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WA leads the way – NSW needs a plan to end native forest logging

The NSW Government should follow the lead of Western Australia and set a date for an end to native forest logging in this state. 

“Native forest logging has had its day. Our native forests are worth more standing because they store huge amounts of carbon and support an incredible diversity of wildlife,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian. 

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced native forest logging will cease in his state in 2023 and switch to 100% softwood plantation timber over the next 10 years.  

The package includes $50 million for a Just Transition Plan to support workers and companies making the move. 

NSW now also lags behind South Australia, which has 100% plantation-based timber production, and Victoria, which in 2019 announced a $120m transition plan to end native forest logging by 2030. 

“The choice for the people of NSW is simple: are we better off with our magnificent forests still standing in the ground, providing clean air for us and precious habitat for native animals, or ripped up and loaded onto a ship to Japan to be turned into toilet paper or burned for electricity?” Mr Gambian said. 

“The native forest division of the NSW Forestry Corporation has been running at a loss for years and is a burden on taxpayers. 

“It is propped up by government subsidies funded by taxpayers who overwhelmingly want koalas and their forests protected for future generations. 

“The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires just made a bad situation worse. A report commissioned by Forestry Corporation found the fires destroyed up to 30% of the quality timber in some regions. 

“It is very clear now that logging in the state’s native forests is financially unviable and ecological unsustainable. 

“The NSW Government needs to outline its plan to transition out of native forest logging to a sustainable plantation based industry.”  

References 

[1] Logging of native forests to be banned in WA from the end of 2023, The Western Australian, 8-9-21  

[2] 2019–20 Wildfires, NSW Coastal Hardwood Forests Sustainable Yield Review, NSW Forestry Corporation, December 2020.  See also NSW urged to stop logging native forests after fires wipe out up to 30% of timber supply, The Guardian, 30-3-21 

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