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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

NSW Legislative Council expresses concerns over push to burn native forests for power

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Yesterday was International Day of Action on Big Biomass. Photo supplied.

Yesterday the NSW Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion expressing its concerns over the growing push by industry to burn NSW native forests for electricity and hydrogen production.

The motion, moved by Independent NSW MP Justin Field, notes ‘increasing efforts’ to open up NSW native forests for energy production. It asserts the House’s support for ‘the use of genuinely renewable and sustainable biomass’ but raises ‘concerns about the potential impact on New South Wales native forests of expanding access to native forest biomaterials for the biomass to energy sector.’

Support for the motion came on the International Day of Action on Big Biomass which has seen activists from Forest Defence NSW (see attached image) unfurl a banner at the Redbank Power Station near Singleton reading ‘Dead Koala Energy’. Power station owner Verdant Earth Technologies is currently fighting in the Land and Environment Court to burn around one million tonnes per year of native forests for electricity and hydrogen production.

MLC Justin Field. Photo Tree Faerie.

Unanimously-passed motion

Mr Field said of the unanimously-passed motion: ‘Native forest biomass is not renewable energy and is not ‘green’ and I welcome the bipartisan support within the Parliament raising concerns about industries plans to burn and gassify native forests for energy.

‘This is a warning signal to timber industry spruikers including those within the NSW Department of Primary Industries who are attempting to exploit the burgeoning hydrogen industry to create a new market for native forest wood chips. The Parliament is watching closely.’

The Legislative Council action follows a NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning inquiry into the “Sustainability of energy supply and resources in New South Wales” which found in its bi-partisan August 2021 report that native forest biomass is not a renewable energy source.

Corporate players and lobbyists

In a separate speech to the Legislative Council earlier this week Mr Field exposed the corporate players and lobbyists trying to take advantage of the hydrogen hype in NSW by burning and gassifying native forests including ‘Verdant Earth Technologies’ and ‘Sweetman Renewables’.

‘The people of NSW do not want our precious native forests to be thrown in the furnace. NSW Parliament doesn’t either. It’s time for the Perrotet Government and Energy Minister and Treasurer Matt Kean to remove the legislative loopholes which continue to allow native forests to be burned for energy,’ Mr Field said.

The International Day of Action on #BigBadBiomass aims to raise global awareness about the importance of protecting forests as carbon storage, and to highlight the risks to native forests around the globe from the biomass industry, including their burning for electricity or for other energy production.

Text of the Motion that passed the Legislative Council 

(1) That this House notes 21 October 2021 is the International Day of Action on Big Biomass which aims to raise global awareness about the importance of protecting forests as action on climate change and to highlight the risks to native forests around the globe from the biomass industry including their burning for electricity or for other energy production.

(2) That this House notes increasing efforts to open up the biomass to energy sector in New South Wales to burn native forest biomaterial for electricity production or use gasification technology to produce hydrogen.

(3) That this House notes that the recent bi-partisan report of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning found in its August 2021 report “Sustainability of energy supply and resources in New South Wales” that native forest biomass is not a renewable energy source.

(4) That this House supports the use of genuinely renewable and sustainable biomass from plantations and agricultural wastes for energy production in New South Wales but expresses its concerns about the potential impact on New South Wales native forests of expanding access to native forest biomaterials for the biomass to energy sector.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Concerns are all very well and good. When will this evil practice be outlawed and the practitioners be gaoled ?
    The very idea of destroying forests , THE most effective solution to global atmospheric pollution, is perverse, and then this government allows this to be used in carbon abatement figures and even pay carbon credits to these twisted individuals and industries.
    Cheers, G”)

  2. Is this insanity. How can it be beneficial to any thing other than a few peoples bank balance to burn native forests for electricity.

  3. Exactly, Mark. Any guilty thumb sucking Corporate Players deserve a ‘lock-up’ of 5 years
    & then some. Evil practice 10 fold.

  4. baffling that they can call it sustainable!

    1.2 million tonnes pa for 20 years will seriously clean out vast tracts of NSW forest, not to mention the future sawlogs disappearing overseas and into hunter valley furnaces, all going up in smoke. utterly disgraceful.

  5. The last Premier and her side kicks got together and decided amongst themselves that a tree was no longer a biological entity but was a resource. Just in the same vein as coal, gas, iron ore and minerals. They then decided what tree was a food source and eliminated what trees was food for Koalas and what was not. Due to pillow talk she was exposed and became fodder for IICAC and a boyfriend who interests were malicious, peditairy and self seeking. Eliminating the food source meant more trees were identified and the shopping list of the forestry industry expanded. Now identities under the guise of commercial viability now wants a large carbon footprint to create a bigger one to burn trees for profit. Forgetting biology, chemistry, physics and environment stability to make a buck. So every Friday evening they can retire for brandy and cigars to celebrate the brain storm that made profits that nobody considered before. Being clever might get results but is short sighted and delegated to history. Sun, wind, water, biometric pressure, atmosphere and gravity are eternal and free. Children are told environmental factors are everything. As they get older education is king. Along further job identification and pursuits necessary. Marriage, mortgage and family is one’s destiny. All else speculation.

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