Federal Greens Senator, Janet Rice and State MPs Dawn Walker and Jeremy Buckingham joined Greens members from across the Mid North Coast in Bellingen to discuss forest issues, including the need to end native forest logging and create a Great Koala National Park.
As a grassroots party, the Forest Forum was an opportunity for Greens members to hear from experts, engage with MPs and develop policies and campaigns.
“Forest issues are gaining increasing attention on the Mid North Coast and the community want an end to destructive logging in our native forests.
“Native forest logging destroys complex ecosystems, pollutes waterways and also denies the community opportunities for sustainable and more lucrative economic activities based on tourism.
“The Greens have re-affirmed our commitment to creating a Great Koala National Park that will see 175,000ha of State Forest added to existing protected areas in the Coffs - Bellingen – Nambucca region.
“A Great Koala National Park will not only conserve one of the most important koala habitats in Australia, but also unleash an economic boom for the Mid North Coast with a range of bushwalking, biking, wildlife watching, accommodation and hospitality opportunities.
“It’s time the National Party, especially MPs Melinda Pavey and Andrew Fraser showed a bit of leadership and backed the Great Koala National Park proposal instead of blindly following an outdated approach to forestry that is costing jobs and koalas” said Dawn Walker, MP.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the beautiful forests in the Bellinger Valley, but it’s been horrifying to see the destructive logging happening in the region.
“Our forests need to be protected for wildlife, water, carbon, recreational activities and tourism, rather than seen as just a timber resource. We should be protecting our native forests rather than logging them.
“We need to scrap our destructive logging laws known as the Regional Forest Agreements and expand our parks and reserves.
“Sustainable plantations, farm forestry and alternative fibres, like hemp and bamboo, are the solution to meeting our wood product needs” said Greens Senator, Janet Rice.