RFA submission guide: Background
Please find below some background to the key recommendations in the Greens RFA submission template. You may wish to include some of these facts and figures in your own submission:
- Stop native forest logging
Native forests provide significant ecological value. They act as a filter for water, promote biodiversity and are the home of many of our iconic animals. They should be preserved and enjoyed as forests, rather than logged at an economic loss.
Native forest logging does not provide that jobs or economic benefits that that RFAs sought to achieve. In 2009-2012, Forestry Corporation lost $85 million in native forest logging operations. In 2015, The Greens obtained figures from Forestry Corporation that showed that NSW taxpayers had lost more than $40 million from State Native Forests over the previous 4 years. Though Forestry Corporation has recently reported a profit in this area, the past accounts show that it has been a financial drain on tax payers for many years.
In addition, as of 2011, the forestry industry in NSW only employed a total of 2,126 workers, either directly or through a support service. Of this number, it is likely that only 600 were directly employed in the native forest industry. This amounts to less than 0.1% of the total workforce. It is clear from these figures that the employment and economic benefits are not able to justify the significant ecological and heritage loss that is caused by logging public native forests.
- Recognise the value of forests beyond timber production and investigate alternative ways to use state forests
Forests play an important part in regulating and maintaining water and soil quality, preserving biodiversity and capturing carbon. They make a significant contribution to the health of our ecosystem and environment. This value can only be maintained by moving away from logging in our native public forests.
Our forests also present a significant economic opportunity through tourism. In 2016, nature-based travellers made up 82.9% of visitors to NSW, with national parks and state forests the 2nd most popular class of destination in the state. Public forests offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike, through popular activities like bushwalking, photography, bird watching, camping and trail bike riding.
Shifting the way we use forests, from logging to tourism, will allow for forest to continue to be a source of economic gain. This has the additional benefit of also preserving our forests, giving the people of NSW both the ecological and economic benefits of these public assets.
- Establish a Great Koala national park
Koalas need mature growth trees and bushland to survive. Logging native forests has led to the fragmentation of their habitat, forcing them into smaller and smaller areas – where there is often insufficient food and water. As a result, koala populations across NSW are in serious decline.
Establishing a Great Koala National Park would be a significant step towards preserving this species.
By adding 175,000 hectares of state forest to the existing national parks in the Coffs Harbour hinterland, the NSW Government could establish a 315,000 hectare koala reserve. This area contains 20% of NSW’s wild koalas and habitats of national significance, and offers the best chance of a successful conservation effort.
It also offers significant economic and employment opportunities for the region. A recent study by economists in Victoria found that the similar Great Forest National Park proposal on the outskirts of Melbourne could generate up to 750 full-time jobs, attract an extra 400,000 visitors annually and add more than $70 million to economy each year.
For more about the Great Koala National Park: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/koala-national-parks-needed-before-it-is-too-late-20180130-h0qi8f.html