North coast conservation groups have established a Save Your National Parks website after four of the region’s state MPs refused to rule out logging in almost a million hectares of local national parks.
The website saveparks.com.au provides information on the north-east NSW parks, updates on logging plans and the opportunity to sign a petition opposing the move.
North East Forest Alliance spokesperson Dailan Pugh said that the group contacted local Nationals MPs Geoff Provest, Don Page, Thomas George and Chris Gulaptis in December in the hope that they would at least stand up against the logging 12 reserves in the northern rivers.
NEFA told them that we intended to publicise their responses to their electors on the grounds that they have a right to know the position of their elected representatives.
‘None of the four state members for the northern rivers indicated that they would oppose logging of national parks. Don Page replied that he had forwarded our request for his opinion to the minister for the environment Robyn Parker. This is the same environment minister who repeatedly refused to rule out allowing logging in national parks during a budget estimates hearing. She has not replied.
‘Thomas George responded that until the government considers an inter-departmental committee review into the timber supply situation on the north coast he is ‘not in a position to speculate on what those options might be or even speculate on what subsequent decisions might be made’.
‘Christopher Gulaptis and Geoff Provest did not respond.
‘We need local members who are prepared to stand up for the north coast and not stand aside while our national parks are given to the shooters and loggers. The electors of the northern rivers must assume that the government members for Lismore, Clarence, Tweed and Ballina have no intention to stand up for the local national parks that this community had to struggle for decades to protect.
‘If the northern rivers community wants to keep its national parks they are first going to have to convince their elected representatives that their jobs depend on not supporting proposals to log them,’ Mr Pugh said.
‘The Forest Products Association are asking for over a million hectares of northeast NSW’s national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas to be made available for logging. So far they have identified over 100,000 hectares of 43 specific reserves they want revoked.
‘In the northern rivers the loggers have so far singled out 12 reserves they want to be wholly or partially revoked for logging: Wollumbin, Mebbin, Nightcap, Goonengerry, Guy Fawkes River, Chaelundi, and Nymboi-Binderay national parks, and Wollumbin, Whian Whian, Bungawalbin, Butterleaf, and Chaelundi state conservation areas.
‘The O’Farrell government is currently assessing the timber resources in these reserves with a view to opening them up for logging.
‘These reserves encompass core habitat for an array of threatened plants and animals, rare ecosystems, rainforests of world-heritage value, exceptional oldgrowth forests, and part of a wilderness. The loggers are also seeking the removal of protections for numerous stands of oldgrowth on state forests throughout the region.