The North East Forest Alliance have asked the NSW environment minister Robyn Parker and primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson to ‘justify their determination to allow illegal logging of koala high-use areas (KHUAs) to continue’ in Royal Camp State Forest, 16 kilometres south-west of Casino.
The group has identified two KHUAs that have been logged since they first raised the issue.
Spokesperson for NEFA, Dailan Pugh, said that an inspection on Sunday of recent logging in the forest revealed that Forests NSW are still not searching for koala scats (fecal pellets) and are consequently continuing to log KHUAs.
‘Forests NSW are prohibited from logging within 20m of KHUAs by their Threatened Species Licence.
‘Forests NSW are legally required to thoroughly search for koala scats in advance of logging in order to identify KHUAs for protection.
‘On Sunday we found another koala high use area that had recently been logged. This is the second KHUA we have found logged since we first asked the ministers for environment and primary industries to intervene to stop it.
‘Of the 103 potential koala feed trees we searched for scats only seven had been searched before. It appears that these were searched by the Environment Protection Agency in a token post-logging audit.
‘It is clear that despite our repeated appeals to the ministers, Forests NSW are still not undertaking the required searches for koala scats and continuing to illegally log.
‘It is outrageous that the ministers responsible for implementing laws to protect koalas are knowingly allowing Forests NSW, a public agency, to continue to flout them,’ Mr Pugh said.