The Environment Protection Authority has been urged to stop the Forestry Corporation’s ongoing illegal logging operations on private property at Whian Whian, adjacent to Nightcap National Park.
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has requested the EPA’s chief executive officer, Barry Buffier, to immediately impose a stop-work order on the forestry agency.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh says the request comes after the finding on the weekend of eight koala high-use trees, over 60 vulnerable Red Bopple Nuts and 10 vulnerable Arrowhead Vines in the vicinity of a road that the Forestry Corporation intend to construct today, Monday.
‘The Forestry Corporation has show breathtaking contempt for threatened species and the legal requirements of the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice for Northern NSW,’ Mr Pugh said.
‘Because they refused to implement the required prescriptions, they have been logging illegally since we reported records of the Marbled Frogmouth, Sooty Owl and Masked Owl last Wednesday.
‘We have already found roading within what should have been exclusion zones for koalas and now the vulnerable Arrowhead Vine.
‘Their new road is marked to pass through the middle of a grove of more than 30 Red Bopple Nuts and a number of koala high-use trees.
‘The Forestry Corporation’s ongoing refusal to search for koala scats and failure to protect high-use areas is outrageous.
‘The Red Bopple Nut is one of the most easily recognised threatened plant species. It is inconceivable that a trained forester could have missed them, let alone marked a new road through the centre of a grove in full flower without seeing them.
‘The flowers and their strong heavenly scent, along with the huge lobed leaves, are unmistakable.
‘It appears that Forestry Corporation deliberately ignored these species because they refuse to allow threatened species to hinder their logging.
‘This wanton killing of threatened species must be stopped.
‘It is a clear breach of the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice for Northern NSW, and thus the Native Vegetation Act, for the Forestry Corporation to log or road in this area until the required 20-metre exclusion zones are marked around streams for the Marbled Frogmouth, all the koala high-use trees and all the localities of threatened plants.
‘Given the Forestry Corporation’s ongoing refusal to meet their legal obligations, the chief executive officer of the EPA must issue an urgent stop-work order in accordance with Section 37 of the Native Vegetation Act 2003,’ Mr Pugh said.