With no accurate wildlife surveys conducted and koalas fleeing to neighbouring properties following the illegal logging on the property owned by Hewittville Pty Ltd near Limpinwood, representatives of several community organisations met on Monday with Thomas George, MP, at his Lismore offices to discuss the future of logging in native forests.
Environmental scientist Kirsten Cowley of Northern Rivers Guardians said, ‘The Hewittville property forms a large part of an important wildlife corridor which is essential for preservation of native flora and fauna. The government needs to act to preserve this land as a vital link between the many nature reserves and National Parks in the region.’
Of particular interest to Susie Hearder of Limpinwood was the unauthorised damage caused to wildlife habitat adjacent to her property on Boorman’s Road. The local koala population is threatened by road building and logging and some have fled onto her land she said.
‘A resolution at last week’s Tweed Shire Council meeting noted that no accurate wildlife survey has been done on land owned by Hewittville Pty Ltd which is being investigated for a third time because of unauthorised activities,’ said Ms Hearder.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has said that new legislation, including the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, began on 25 August 2017 ‘will help us to achieve better environmental outcomes through an integrated, modernised approach to biodiversity conservation and the management of threatened species.’
However, Scott Sledge, President of Northern Rivers Guardians said that ‘I have learned that Australia has the worst record in the world, second only to Indonesia, in destroying native species. I think it’s about time we turn to plantation forestry for timber harvesting and leave something of the natural world for future generations.
‘This commitment (from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage) is certainly not reflected in the logging of native forests. But the new Act provides funding that can be used to buy key koala habitat.’
Jimmy Malecki , Secretary of the North Coast Environment Council, said that we already have enough plantation timber for our needs via sustainable management, ‘We could… and should… stop logging native forests right now.’
MP Thomas George promised the community members who attended the meeting to arrange a future meeting with the NSW Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton, in mid November. the meeting will be attended by himself and Tweed MP Geoff Provest, plus Tweed Mayor Katie Milne and Tweed Council General Manager Troy Green to find a solution to a problem that has upset a fair portion of regional residents.