Greens MP and Forests spokesperson Dawn Walker has slammed the State Government's failure to rule-out allowing intensive logging practices into North Coast forests, following intense questioning in this week’s Budget Estimates hearings in State Parliament.
When asked directly if the Government would introduce intensive harvesting or clear-felling practices currently used on the South Coast to the Mid North Coast and the North Coast under the Government’s proposed remake of forestry regulatory rules, known as IFOAs, the Minister for Lands and Forestry, Paul Toole refused to directly respond and stated that a draft consultation on the IFOA will be coming out at the end of the year.
“It’s absolutely appalling to think the Liberal-National Party would even consider allowing intense clear-fell style logging operations in our precious North Coast forests that are home to so many rare and threatened species, including koalas.
“If implemented, these changes to NSW forestry operations will directly result in the death of many of NSW’s most threatened species. They will result in native animals buried alive and koalas cut out of their feed trees.
“Our communities will not tolerate this level of destruction in their public native forests and the fact the Minister can’t rule-out introducing more destructive and reckless logging practices into our North Coast Forests is alarming for our communities and wildlife said Dawn Walker, Greens MP.
The Government’s plans to permit more intensive logging operations on the North Coast was first revealed in leaked Forestry Corporation documents in June 2017 that proposed a radical overhaul of forestry rules that would see the elimination of long-standing threatened species protections and a new "intensive harvesting" zone of 35,000 hectares of high-productivity Blackbutt Forest between Grafton and Taree.
Dawn Walker also questioned the Minister for Lands and Forestry on whether koalas are killed or maimed as a result of native forestry operations in NSW and why no penalty infringement notices were served on Forestry Corp in the last financial year, despite allegations of breaches and numerous investigations.