NSW Forestry was recently fined and had to pay legal costs of $285,600 after illegally logging a Koala High Use Area (KHUA), rainforest and a rainforest buffer in Wild Cattle Creek State Forest in 2018.
The decision by Justice Robson recognised ‘actual harm’ to koalas that removing of feed trees and construction of logging tracks within a KHUA would cause. However, since the EPA laid the charges, and before the ruling of ‘actual harm’, the NSW and Commonwealth governments changed the logging rules in 2018 to remove the need for pre-logging koala surveys and to allow KHUA to be logged.
Disgustingly the laws were changed, after the 2018 illegal logging of KHUA [has since been] reported on by Justice Robson, to remove the need for pre-logging surveys. So it is no longer illegal,’ said North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
‘Enough is enough, logging public forests has to stop. It is reprehensible that in this day and age the Forestry Corporation are still cutting down these massive awe-inspiring trees, the height of ten storey buildings and 300–500 years old, which provide the large hollows that many of our iconic animals depend upon for dens and nests.
‘These trees provide essential homes for the nationally vulnerable yellow-bellied glider and endangered greater glider. It is a tragedy that this was allowed to occur within an area identified as some of the most important koala habitat in Australia.
‘Last year it cost taxpayers $20 million to log public native forests, with an additional $10 million paid in transport subsidies and $60 million in road upgrades for loggers. It is time to stop paying to log public native forests as they are worth far more to the community for habitat, carbon sequestration, tourism, and water,’ Mr Pugh said.