

Parliamentary contacts are at:

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/members/Pages/all-members.aspx

 

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Kean needs to Stump Up!

After finding further logging breaches in Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, NEFA is calling on Environment Minister Matt Kean to stump up by protecting important Koala habitat from further logging and ensuring that the EPA prosecute the Forestry Corporation for flagrantly breaking the new logging rules by cutting down giant trees and recklessly endangering the survival of other giant hollow-bearing trees and Koala feed trees.

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NEFA Welcomes Belated Stop Work Order

Belated Stop Work Welcomed.

MEDIA RELEASE - 19 July 2020

NEFA welcome the EPA's belated imposition of a 40 day Stop Work Order on Forestry Corporation logging in Compartments 32, 33 and 34 of Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, inland from Coffs Harbour, after their finding of 2 giant trees >140 cm cut down.

Despite NEFA making numerous requests in the past for the EPA to issue Stop Work Orders they have refused to do so, instead taking years to investigate while allowing the Forestry Corporation to go on offending and cover up evidence, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

"It is great that the EPA have issued their first Stop Work Order on the Forestry Corporation, though reprehensible that the EPA waited 9 days after finding the breaches on 9 July until logging was virtually complete before stopping work.

"NEFA have been waiting over a year and a half for the EPA to take action in relation to other serious breaches in Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, yet they still won't tell us what breaches they found or what action they are taking.

"While the EPA dither the Forestry Corporation continue their illegal logging in the expectation that they will get away with it, as they usually do.

"NEFA have reported thousands of illegally logged hollow-bearing trees in the past and at best the EPA only issue warning letters, and often not even that. It is not surprising that the Forestry Corporation regularly flout the rules.

"The situation is dire for the plethora of native animals dependent upon the hollows provided by large old trees, and the few left  in our forests were further depleted by the recent fires.

"All trees >80 cm diameter need to be protected to maintain the hollows vital to the survival of so many of our unique animals. Even the EPA recommended in 2016 that trees >120 cm diameter should be protected, though were overridden by the Forestry Corporation.

"The Forestry Corporation's claims that measurements of tree bases are unreliable beggars belief as the rules are so explicit that anybody with a tape can do it, said Mr. Pugh.

FOR COMMENT: Dailan Pugh 66 807063, 0400711054

https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/news/media-releases/2020/epamedia200718-epa-orders-stop-work-on-forestry-operations-in-wild-cattle-creek-state-forest

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Action on Climate Needed for World Environment Day

To mark World Environment Day the North East Forest Alliance is calling upon people to raise their voices to demand that State and Federal Governments take urgent action to avoid climate chaos by hastening the transition to genuine renewable energy, while at the same time increasing the removal of atmospheric carbon by protecting existing forests and increasing regeneration.

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Knitting Nannas Join NEFA on World Environment to Stand Up For Forests.  Photo: Jimmy Malecki


This year World Environment Day 2020 is focused on biodiversity with the theme "Time for Nature",  stating:

The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.

Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message:

To care for ourselves we must care for nature.

It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices.

It’s time to build back better for People and Planet.

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Roading Halted at Myrtle State Forest

North East Forest Alliance

May 29, 2020

MEDIA RELEASE: for immediate release

ROADING HALTED AT MYRTLE STATE FOREST

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Today ten members of the Northern Rivers Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement and the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) paid a visit to Myrtle State Forest just south of Casino where logging operations have commenced in the past couple of weeks.

In early March 2020 the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approved the Forestry Corporation to undertake logging of burnt Koala habitat in three State Forests on the Richmond River lowlands. 

“We are all very concerned that Forestry is about to commence taking trees down in this already very stressed out forest.” Said Ruth Rosenhek of NEFA/XR. “As we know, forests are the lungs of the earth. They play a vital role in sequestering and storing carbon and this carbon storage has been significantly diminished in vast areas of NSW’s forests due to widespread logging as well as the recent bushfires.

