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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Call for immediate ban on logging in the proposed Great Koala National Park 

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Rescued koala. Photo supplied

There will be no more koalas in the wild in NSW by 2050 if we don’t take action to preserve their habitat, according to a NSW state parliamentary inquiry in 2020, but the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) say NSW Labor still isn’t doing enough.

Added to this forest protectors have highighted that the NSW Forestry Corporation (NSW FC) is failling to mark and preserve trees for protection in the areas they are logging and that the NSW FC appear to have earmarked up to 19,000 hectares of forest in the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP) for destruction before April next year. 

The Nature Conservation Council NSW interactive map showing the compartments in FCNSW’s harvest plan is available here. Click layer, ‘logging since 2003′ to view a comprehensive logging history. Image supplied

Interactive map

The Forestry Corporation’s Planning Portal shows the forest compartments on the chopping block before the Great Koala National Park boundaries are finalised. The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the state’s leading environmental advocacy organisation, has released the analysis showing the proposed logging of 19,000 hectares via an interactive map that shows past and planned logging in the proposed park by NSW Forestry Corporatipon.

‘Forestry Corporation have been destroying vast swathes of habitat in the proposed new GKNP, right as it’s being assessed for inclusion,’ Nature Conservation Council NSW Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford said. 

‘The fact is that this is some of the most important intact koala habitat in the state and it should be protected, not put on the chopping block, while decisions are made about the National Park.  

‘It is untenable that so much has been destroyed, and will be destroyed in the coming year, before these areas have been assessed. We don’t want to see one more hectare destroyed in this park. We need to see a moratorium on logging in the proposed park now.’

The new analysis reveals Forestry Corporation is continuing its desperate attempt to take as much timber as possible before the park is protected and are attempting to make park unviable as koala sanctuary, said the press release from the NCC.

 

A wrecking ball to the proposed Great Koala National Park. Photo Bellingen Activist Network.

Koala trees not identified

The call for the moratorium on logging in the proposed GKNP areas has come directly on the heels of the community reporting the NSW Forestry Corporation to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for their failure to identify koala trees legally required to be retained at the Orara East State Forest, near Coffs Harbour in their pre-logging survey. Only 27 per cent of trees required to be retained for koalas were marked for protection.

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said ‘It is disgraceful, although not surprising, that the Forestry Corporation has only protected a quarter of the trees that are required to be protected for koalas – especially in a forest that [NSW] Premier Minns has promised will become a National Park.’

‘This forest is critical koala habitat and the mis-identification of koala trees means that there will be far fewer trees available for this threatened species.

‘This failure by the Forestry Corporation means that the logging in the forest is in breach of the law and will reduce the number of koalas remaining in the Great Koala National Park. It is only thanks to the quick and diligent work of the community that this pre-logging survey has been revealed as unlawful and catastrophic for the koalas. The EPA needs to step up immediately. The planned logging should not be allowed to go on. If this forest is logged over the coming days, then koalas will be killed and the area will see a massive reduction in koala habitat,’ Ms Higginson said.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns. Photo Facebook.

When will Labor fulfill its promise to protect koalas?

‘NSW Labor came to power more than a year ago with a key election promise – to protect koala habitat on the Mid-North Coast of NSW, and we are still yet to see it,’ said Ms Mumford. 

‘Over the past year Forestry Corporation has continued to decimate the forests that are being considered for inclusion in the park. 

‘This area will become a national park and we need to be protecting its values.”

 Last year after sustained community pressure, Environment Minister Penny Sharpe declared a moratorium on logging within ‘Koala Hubs’, effectively protecting five per cent of the proposed park.

‘Leaving 95 per cent of the proposed park vulnerable to logging is simply not good enough to ensure the survival of koalas in the wild. If we don’t stop them, Forestry Corporation will destroy the park before it is protected. This is an area that is home to one in five of the state’s surviving koalas.  

One in five koalas are located in the proposed GKNP Photo Friends of the Koala.

‘With this species on the brink of extinction, we can’t afford another year of destruction of this key koala habitat, otherwise come 2050 we might have a Great Koala National Park without any koalas. 

 It’s long past time for the NSW Government to commit to a moratorium on logging within the proposed boundaries of the Great Koala National Park. The government knows this park is going to happen. Forestry Corporation knows it’s going to happen. Allowing logging to continue is an abandonment of these forests and the reason they were identified as being worthy of protection.

