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NCC calls for halt on logging in Great Koala National Park

Map of the proposed Great Koala National Park (white outline). Red is areas Forestry Corporation NSW plans to log in the next 12 months, white polygons are ’koala hubs’ - the most important sites of koala habitat in NSW, and green is state forests that constitutes the GKNP proposal.  

NCC calls for halt on logging in Great Koala National Park

May 23rd 2023

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the state's leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today released analysis showing that 17.7% of state forest that constitutes the Great Koala National Park proposal will be targeted over the next 12 months by Forestry Corporation NSW (Forestry Corp).  

NSW's 12 Month's of Operations Plan Portal shows that Forestry Corporation NSW plans to log 30,813ha (over 17%) of state forest that constitutes the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) proposal. 

NCC has also developed this map in order to help members of the community visualise this plan and highlight the imminent threat koalas are facing.  

Critically, the analysis found that logging is planned in areas the NSW government has identified as the most important areas of koala habitat in NSW (OEH Koala Hubs) including Wild Cattle Creek, Clouds Creek, Pine Creek and Boambee State Forests. 

“The NSW Government committed to protecting koalas by creating the GKNP, but before the assessment process even begins, Forestry Corp plans to log nearly 20% of the park. This absolutely cannot happen if we want koalas in the Great Koala National Park” NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford said today. 

“Forestry Corp knows this national park is coming, and they are deliberately ramping up operations within its boundaries to extract as much timber from it as possible.” 

“The ridiculous thing is that for the last couple of years under the Coalition government taxpayers subsidised FCNSW to the tune of $29 million. The new Labor government has a real opportunity to stop the destruction of koala habitat and sending taxpayers the bill" Mumford continued. 

Analysis by NCC has also found that in the 2021-2022 financial year the hardwood division of Forestry Corporation NSW, which is responsible for the native forest logging, ran at a loss of $9 million. This followed from 20-21 FY where the division ran at a loss of $20 million.  

Logging compartments of native forest that fall within the proposed Great Koala National Park has cost the NSW taxpayer an estimated $5 million ($4,991,823.2) worth of subsidies since 2020. (see below) 

“It seems absurd to have to say it, but the NSW taxpayer should not be paying to kill koalas” 

Statements attributable to NCC Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford 

“The Great Koalas National Park proposal was developed by leading scientists, ecologists and local environmental groups, including the National Parks Association, who identified the most important areas of koala habitat in NSW. All of these areas need to be protected if we are to ensure the survival of koalas in the wild." 

“I call on the NSW government to immediately halt logging in areas that will become the Great Koalas National Park and undertake a thorough and publicly available assessment on the impact of Forestry Corporation NSW's planned logging activities on koala populations.” 

“Forestry Corp operated as a rogue agency under the previous government, and every day we hear new reports of them breaking the law. They have been fined or prosecuted 10 times since 2020 for breaches such as illegally felling protected giant trees, felling trees with hollows, and felling koala feed trees.” 

Victoria and Western Australia are now both ending native forest logging by 2024, while Queensland is stopping logging south of Noosa by next year. NSW is now the laggard in this space, and it's time for the NSW government to step up." 

“This is a watershed moment for the Minns Government. Will you act in line with community expectations and desires and protect koalas or risk their extinction.” 

 

Additional information 

Koala hubs: In 2017, at the request of the Chief Scientist, the Office of Environment and Heritage analysed Koala records "to delineate highly significant local scale areas of koala occupancy currently known for protection", identifying “areas of currently known significant koala occupancy that indicate clusters of resident populations known as Koala Hubs”. The previous government refused to publish the report and allowed the Forestry Corporation to go on logging them, and they still are. 

 

State Forests logged within the GKNP since 2020 
 
FY 2021-2022  
 
Using the annual Sustainability Reports released by FCNSW, analysis shows that there were 160 compartments logged in state forests across the state in 21-22.    
 
This equates to a loss of $56,250 per compartment logged when taking into consideration the $9 million lost over this year. 
 
Coffs Harbour City Council TOTAL= 20 cpts at $1,125,000 

  • Wedding bells (17 cpt) 
  • Conglomerate (3 cpt) 

Clarence Valley Council TOTAL= 8cpts at $450,000 

  • Wild Cattle Creek (4 cpt) 
  • Clouds Creek (3 cpt) 
  • Ellis (1 cpt) 

Nambucca valley council TOTAL= 6 cpts at $337,500 

  • Tamban (6 cpt) 

 

FY 2020-2021  
In the FY 2020-21, the Hardwood Division of Forestry Corporation ran at a loss of $20 million.  
 
There was a total of 104 compartments logged during this period, meaning it lost $192,307.7 per compartment. 
 
Coffs Harbour City Council total= 10cpts at $1,923,077 

  • Conglomerate (2 cpt)  
  • Lower Bucca (4 cpt) 
  • Wedding Bells (2 cpt)  
  • Bagawa (1 cpt) 
  • Orara east (1 cpt) 

Clarence Valley Council total=4cpts at $771,630.8 

  • Wild Cattle Creek (4 cpt) 

Nambucca Valley Council total=2 pts at $384,615.4 

  • Tamban (1 cpt) 
  • Ingalba (1 cpt) 

TOTAL TAXPAYER COST TO LOG FOREST WITHIN THE FUTURE GREAT KOALA NATIONAL PARK -  $4,991,823.2 

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