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NSW Government must bring Forests NSW to heel

The NSW Government must order NSW Forestry Corporation to abide by post-fire logging rules established by the Environment Protection Authority, then put the corporation under direct government control to ensure forests are managed for the public good.

The Guardian has reported Forestry Corporation will resume logging in bushfire-affected forests despite warnings from the environmental regulator.  [1]

The dispute between the state-owned forestry agency and the EPA has escalated after Forestry Corporation indicated it would not operate under rules set to protect forests on the state’s south coast after the 2019-20 summer fires.

“NSW Forestry Corporation is a rogue organisation that continues to flout environmental laws and trash our public forests,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.

“Forestry Corp keeps being pinged for environmental breeches and refuses to accept the rules the EPA has put in place to protect wildlife, forests, soils and water resources.

“Enough is enough. It’s time the government yanked the corporation’s chain and brought it to heel.

“The NSW Government must take back control of the state’s public forests to ensure they are managed for the benefit of all citizens, not just a handful of large resource companies.

“Giving our forests to a state-owned corporation to manage is a failed experiment that has cost taxpayers millions and degraded a priceless community asset.”

Last year the Environment Protection Authority investigated Forestry Corporation for serious breaches of environmental laws and issued stop-work orders. Instances include:

  • Felling protected giant trees in Wild Cattle Creek SF (ABCEPA release).

  • Damaging four giant 'hollow-bearing trees' and six marked small tallowwood koala feed trees in Wild Cattle Creek SF (North East Forest Alliance Audit).

  • Felling dozens of protected hollow-bearing trees in South Brooman SF (Beagle WeeklyEPA release).

  • Felling protected hollow-bearing trees in Mogo SF (Beagle Weekly).

  • Choosing the most heavily burnt forests to meet retention requirements of wildlife habitat clumps in Myrtle SF (against the protocol which states that priority must be to establish wildlife habitat clumps in unburned areas, North East Forests Alliance Audit).

It was revealed last month that the corporation’s revenue is set to decline $100 million or 25 per cent from next financial year and there would be losses of about $15 million a year from 2022 to 2024. [2]

 

REFERENCES 

[1] Logging to resume in bushfire-affected forests on NSW south coast despite environmental warning, The Guardian, 18-2-21

[2] Forestry Corp facing massive revenue drop after record bushfire season, SMH, 22-1-2021 

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