If the government is serious about ensuring koalas exist in the wild beyond 2050 then a moratorium on logging in the proposed Great Koala National Park, where a fifth of the state’s koalas live, is an urgent necessity.’


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15 COMMENTS

  1. I call on the NSW Minns Labor government to order a stop to all logging of the proposed Great Koala National Park immediately.
    This travesty of slowing the declaration process to allow Forest Corp to degrade the area by full speed logging must stop.
    The jobs of forestry workers and contractors can be converted to plantations and forest regeneration. Enough already.

    • If you are relying on this mob to tell you what is actually happening you are being misled on the truth. Community consultation is happening on the koala park and I can tell you all the time wasting is from the Green groups!!! not the timber industry.

      • If the public weren’t being so hideously ‘misled’….. they would rise up and goal all of these bludgers who are raping and pillaging the very core and essence of our continued existence on this planet.
        There isn’t another planet and we don’t get a second chance, meanwhile the fools in ‘forestry’ can’t even grasp this simple truth.
        Cheers, G”)

  2. No mention of the thousands of acres cleared for solar and windmills?, how ironic. Never let the real stories get in the way of a good green dream.

  3. Nicola, really?, you have no idea. The institute of public affairs published the following in 2023. Scenario 4, energy from coal, oil and gas replaced with wind and solar in equal parts by 2050. 15.45% of Australia’s land mass or 32.21% of Australia’s agricultutal land is required to achieve this loonatical plan, the equivelant of the size of South Australia. Nicola, how many thousand acres do you think would need to be cleared?. The lefty green inept’s just don’t get the destruction being thrust upon this nation. Educate youself please.

    • Greegggy, a nice regurge of IPA “scenarios” but zero stating the…”thousands of acres cleared for solar and windmill”…that you claimed.

  4. The IPA or the CSIRO? 🤔

    You do know that solar, wind turbines and animal husbandry seem to coexist quite happily. And wind turbines can go offshore provided politicking doesn’t whip up spurious claims and hysteria about them.

  5. The other knower of all once again deflects from the facts with more spin. Look at the cold hard facts mate, an area the size of South Australia by 2050 is needed to obtain nett zero, you really think that will happen?, well the likes of Casanova Bowen will try very hard to achieve this, however with a bit of luck he and the rest of the inept clowns that currently run this country will be gone after the next federal election. The IPA know all.

  6. “ In the rural north of Victoria, just 20km from the agricultural hub of Shepparton, the Numurkah Solar Farm is a trailblazer in renewable energy…

    Over 515 hectares, merino sheep graze happily amongst photovoltaic solar panels. Those panels feed 255,000 megawatt hours of energy into the grid every year, the equivalent of powering 51,000 homes.

    “ Lisa Stiebel, Head of Communications and Engagement for Neoen Australia, describes it as a win-win solution for both farming and clean energy. The early days of exploring agrisolar pioneered unexpected benefits for both businesses.

    “‘ What we found during early trials on another project in Dubbo was that even during drought conditions, there were green strips of grass that ran in straight lines under the leading edge of the solar panels,’ …

    “‘ It turns out that because the solar panels sleep at an angle overnight, they accumulate the dew moisture which drips down to irrigate the grass beneath. This meant the farmer could continue to have sheep grazing long beyond what would normally have been possible.’

    There are multiple benefits to the solar farm in having sheep grazing; the plant has an obligation to keep vegetation levels low to reduce fire risk. Mowing and pesticide use is no longer required to the same extent.

    A local sheep farmer now works closely with the site supervisor each day to move the flock around the property, keeping grass levels down and the sheep well fed.

    For the sheep farmer, there are other benefits such as the shade provided for sheep on hot summer days underneath the panels improving wool quality, as well as protection from rain and hail in lambing season. The farm also has a security fence around its perimeter, protecting the flock against predators such as foxes.”

    From the Clean Energy Regulator – cer.gov.au

  7. Joachy, guru of all renewable in minority and knower of all, now really, even your great green brain can work out how many acres of land will need to be cleared, levelled, contoured and the like to accommodate renewable monstrosities that will overflow a land mass larger than South Australia, one hundred and eighteen million hectares, you may have the ability to convert that into acres if you didn’t attend a green school. Please don’t try to insult the intelligence of our normal people in this nation, your green spin and outright lies just don’t cut it. The great green dream is slowly being unmasked for the outright farce it is… .. .

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