18.5 C
Byron Shire
May 27, 2024

Time to choose – protection or extinction for koalas?

Latest News

Nearly 700 new EV stations for NSW

Nearly 700 new public kerbside electric vehicle charging stations are to be installed across NSW, in what the government says is the largest rollout in the country.

Other News

Coronial inquest becomes a matter for the DPP

The coronial inquest examining the death of Jarrad Antonovich was abruptly concluded late last week, as the case against the key figure involved was referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions by Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan.

Final kambo witnesses called, inquest yet to hear from Lore Solaris and Cameron Kite

The Jarrad Antonovich inquest ground inexorably towards its conclusion yesterday, with more evidence from witnesses showing the tragedy could possibly have been avoided, and certainly the ongoing damage lessened, if everyone involved had taken responsibility earlier.

Cartoon of the week – 22 May, 2024

The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

Shh – it’s Secret Bridesmaid’s Business

It is the very eve of Meg’s wedding – her mother is fussing over every detail and her best friends are doing little to help. The wedding is the gala event that Meg has dreamed of since she was a girl and one that has taken far too long to come true. But, anything that can go wrong does until the veil is lifted on an unhappy secret, and Meg’s dream is rocked by a revelation she doesn’t want to be true.

Danny’s world

John Scrivener, yet again, in his latest incredibly biased anti-Israel letter in last week’s paper shows us nothing new....

New community meeting room in Lismore

A new community meeting room, free for non-profit organisations and community groups to hire, has been launched at the Lismore Library.

This koala didn’t survive the Black Summer fire in Ellangowan State Forest.

Aslan Shand

While the National Party demands that no effective legislation is brought in to protect koalas and their habitat there is a significant risk that both State and Commonwealth legal obligations will be contravened if post fire logging continues under existing agreements.

This follows advice to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) from Dr Andrew Smith identifying that the ‘primary effect of fire and past logging was to restrict fauna populations to a series of small, fragmented and isolated patches of unburnt or lightly burnt forest, referred to as fire refuges, scattered throughout the severely burnt forest’.

North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is calling for urgent surveys to identify and protect areas where koalas and other vulnerable species have survived the fires given the EPA’s advice that logging of fire refugia could cause catastrophic population declines in species such as the koala, greater glider and yellow-bellied glider.

The expert advice obtained by the EPA from Dr Andrew Smith warns that the combined impacts of logging and burning will be devastating on wildlife and contravene State and Commonwealth legal obligations unless there is immediate protection of fire refugia and a reduction in logging intensity, according to NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

‘While the National Party are demanding that the impacts of the fires on wildlife and timber resources be ignored to continue logging public forests as usual, it is a welcome change to see the EPA standing up for wildlife against their bully-boy tactics,’ Mr Pugh said.

Photo NCEC

Nationals not representing farmers

Independent NSW MLC Justin Field has also slammed the posturing of Deputy Premier John Barilaro and his National Party colleagues over the Koala SEPP following the release of correspondence from Nationals MPs to key government ministers that showed only a handful of letters and emails were received about the issue, with the most significant number of correspondence on behalf of logging interests.

The documents make clear that the few representations that were made were overwhelming from logging and timber industry interests and property developers.

‘The Nationals’ public arguments that this Koala SEPP will stop farmers farming seems to be cover for the lobbying they have been doing on behalf of the private logging industry and property developers,’ said Mr Fields.

‘These documents show how selective John Barilaro and the National Party are when “speaking for the bush”. They threatened to blow up the Coalition over a policy that mostly property developers and the timber industry were interested in.

‘It’s totally appropriate that we have clear rules that protect critical Koala habitat  from property development and logging on private land. The public should be deeply concerned that the National Party’s threats to bring down the government were largely about protecting the right to log koala habitat,’ Mr Field said.

The warning from Dr Smith identifies that ‘’Fauna populations surviving in fire refuges in state forests are at risk of elimination by timber harvesting under the normal Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (CIFOA) which could prevent recovery, and cause catastrophic population decline in species such as the Koala, Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider’.

Protecting what’s left essential

‘As scientists have been saying since the unprecedented extent and intensity of the fires became evident, the highest priority is to identify and protect these fire refuges,’ Mr Pugh said.

‘It is going to take a long time for some species to recover from the fires, with Dr Smith identifying recovery times around 10 years for the Hastings River Mouse, up to 45 years for the Koala and 20–120 years for the Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider.