“We need to protect degraded forests as part of the solution to climate change and cease the logging of public native forests. Allowing regrowth forests to mature will avoid significant releases of CO2 and allow carbon to be sequestered and stored in the tree trunks and soils of the regenerating forests. If we can allow forests such as Myrtle SF to regenerate it will continue to store carbon in ever increasing volumes as it matures over decades and centuries.”

“ As pandemic restrictions ease, it is time to take bold steps towards ending business-as-usual and moving towards a future that will support future generations both human and wildlife.  Increasing carbon storage in forests and avoiding emissions represents a significant economic, environmental and social benefit to all people in NSW.”

The arrival of the group into the forest  - chanting “Enough is Enough, It’s Time to Stand up!” - caused the day’s roading activities to cease. 

The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) urges the EPA to immediately withdraw their approvals for logging of Koala habitat in Bungawalbin, Doubleduke and Myrtle State Forests and do due-diligence by assessing the landscape impacts of the fires on Koalas. As shown by this example, a moratorium is needed on further logging of populations of all species significantly affected by the fires until surveys are undertaken to assess their vulnerability.

For further information, contact Ruth Rosenhek on 0459 362 357

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Burnt Rainforests Need Help

With over a third of north-east NSW's rainforests burnt last year the North East Forest Alliance is calling for the immediate protection of 50m buffers around rainforest and an urgent weed control program in and adjacent to burnt stands.

"The NSW Government's mapping of fire extent and canopy scorch shows that some 160,000 hectares (35%) of north-east NSW's 462,000 ha of rainforests were burnt last fire season", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

"It is tragic that over a third of these priceless relicts burnt in one year. Across the fire-grounds most leaf litter, logs and understorey plants were burnt, along with their inhabitants. Many tree bases were damaged.

"Most worrying is the significant loss of large canopy trees, hundreds of years old, across 125,000 ha of rainforests, with 34,000 ha of these losing most canopy trees.

"Some stands are unlikely to ever recover.

Burnt rainforest at Tooloom National Park

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Logging of unburnt habitat of Endangered Hastings River Mouse Must Stop

NEFA is calling on State and Federal Governments to intervene to immediately halt the Forestry Corporation's grossly irresponsible logging of unburnt habitat of the nationally endangered Hastings River Mouse in Styx River State Forest (east of Armidale).

The Hastings River Mouse is one of the endangered species most severely impacted by the fires in Australia, yet the Forestry Corporation are criminally logging the last remaining unburnt patch of known habitat in Styx River State Forest, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

Picture has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license
Original source: Hasting River Mouse captures Uploaded by berichard
Author: Doug Beckers

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NSW must heed C'wealth advice to protect species

The North East Forest Alliance is demanding that the NSW Government heeds the Commonwealth's advice by immediately placing a logging and clearing moratorium over all unburnt habitat of the 57 animal species in north-east NSW identified by experts as needing urgent help to survive in the wake of devastating bushfires.

Almost two and a half million hectares of north-east NSW (north of the Hunter River) was burnt in the recent fires, affecting 29% of the land area and around half the native vegetation and its inhabitants, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

"North-east NSW provides core habitat for half of the 113 animal species that the experts commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment identified on Tuesday as needing urgent help to survive in the wake of devastating bushfires.

"This includes 10 birds, 13 mammals, 9 reptiles, 11 frogs, 12 spiny crayfish and 2 freshwater fish species.

 

Photos: Puhj's Frog, Yellow-bellied Glider, Spotted-tailed Quoll

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Logging of Koala Habitat must Stop!

The North East Forest Alliance totally rejects industry claims that logging is good for koalas, while calling for an immediate logging and clearing moratorium on all 'highly suitable koala habitat' as identified by the Government.

Logging has removed many of the large trees preferred by Koalas for feeding as well as vital fire refuges out of the reach of ground fires, in the process reducing Koala populations and making forests drier and more flammable, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

"Logging has had a profound impact on Koalas and their chances of surviving our apocalyptic future.

"North-east NSW Koala populations have declined over 50% in the past 20 years, and last year 30% of 'highly suitable koala habitat' was burnt, including many known core populations. Thousands of Koalas were killed," he said.

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