The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) claim that the Berejiklian Government has comprehensively caved into the loggers by introducing legislation that not only removes requirements to protect core Koala habitat from logging and unapproved broads cale clearing, but also doubles the period of logging approvals from 15 to 30 years while stopping Councils from being able to require approval for logging or exclude logging from environmental protection zones.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh says the Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 introduced into parliament on 14 October represents the Liberal Party’s total capitulation to the loggers and developers at the behest of the National Party. ‘While implementation of State Environmental Planning Policy No 44 – Koala Habitat Protection (1995) has been partial and ad-hoc, at least there was a framework intended to provide protection for Koalas on private lands. The revision in 2019 was intended to make it more effective.
‘These proposed changes are clearly intended to make the Koala SEPP ineffective and remove most of the hard won gains made over the past 25 years.
Mr Pugh says this is a despicable act from a Government hell-bent on halving our rapidly diminishing populations of Koalas, not doubling them.
‘Berejiklian is intentionally increasing the extinction risk for NSW’s wild Koalas.
‘While these changes are explicitly targeted at reducing protections for Koalas, they are a major wind back in environmental protections that will allow increased environmental degradation across NSW.
‘If passed the Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 will stop core Koala habitat identified in draft and future council Koala Plans of Management from being included as Sensitive Regulated Land, and thereby require approval for broadscale clearing; allow up to 6,000 ha of core Koala habitat identified as Sensitive Regulated Land in the Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Lismore and Port Stephens LGAs to remain, though remove 900 ha of core Koala habitat identified in the Bellingen LGA, and; create the concept of “allowable activity land”, which is land that at some time has been rezoned from rural zoning to environmental zoning, and permits clearing for ‘allowable activities’ (including buffers) without approval in these E zones (i.e. allowable activities include construction timber, farm forestry, gravel pits, grazing, powerlines, water and gas pipelines, fire breaks, fences, roads, tracks, sheds, tanks, dams, stockyards, bores, pumps, water points or windmills).’
Mr Pugh says the Bill will also prevent local environment plans from requiring development consent for Private Native Forestry (PNF) and double the duration allowed for PNF plans from 15 years to 30 years.