Greens MPs Dawn Walker and Dr Mehreen Faruqi have condemned attempts by the National Party to weaken protections for Murray Valley National Park and revive the River Red Gum logging industry in the face of a looming by-election in the seat of Murray.
“Once again the National Party have shown that they are more concerned about ‘logs for their mates’ than protecting our precious River Red Gum Forests that are home to countless plant and animal species” said Greens MP and Forestry spokesperson, Dawn Walker.
“Former NSW Premier, Bob Carr previously described logging of River Red Gum Forests as ‘vandalism’ and it’s clearly a sign of pure desperation that the Nationals candidate for Murray has caved in to the Shooters and Fishers Party by declaring support for reviving the destructive and unnecessary River Red Gum logging industry.
“Comments by National Party MPs in Parliament last week, including Minister Melinda Pavey who said that River Red Gums ‘deserve to be a part of Australia's floorboards, cupboards and furniture’ show why the NSW Government has absolutely no credibility when it comes to environmental issues.
“The National Party are now allowing themselves to be openly hijacked by the timber industry, with new branches of being formed by sawmill operators with the explicit aim to convert National Parks back into State Forests so they can be hacked into by commercial loggers.
“Logging our unique Red Gum forests is not sustainable and the Greens will campaign to ensure they stay protected” said Dawn Walker MP.
Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi condemned the proposal to downgrade the National Park and called for retaining protections for Murray Valley National Park.
“National parks are at their core a haven for the protection of wildlife and the enjoyment of the broader community.
“However, under this Government we see constant chipping away and plans to undermine National Parks, whether that be by ramming a freeway through the Royal National Park or this proposal to log the Murray Valley National Park.
“The creation of NSW’s Red Gum National Parks was the culmination of a 30-year campaign by groups like the National Parks Association to protect wetlands of State, National and International significance and they need their protections maintained.
“Ecological thinning involves heavy machinery, damage to soil, noise, disturbance to surrounding trees, and does not belong in a National Park. If the Government is serious about the health of the red gums, let’s have a genuine discussion based on the science, not this thinly veiled attempt to log National Parks.
“In fact, the NSW Government’s own compliance report into their ‘ecological thinning’ trial in River Red Gum Forests documented multiple instances where non-target trees were felled, damaged or pushed over due to their operations. The trial failed to comply with the condition to minimise impacts on threatened species and endangered ecological communities. Why on earth would we let them expand this failed trial?” she concluded.