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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Environment groups set to boycott forestry consultation

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Government approved logging of rainforest species in koala high-use area at Whian Whian last year brought the issue of forest harvesting into sharp focus. Photo supplied
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The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) and North East Forestry Alliance (NEFA), together with two other NSW conservation groups, are threatening to withdraw from a government consultation process it describes as deeply flawed.

Representatives from the four groups, including the NSW Conservation Council (NCC) and the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) yesterday wrote to environment minister Rob Stokes advising him they were withdrawing from the government’s review of Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs), vital controls that reduce impacts on soil, streams and threatened species during logging operations.

The group says the government had agreed the conservation movement and the industry could appoint scientific experts to work on a draft Coastal IFOA with the Environment Protection Authority and the NSW Forestry Corporation.

But the EPA and NSW Forestry Corporation have been working alone on the draft, and the group says the government has strictly limited the involvement of independent experts until after the agencies have decided what to do.

The environmentalists say the entire process is flawed and they will boycott it if it appears the government is working towards a staged outcome.

NCEC spokesperson Ashley Love said, ‘Unless we perceive a genuine commitment for an open and transparent process aimed at resolving the serious conflict between environment protections and maintaining wood supplies that is at the heart of the IFOA remake, we shall consider withdrawal from the whole remake process.’

NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said, ‘It is essential that prescriptions intended to limit logging impacts on threatened species streams are based on the best available science and are subject to independent peer review rather than being decided in secret backroom political deals.

‘The process has become a farce. It is now up to the government to demonstrate it is genuine about seeking and incorporating our input,’ Mr Pugh added.

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  1. Meanwhile our forests, both public and private continue to get hammered by dodgy logging contractors who have no respect or either the environment or the laws governing their operations. This whole process has been a farce since it’s sorry inception under Bob Carr;s regime. Unless we have a government led and dominated by Greens then NSW will remain a state fueled by corruption and back room deals done by dodgy men in suits in high towers in Sydney.

  2. Treeman is right, We need a Gov’t “By the people, For the People” The antics of the state & federal Gov’ts is deplorable, I’ve been around for a while, But never have I seen ‘the in your face antics of the current parliaments’. They are Arrogant, self serving types who aren’t going to enjoy a long term in office, The Abbott gov’t seems to think that silence is a cure-all & that will be the end of any matter, Not So Tony………………

  3. The Forestry Corporation of NSW, formally Forests NSW, formally Forestry Commission is supposed to be run by public servants to ensure ‘Our Forests are in Safe Hands.’ In the past decade they have been judged by Justice Pepper as having a cavalier attitude towards compliance meant to protect our threatened species. The Office of Environment and Heritage and the EPA are supposed to make sure that the Forestry Corporation complies with these regulations. There is now an inquiry into the EPA regarding it’s handling of the logging of Koala high use areas in Royal Camp. Over the last decade I have read of ongoing breaches and illegal logging by the Forestry Corporation that is run by public servants. Our native forests in NSW are the public assets, not politicians, timber companies or the public servants meant to manage them. I hope we use our vote next time to get the right politicians in. For right now, I reckon we all write in to encourage an inquiry into the antics of the Forestry Corporation and their relationship with the OEH, EPA and timber companies. Just go look at what’s left of our public forests and it will make you sick. They’ve been flogging our forests for far too long and they need to be held to account. Time to get rid of the good ol’ boys managing our forests that seem to have the timber industries interests as a priority, not the native animals and general public who’s asset these really are. If they can’t raise the bar, let’s take it from them like you would discipline any child for doing the wrong thing. They can go log pine plantations for awhile. The ANU study says we have enough plantations online now we don’t even need to log our native forests any longer.


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