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February 29, 2024

Parliamentary debate on logging forced by petition’s 21,000 signatures

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Sue Higgins MLC says we need to change our perception of native forests. Photo supplied.

Yesterday in Sydney the public gallery in the NSW lower house of parliament was packed with citizens hoping to hear their representatives support the community’s calls for an end to the logging of our public native forests.

The debate was forced by the success of a petition with over 21,000 signatures that calls for a rapid transition out of logging our native forests.

Tens of thousands of people

Greens spokesperson for the environment and agriculture Sue Higginson MLC said that tens of thousands of people from across the state have come together to call for an end to public native forest logging. ‘The time has come and the case has been made that our public forests are worth more to us standing.

‘The government has made no plans to transition out of this destructive industry and into sustainable plantations in the full knowledge that communities and workers will be left behind by their policies.’

Ms Higginson said that much public native forest estate has been impacted by drought, fires and floods. ‘We need to change our perception of native forests to recognise them as a vitally important line of defence against both the climate and the extinction crisis, but this senseless government is determined to destroy them.

The petition

The parliamentary petition calls on the NSW parliament to:

  1. Transition NSW’s native forestry industry towards sustainable plantations by 2024.
  1. Immediately place a moratorium on public native forest logging until the regulatory framework is introduced.
  1. Urgently protect high-conservation value forests through gazettal in the National Parks estate.
  1. And ban biomass fuel, made from native forest timber.

‘The response to the petition from the Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders was bitterly disappointing. Tens of thousands of people are calling for our forests to be protected and the minister has completely dismissed what’s best for communities and the environment,’ said Ms Higginson.

North East Forests campaigner Sean O’Shannessy. Photo supplied.

A remarkable degree of common ground

North East Forests campaigner Sean O’Shannessy who watched from the public gallery said the debate revealed a remarkable degree of common ground across the chamber with supportive comments from Liberal, ALP, Greens and Independent representatives. ‘The only substantial dispute with the petition came from the National Party – Minister Dugald Saunders denied that there was logging in State Forests.

‘Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis heckled his Liberal Party colleague Shelly Hancock as she introduced and spoke for the petition on behalf of her constituents.’

Mr O’Shannessy said the is a rapidly dawning realisation among all rational participants in the public discussion of the future management of native forests, that logging is not going have a place there.

‘Sustainable plantations will supply our timber needs and our forests will be protected in properly managed reserves. We can not afford to keep subsidising the destruction of our carbon sinks, water catchments and koalas homes,’ said Mr O’Shannessy.

The Government’s idea of ‘sustainable’

Ms Higginson said that the Government claims that sustainable native forest management includes cutting down critical habitat for threatened species, including koala habitat, clear felling areas of our forests and cutting down hollow-bearing trees which are essential for the survival of forest-dependent threatened species like gliders, owls and bats.

‘Bizarrely, the Government claims that cutting down our forests is good for the climate crisis in complete contradiction to scientific consensus. Old trees sequester more carbon than young trees, which on its own should be enough for us to be doing everything we can to protect them.

‘The end of public native forest logging is inevitable and we are so close to finally seeing the transition out of this industrial scale destruction.

‘Parliament could do this tomorrow if the government would stop blocking this important reform and develop a plan that delivers economic security for communities and protects our precious forests,’ said Ms Higginson.

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  1. QUOTE; ‘Old trees sequester more carbon than young trees, which on its own should be enough for us to be doing everything we can to protect them.’ [MLC by default MP Higginson’.]
    I think you should check your “we follow the science facts’ Sue !

  2. “National Party – Minister Dugald Saunders denied that there was logging in State Forests.” ! ! ?
    Do you think he was born that way , or is he a self-made idiot ?
    I mean to say, nobody expects any sort of intellectual rigour from Barnaby and his cronies, but it does make me mourn the fate of this once promising and optimistic nation, where now when parliament is presented with such a no-brainer , for a country with the greatest rate of extinctions in the World, to dismiss any attempt at meaningful halt to this senseless slaughter all in the name of paper-pulp production, and then issue lies worthy of the insanity of Trump.
    Where is the revolution ? G”)

  3. Question: under the green extremists’ plan, while the community waits for these new plantations to grow, what do they want us to use for construction materials for the next 50 years?

    1.Minerals – mined, processed and turned into construction materials with fossil fuels (exacerbating climate change, the biggest threat to our forests); and
    2. Timber from weed (pine) plantations with very little habitat value, and from tropical rainforests in other countries.

    It is a shame these fools want to do more of these two things, rather than advocate that our forests be used sustainably

    • Question, Shane: under the “green Extremist’s plan “, or any other plan it requires forward planning, of at least 50 years to establish plantation timber, so THE question is if there was ever any intention ( or possibility ) to manage these forests sustainably where are these 50 year old forestry plantations ?
      That’s right Shane there isn’t any intention to sustainably manage anything. These fools couldn’t organise a beer in a brewery and that is exactly why we must shut down this wholesale rape and pillage of the communities asset, by these environmental vandals.
      Cheers, G”)

    • Shane,

      You are banging out a heap of furphies straight from the #koalakillers’ prayerbook ol mate.

      Not sure where you have been in recent decades, or what alternative reality you have been occupying, but the reality is that almost all building materials in NSW (and Australia more broadly) are made from those “weed (pine) plantations” – worth going on a fact-finding mish to Bunnings, ey?? Satisfyingly this softwood plantation outfit all makes a profit for NSW taxpayers (unlike the massive economic losses generated from the industrial logging of public native forests – measured in millions to tens of millions of $$ p.a).

      We most definitely do not need to be using building materials that:
      1. result in the extinction of our globally significant forest fauna and exacerbate the extinction crisis;
      2. deprive us of water security;
      3. exacerbate the climate crisis;
      4. make future bushfires much more dangerous;
      5. turn healthy and biodiverse native forests into weed infested collapsed ecosystems.

      The era of industrial logging of the public native forest estate is almost over. The sooner this happens the better off we all are. May we hasten the arrival of this inevitable eventuality.

      OUR forests are our future – destroying them with industrial logging harms us all..


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