Spokesperson for the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), Dailan Pugh, has called on the premier to intervene to direct primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson to ‘reign in the Forestry Corporation’ after what he calls ‘their continued public misinformation campaign’.
Mr Pugh said the minister had allowed the Game Council to develop into a ‘rogue body’ and now she is ‘sitting back while the Forestry Corporation go feral, log koala habitat that is required to be protected and run a deliberate misinformation campaign’.
He has pointed to ‘a series of lies’ he says were told to local media on the north coast.
Forestry Corporation’s regional manager, Craig Busby, told APN Media on Wednesday, ‘NEFA says we should use shovels and rakes and dig deep for evidence of koala scat’.
Last week Mr Busby told ABC North Coast, ‘environmental interest groups were excavating koala scats, so it’s an indication that they were there historically’.
But Mr Pugh says the group has never done this.
‘We search among the leaf litter using our hands for koala scats as is required by the Threatened Species Licence and as is practised by foresters elsewhere. For Mr Busby to claim we have ever suggested that they should use shovels or rakes is completely incorrect.’
He said Mr Busby ‘also made the absurd claim that the 2.5m diameter Brush Box stump I was photographed standing on in Koorelah had only been 4–5m tall, when the head of the tree indicated it had been closer to 40m tall’.
‘Contrary to claims that koala populations are booming as a direct result of logging, the evidence is that their populations are declining in many state forests in northeast NSW.
‘Logging that targets preferred feed trees in the size range 30–80cm diameter has been identified as a significant threat to koalas. These are the very trees being targeted by the loggers. Koalas have survived at Royal Camp despite past logging, not because of it.’