NSW Greens introduce amendments to the Government’s National Park Estate (Reservations) Bill 2018

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, second from right, with community members in Nambucca Heads last weekend
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, second from right, with community members in Nambucca Heads last weekend

The Greens introduced amendments yesterday (Wednesday) to the Government’s National Park Estate (Reservations) Bill 2018 to add 176,680 hectares from 45 State Forests (excluding areas of existing plantations) to 49 existing National Parks and State Conservation Areas near Coffs Harbour.

The move followed reports that a plan to reserve up to 75,000 hectares of State Forests with high conservation values as National Parks was sidelined by the NSW Government.

Greens MP and Environment spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann said koala populations had halved on NSW’s North Coast in the last twenty years and the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) near Coffs Harbour would both ensure the survival of one of the state’s most important koala populations and be an important tourist drawcard for the region.

“Faced with climate change and unprecedented losses of global biodiversity, we should be embracing an ambitious and visionary plan to expand our National Parks,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“That is why the Greens are moving amendments in parliament today to add over 175,000 hectares of state forests to the National Parks estate to create a Great Koala National Park on the mid-north coast.”

Ms Faehrmann was in Nambucca Heads on the weekend and said she felt inspired meeting activists and Greens members from across the mid-north coast in Nambucca to discuss policies and campaigns for a vibrant and sustainable region.

Retired Greens candidate, Carol Vernon is now part of the Working Group on a Greens New South Wales Forests Policy in the lead up to NSW elections in March next year.

“Saturday was an excellent day. Cate has returned in fine form and between Cate and Dawn Walker (Greens MLC) the forest, logging, biodiversity, koala, water issues associated with poor practice couldn’t be in better hands,” Carol said.

Paula Flack, president of Nambucca Valley Conservation Association agrees with Ms Faehrmann that the GKNP is a big idea with a big future in tourism.

“It will create many new job and business opportunities while injecting many millions of dollars into out local economies,” Paula said.

“It’s creation would put an end to the heavily subsidised destruction of coastal public native forest and see them protected not only for koalas but for all the other important services they provide like carbon storage and water supply.”

She said volunteers were working with the National Parks Association preparing proposals for an exciting range of international standard GKNP recreational trails within the Coffs, Bellingen and Nambucca catchments.

“These will attract overseas as well as Australian hikers and riders seeking a nature experience in our wonderful coastal and hinterland areas.”