Below is a media release in response to attempts by north coast loggers to open up over a million hectares of national parks and other reserves for logging. They are also trying to get environmental constraints on logging removed or minimised. The real concern is that the NSW Government appears intent on implementing these requests. In a secretive process they are currently assessing the timber resources in some national parks and revising conservation prescriptions to make more timber available, though with significantly increased environmental harm. If you don’t want to loose our hard one national parks and minimal constraints on logging then it is time to convince north coast MPs to stop it happening.
MEDIA RELEASE 2 December 2012
Conservation Groups are calling on the Government to categorically reject proposals being promoted by timber companies to open up over a million hectares of north-east NSWs national parks for logging.
North East Forest Alliance spokesperson Dailan Pugh said that the timber industry has been deliberately logging well in excess of the identified sustainable yield for the past 14 years and now that they have almost used up the large sawlog resource on state forests they want to log our national parks.
“In response to a question from the Chair of the Public Land Use Inquiry as to what areas of north coast reserves they wanted for logging, Russell Ainley, Executive Director, NSW Forest Products Association, identified “a little more than one million hectares”.
The Forest Products Association represents sawmillers logging public lands in north-east NSW, except Boral.
“In their submission to the Inquiry the Forests Products Association identified 43 national parks and other conservation reserves in north east NSW for initial revocation, stating that they also want whatever other reserves are necessary to maintain current yields in the long term.
“The national parks proposed for revocation by the FPA include forests identified as qualifying for World Heritage Listing, areas of core Koala habitat, and irreplaceable stands of oldgrowth forest, such as those at Chaelundi described by Justice Stein as ‘a veritable forest dependent zoo, probably unparalleled in south-eastern Australia’.
“The FPA are also seeking initial removal of protection over 20,000 hectares of oldgrowth forest on State Forest, though are after much more than this in the future. They are also asking for major windbacks in environment prescriptions so that they can log heavier than current rules allow”, Mr. Pugh said.
North Coast Environment Council President Susie Russell said “We are concerned that the NSW Government is currently undertaking a review of timber yields which is assessing yields available from some national parks, and a review of environment prescriptions aimed at reducing environmental prescriptions to get more timber.
“While the marine reviews were open scientific processes, the forest reviews are claimed to be “Cabinet in Confidence” and are being undertaken secretly by bureaucrats.
“Given the opening up of national parks for shooting and grazing, making them available for logging seems to be next.
“We are asking people to contact north coast State members to ask them to intervene and stop national parks being revoked or logged”, Ms Russell said,
Reserves explicitly identified by Forests Products Association for revocation:
Black Bulga State Conservation Area, Bongil Bongil National Park (part), Bungawalbin State Conservation Area (part), Butterleaf State Conservation Area, Chaelundi National Park (part), Chaelundi State Conservation Area (part), Columbey National Park, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area, Dorrigo National Park (part), Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park (part), Gir-um-bit National Park, Gir-um-bit State Conservation Area, Goonengerry National Park, Gumbaynggirr State Conservation Area, Guy Fawkes River National Park (part), Hunter Estuary National Park, Jilliby State Conservation Area, Karuah National Park, Karuah Nature Reserve (part), Lake Innes State Conservation Area, Lake Macquarie State Conservation Area (part), Mebbin National Park (part), Medowie Nature Reserve, Medowie State Conservation Area (part), Myall Lakes National Park (part), Nightcap National Park (part), Nowendoc National Park (part), Nymboi-Binderay National Park (part), Sugarloaf State Conservation Area, Queens Lake Nature Reserve (part), Queens Lake State Conservation Area, Sherwood Nature Reserve (part), Sugarloaf State Conservation Area, Tilligerry National Park, Tilligerry Nature Reserve (part), Tilligerry State Conservation Area, Tomaree National Park (part), Tuggalo Creek Nature Reserve, Watagans National Park, Werakata State Conservation Area, Whian Whian State Conservation Area, Wollumbin National Park, Wollumbin State Conservation Area.
Evidence of RUSSELL ALAN AINLEY, Executive Director, NSW Forest Products Association, FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2012 Public Land Use Inquiry, pp51-61
CHAIR: … Would you be able to answer now or provide on notice your industry’s idea as to how much area of land, giving the conversion rates, would need to be returned and made available for harvesting in order to meet the contractual obligations and the forecast timber delivery in those RFAs?
Mr AINLEY: … At a guess, I would suggest that we would need a little more than one million hectares to be returned. However, it depends on which hectares, where they are and how the regulations may affect them. There are some fairly clear avenues that we might claim back if given the opportunity. One of those is the plantations that have gone into reserve on the basis that they are old growth.
Inquiry into the Management of Public Land in NSW, Submission by the NSW Forest Products Association, 2012
To address these issues there are a number of options available to restore the balance and meet the timber supply commitments of Forest Agreements:
- Return to forest management those reservations that were created in unassessed legislation:
- NATIONAL PARK ESTATE (RESERVATIONS) ACT 2003 No 24
- NATIONAL PARK ESTATE (LOWER HUNTER REGION RESERVATIONS) ACT 2006 No 90
- Return to forest management those areas of plantation and adjacent regrowth forests that were reserved, specifically:
- Whian Whian,
- Queens Lake
- Myall River and
- Return to forest production those areas of forest that were purchased by NSW specifically for the purpose of timber production.
- Return to forest management those areas of regrowth forests necessary to substantiate legislated forest yields and maintain those yields as sustainable in the long term (including North Coast, Eden and Brigalow)
- Return to forest management the Red Gum forests to be managed as multiple use forests under a single administration for conservation values, for sustainable timber production and for Aboriginal community welfare. That will require a reassessment by a new independent authority (not the NRC again).
- Amend Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals to ensure at least 70% of harvesting areas are accessible for timber production. A description of IFOAs and recommendations for amendment are included as attachment 1.
- Acquire failed MIS plantation schemes and manage for sawlog production.
- Maintain plantation establishment at 5,000 ha per year for at least 10 years.
- Maintain plantation re-establishment as routine practice.
Opportunities to better manage conservation reserves are recognised as follows:
- Manage reserves to ensure maintenance of conservation values. Secure services of Forests NSW to conduct operations and ensure orderly marketing of products from those management activities.
- Manage Endangered Ecological communities to ensure their long term existence, that is manage to sustain healthy growth, thin, harvest and ensure regeneration.
NOTE: The NATIONAL PARK ESTATE (RESERVATIONS) ACT 2003 No 24 reserved some 42,522 hectares as 1 new national park, 7 additions to existing national parks, 2 additions to nature reserves, 9 new State Conservation Areas, and 2 extensions to existing State Conservation Areas. This included the assessed Wold Heritage areas of Whian Whian State Conservation Area, Wollumbin National Park and Wollumbin State Conservation Area. It also included in reserves the controversial oldgrowth forests at Chaelundi and Sherwood, and identified for protection some 20,000 ha of oldgrowth forest in Special Management Zones. These are some of the many north coast icons that the loggers want.