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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Nationals announce park-logging plan

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#Bigbadbiomass rally at Condong sugar mill

Around 50 people gathered on Friday morning at the big fig tree near the Condong sugar mill to join the world-wide #Bigbadbiomass protest against the use of biomass to create energy and to emphasise that burning biomass is not ‘environmentally friendly’.

Chris Dobney

Nationals candidate for Page, Kevin Hogan, has thrown his hat in the ring in support of demands to log national parks, including potentially five in his own electorate.

Mr Hogan, together with Nationals senate candidate Barnaby Joyce, made the comments to reporters outside his election launch event.

Mr Hogan left the door open in a backhand remark caught by NBN television news.

‘There are certainly parts of our forest network around our national parks that you don’t want them to go into and I don’t think there would be certain parts of our national parks that they would want to go into,’ he told the network.

Mr Joyce was even more outspoken, saying, ‘I believe in people having jobs. I believe in a timber industry. I believe the green Labor Party stands behind shutting down the timber industry by basically saying that everything is sacred.’

North East Forestry Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson Dailan Pugh responded, ‘It now appears that the federal National Party is intent on acceding to the loggers demands to open up national parks for logging. The question is now whether the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott will agree to this.

‘Electors have a right to know if a vote for an Abbott government is a vote for logging national parks.’

Mr Pugh told Echonetdaily this morning that NEFA had contacted both sitting members and opposition candidates for Richmond and Page ‘on a number of occasions’ but that none had explicitly ruled out logging in the state’s national parks.

He said that the issue is critical because, while the state has responsibility for national parks, they are agreed under a federal reserve system.

‘There is a state-Commonwealth agreement that commits to having our existing parks protected and logging is specifically excluded. So there are commitments there at both levels, so if NSW were to do it unilaterally then the Commonwealth could cancel the Regional Forest Agreement and that would have all sorts of implications.’

Mr Pugh said the loggers had singled out 43 national parks and other conservation reserves in northeastern NSW for revocation, stating that they also want ‘whatever other reserves are necessary to maintain current yields in the long term’.

‘The national parks proposed for revocation by the FPA include forests identified as qualifying for World Heritage Listing, areas of core koala habitat, and irreplaceable stands of oldgrowth forest, such as those at Chaelundi described by Justice Stein as “a veritable forest-dependent zoo, probably unparalleled in southeastern Australia”,’ he said.

In Richmond these include Wollumbin, Mebbin and Goonengerry national parks, along with Wollumbin and Whian Whian state conservation areas and part of Nightcap National Park; and in Page they are Bungawalbin and Chaelundi state conservation areas, along with parts of Guy Fawkes River, Chaelundi and Nymboi-Binderay national parks.

Burning old-growth forests

NEFA is also protesting against changes to government regulation that would allow logging offcuts to be burnt to generate so-called ‘sustainable’ electricity.

This follows timber company Boral moving out of export woodchipping and reducing some of its hardwood timber operations in NSW earlier this year.

‘What has happened as a consequence of that is that Boral are saying, “we’ve got this huge pile of woodchips…” and now they want to burn them for biomass.

‘They’ve merely defined another market for what they were selling as woodchips,’ Mr Pugh said.

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  1. National Parks are a long term environmental investment in the National interest and should stay that way. If FCNSW managed production forests better this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Our national park system, even from a purely economic standpoint, cannot be logged and still be expected to be the international tourism drawcard they are. Speaking of international interest our governments have an international obligation to protect threatened species and ecosystems. Logging and hunting are not compatible with NP values and to ignore this marginalises those many Australians that enjoy them, study in them and understand the disproportionate values they contain. Ignorant politicians suggesting such extreme views are not acting in national interest but merely peddling their own uninformed rhetoric based in the dark ages. Don’t vote for insanity.

  2. If the Liberal coalition wins the election the loggers better watch out for the shooters in those treasured old national parks of ours. Sad and stupid that all they can think of is very short term profits for a few.

  3. Well, it just makes it plain doesn’t it? The minority government coalition (Nats and Libs ) have no idea of the concept of environmental conservation.They seem to think if you can’t dig it up,chop it up,flog it to the Chinese or burn it, then,this country’s natural resources are useless and may as well be trashed.


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