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Save our forests and save taxpayers a small fortune

Logging native forests is not only driving species to extinction, the NSW Forestry Corporation’s annual report shows it is also costing taxpayers millions of dollars.  

In 2020-21, the native forestry arm of the NSW Government’s logging company lost $20 million and prospects of it turning a profit any time soon are dim. [1] 

“This result should be good news for our native forests because there is now no rational economic argument for propping up that part of the industry,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“The latest annual report shows NSW taxpayers unwittingly paying to cut down forests the people want protected. [2] It’s not just ecologically and economically unsustainable, it is morally indefensible. 

“If you’ve got the public, the scientists and even the bean-counters telling you to stop cutting down native forests, the government must listen and act. 

“Taxpayer dollars should be used to protect forests, not destroy them. 

“Victoria and Western Australia have announced end dates for native forest logging — NSW must do the same. [3] 

“Ending native forest logging will save species, store carbon, fight climate change and open up huge opportunities for tourism and jobs.  

“Ending native forest logging must be done in ways that are fair to the workers and companies involved.We stand ready to work with all stakeholders — workers, industry and government – to turn the page on native forest logging and look forward to a brighter future.”  

Mr Gambian said the government should not renew the 30 wood supply agreements with timber mills that will expire in 2023 but rather start talks with workers and the industry about transitioning out of native forest logging.  

“The government will have to make a choice in the coming year,” Mr Gambian said. “Will it lock in destructive native forest logging for years to come or will it develop a plan to transition to a sustainable, plantation-based timber industry? 

“We strongly urge the government to end native forest logging and close this sad chapter in the state’s environmental history.” 

The Forestry Corporation Annual Report comes off the back of two other reports that support ending or curtailing logging of native forests, especially after the 2019-20 that severely burned millions of hectares of state forest, national park and private land.  

In late November, Frontier Economics’ report, Comparing the value of alternative uses of native forests in Southern NSW, found there would be a net economic and social benefit of almost $62 million by ending logging in public native forests over the next 30 years compared with keeping the industry going. [4] 

A few days later, a Natural Resources Commission report into post fire logging the government had kept secret for months was leaked to The Guardian. That report called for suspension of timber harvesting in three ‘extreme risk’ zones. [5]  

REFERENCES 

[1] $20m loss: native forest logging last year cost NSW taxpayers $441 per hectare, SMH, 15-3-22 

NSW Forestry Corporation Annual Report, 2020-21 

[2] Bush turns its back on support for logging native forests, 14-11-18, SMH.  

[3] Native forest logging to be phased out by 2030 as Victoria plans timber transition, 7-11-19, The Guardian. Western Australia to ban native forest logging from 2024 in move, 8-8-21, The Guardian. 

[4] Comparing the value of alternative uses of native forests in Southern NSW, 30-11-21, Frontier Economics. 

[5] Extract fromAdvice on Coastal IFOA operations post-2019-20 wildfires, June 2020, NSW Natural Resources Commission.  

Secret document urges native logging halt in NSW regions hit hard by black summer bushfires, The Guardian, 25-11-21 

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