“This Government is destroying the very heart of the Great Koala National Park through continued industrial scale logging,” Greens MP and spokesperson for the Environment said. “Just two weeks ago the Premier said protecting koalas is non-negotiable and here we are listening to the Environment Minister talking about setting up some kind of negotiation process while we are logging critical koala habitat. It’s politically, environmentally and socially untenable and starting to look a lot like political failure. It is disastrous for our poor koalas and the other forest dependent endangered species.
“The native forest logging industry is the present day whaling industry. It is an industry of the past and needs to stop. It’s driving the rapid extinction of our most endangered forest dependent native species and it has lost all social licence. The fact that the Government is continuing to destroy our native forests shows it is out of touch with what is going on the ground. We have members of the community, including First Nations people and Elders and young people all on the front lines willing to put their bodies on the line for the forests and koalas in the hope that their Government will act on their promise to protect them.
“The motion I put forward simply stated facts about what is going on at Newry. NSW Labor moved amendments to remove all acknowledgement of the fact that right now their own Forestry Corporation is destroying the only thing that stands between NSW koalas and extinction. This Government promised a Great Koala National Park. It’s been over four months since they were elected and since then all we have seen is increased logging activity in the areas that are essential to any Great Koala National Park.
The Minister for Agriculture spoke about the timber industry as if it is sustainable, that because the trees grow back everything is fine. It is an absurd proposition and shows that she does not have a proper understanding of the health and condition of the public forest estate. Over 40% of the forests were severely damaged in the 2019/2020 black summer fires, some of them are not recovered. Our public native forest estate can not withstand this industrial scale logging, our forest dependent species are in serious decline and many on the brink of extinction.
“It’s disappointing that Labor has chosen to exacerbate the wars going on in our forests instead of protecting the very area they promised that they would. The community will continue to fight but we are running out of time for koalas.” Ms Higginson said.
We know the future of forestry in NSW is in plantations which returned $94 million to the State. In the same period, logging our public native forests cost the State $28 million. It’s beyond absurd that we are destroying our precious public native forests and our koalas and we are paying to do it. WA and Victoria have now ended native forest logging. Here in NSW we are still logging at industrial scale some of our State’s most important koala habitat.
The Greens introduced the motion, Labor moved amendments, the amendments were passed with support from the Coalition, Shooter Farmers Fishers, One Nation and Legalise Cannabis and voted against by the Greens and Animal Justice Party. The motion as amended was voted for by Labor, the Greens, Animal Justice and Legalise Cannabis and against by the Coalition, One Nation and Shooters Farmers Fishers and passed the House.
For media comment contact Sue Higginson on 0428 227 363