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Byron Shire
June 11, 2023

Call for Labor government to reinstate logging moratorium – now

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Locals have created a ‘watch camp’ at Doubleduke State Forest. Photo supplied

There is no doubt that we need to take action to reduce the impacts of climate change and there are clear ways to move forward on this. One is preserving our native forests, an action that has multiple positive outcomes from carbon capture to helping endangered species survive. Yet our governments and their various bureaucratic arms seem unwilling to move quickly and effectively on this, which has seen frustrated Australian’s taking to the forest canopy, to the courts, and to the media to keep the pressure on for action.

View over Valerie’s boots at the logging taking place in Doubleduke State Forest. Photo supplied

Months of actions across the state forests of NSW have seen logging delayed as court cases progress and activists head to the treetops. And while they are not all successful, with the election of a Labor NSW state government many are holding their breath in hope for swift action. However, North East Forest Alliance’s (NEFA) Dailan Pugh has pointed out that a Minns NSW Labor government has given no commitment to quick and decisive action on behalf of our forests.

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin and NSW Labor leader Chris Minns during his visit to Lismore during the election campaign.

‘Their whole attitude is to go slow,’ Mr Pugh told The Echo.

‘They haven’t agreed to a moratorium on logging areas like Doubleduke and the Bulga State Forests or the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) and they are saying it will be four years before they create the GKNP.’

Logging at Doubleduke State Forest. Photo supplied

Exclusion zones removed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had put in place a number of site-specific conditions, that required various additional measures to reduce impacts, including protection of all hollow-bearing trees and all mapped unburnt and partially burnt areas of Doubleduke State Forest, west of Evans Head, when the NSW Forestry Corporation sought to log Doubleduke State Forest a few months after the Black Summer fires in 2019-20.

‘This effectively required logging to be excluded from a large area of mature and old growth forest in the Lower Slopes Road valley in Doubleduke State Forest,’ explained Mr Pugh.

The EPA protections have expired and the EPA has refused to reinstate those protections.

‘The EPA were advised by their own experts that logging prohibitions on the remaining unburnt and lightly burnt forests within the fire grounds needed to be maintained for at least 20 years. After a year the EPA removed all the post-fire protections, allowing the Forestry Corporation to revert to the pre-fire logging conditions as if nothing had happened.

‘This vital fire refuge in Doubleduke State Forest has now been roaded and is about to be logged,’ said Mr Pugh.

‘The EPA have told us that their 2020 site-specific operating condition that required protection of the Gully of the Giants in Doubleduke as a fire refuge has lapsed and it can only be reinstated by the EPA at the specific request of the Forestry Corporation
of NSW.

Forest protectors at Bulga State Forest. Photo supplied.

EPA required to consider climate change

‘The EPA have a legal obligation to “protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in New South Wales”, yet they decided to remove restrictions on logging in burnt forests, despite the massive impacts resulting in koala and southern greater glider being up-listed to “endangered”.

‘In Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Incorporated v Environment Protection Authority [2021] NSWLEC 92 it was clearly established that the EPA have a duty to consider climate change, yet they have made no attempt to change the logging rules to account for its growing impacts.

‘NEFA considers the EPA’s removal of all additional restrictions on logging of burnt forests a dereliction of duty.’

Great Koala National Park proposal maps of NSW Forestry Corporation planning.


The North East Forest Alliance welcomes the election of the Minns Labor government with their promise to create a Great Koala National Park, and calls for a moratorium on logging within the park proposal until the promised assessment is complete.

‘The Forestry Corporation is targeting the proposed Great Koala National Park in smash and grab operations to extract as much timber as they can, while they can.’

‘They [the NSW Forestry Corporation] have been removing thousands of koala feed trees from one of the best koala strongholds in NSW, compounding the impacts of the 2019–20 wildfires and causing immense damage to endangered koala populations.

‘To avoid compromising the integrity of the Labor government’s assessment process this vandalism needs to stop.

‘We look forward to working constructively with the new government to ensure a comprehensive and robust review of the Great Koala National Park is undertaken,’ Mr Pugh said.

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  1. Many thanks to the wonderful NEFA activists. Keeps up the pressure on all governments. The natural world is the only place of sanity for all species and with Climate Change binding legalities must be upheld in the future.


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