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April 22, 2024

Nationals are an environmental disaster

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I agree with the National’s Kris Beavis that ‘nothing is more important than protecting our environment’, though he needs to realise that it is not just about recycling waste while he trashes the environment. The National Party’s record speaks for itself.

In June 2012 the Nationals voted to allow recreational shooting in all national parks and nature reserves (outside World Heritage) on the north coast at the discretion of the environment minister.

In September 2012 the Nationals stopped north coast councils from including environmental protection zones in their Local Environmental Plans, supposedly for six months while a review was undertaken.

Because the review supported environmental zones, two and a half years later we are still waiting to see if the Nationals will allow north coast councils to protect rainforest, old-growth forest, endangered ecological communities, core koala habitat and other high conservation value lands. Don’t count on it.

In March 2013 the Nationals allowed shore-based fishing in Cape Byron Marine Park’s sanctuary zones. Again this was supposedly for only six months while a review was undertaken, yet it took them until last Christmas to act, and after causing significant damage they only restored protection to 58 per cent of our sanctuaries.

In July 2013 the north coast Nationals claimed credit for changing the law to allow trees from native forests to be burnt to generate electricity, which has the potential to be disastrous for forests throughout NSW.

Then there is the Nationals’ refusal to intervene to stop koala habitat from being cleared for development at West Byron and for the highway south of Ballina, while near Casino they refused to stop ongoing logging of core koala habitat on public land.

The Nationals are an environmental disaster. I fear what they have planned for us after the election. If you agree with Kris that ‘nothing is more important than protecting our environment’ then put the Nationals last when you vote.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay

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