‘It is reprehensible that the Forestry Corporation are pretending that this crisis is all over and demanding a return to business as usual as if the fires never happened,’ he said.

‘It is clear that, even with the temporary additional measures agreed between the EPA and Forestry Corporation to manage logging impacts in burnt landscapes, that the rules do not meet legal requirements.’

Dr Andrew Smith has said that the standard logging rules ‘will not deliver ecologically sustainable management as required under the objectives of the Forestry Act 2012 and is likely to cause a significant impact under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999’.

Dr Smith also considers that extra Site-specific Operating Conditions (SSOCs) developed by the EPA and Forestry Corporation to manage logging impacts in burnt landscapes ‘will have little or no benefit’ because of their temporary nature.

‘We have the extraordinary situation whereby the National Party are demanding that there be no meaningful protection for koalas on private lands, on the grounds that they should be protected on public land, yet on State Forests they have removed the need to look for koalas before they log to identify and protect core koala habitat,’ Mr Pugh said.

‘Now despite the loss of 44–100 per cent of koalas from burnt forests the National Party are insisting on maintaining logging volumes irrespective of the devastating impacts on native species.

‘It is not just koalas, there has been a massive loss of timber resources from these fires. Timber commitments need to be immediately reduced to take the pressure off surviving wildlife for the remaining three years of the Wood Supply Agreements.

‘While the government uses inflated and vague job claims to justify logging, the industry itself identifies that there are just 566 direct jobs in north-east NSW dependent on the unsustainable logging of public native forests.

‘To put this into perspective, over the ten years 2006–16 the NSW timber industry shed 7,396 jobs due to over-logging and restructuring. If we want to save our wildlife, we need to complete the restructure of the industry into plantations as soon as possible,’ Mr Pugh said.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. It must be obvious to any casual observer , that it is impossible to “deliver ecologically sustainable management ” as this was rendered impossible when there was over-allocation of timber resources to timber mills in the 1980’s. Since then, NSW forestry has been a game of ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ and lying on an industrial scale.
    I have studied with these people and Environmental Protection Laws are considered to be something to be ignored, while maintaining ‘plausible deniability’ in much the same fashion as the Murray/Darling water allocation regulations or the Great Barrier Reef protection measures.
    The Government and Industry have NO intention of conserving anything. If you believe in leaving something for your children you must act now ! It is up to YOU.

  2. It is not acceptable that Forestry Corp is allowed to continue “Business as Usual”. The Knitting Nannas will be out on the street in Casino soon to remind Forestry Corp that its not OK to keep logging the best patches of our burnt out forests.

  3. Said it before but I must say it again, Dailan you are one amazing man THANK YOU for all your valiant efforts for our endangered Koalas. Have to say Kate Faerhmann (Greens) is a wonderful woman as well and made us all proud of her professional & compassionate statements during & since the State Govt Koala Hearings.IT IS OUTRAGEOUS & DAMN GALLING THAT THE NATS MISLEAD (LIED) ABOUT WHAT THE SEPP REGULATIONS ACTUALLY REQUIRED & MANDATED. Tragically but not surprisingly, the Nationals were much more concerned about protecting their mates ,who were only interested in logging the guts out of core remnant Koala habitat & permitting large scale development on farmers ‘private land’. Mind you many farmers in the Northern Rivers want to see Koala habitat protected, but obviously they are NOT represented by the Nats or the Farmers Federation..ROUTINE LOGGING & LAND CLEARING IS APPARENTLY STILL PERMITTED UNDER THE SEPP REGULATIONS , WHICH IS MIND BLOWING AND UNACCEPTABLE. Unfortunately much of the uninformed general public will be fooled by recent media reports.We must NEVER trust the LNP , simple as that.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

New community meeting room in Lismore

A new community meeting room, free for non-profit organisations and community groups to hire, has been launched at the Lismore Library.

New doco explores ‘God molecule’ found in toads

Are you ready to explore the secrets of the universe through the use of the most powerful psychedelic known to humankind?

Knitting Nannas off to Canberra

The prolific anti-fossil fuel campaigners are to meet with Federal Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen to raise concerns over Labor’s Future Gas Strategy.

Dutton doubles down on nuclear

Despite clear evidence that the Coalition's nuclear power policy is untenable, Peter Dutton and friends are sticking with this industrial-level distraction, forcing us all to talk about it instead of focusing on real solutions to Australia's energy needs.