Nambucca Valley Conservation Association President, Paula Flack:
The State and Federal government’s signing off on another twenty years of destructive Regional Forest Agreements has come as no surprise to local forest conservationists.
Throughout the whole ‘fake’ consultation process community opposition to locking in the intensive and clearfell logging of public native forests has been blatantly ignored.
“This appalling decision has been driven by the National Party which continues to display dinosaur thinking, which is out of step with NSW public opinion.
“65 per cent of regional and rural Australians oppose native forest logging and only 17 per cent approve, according to a recent timber industry poll. Of the 5,400 public submissions on the proposed new NSW RFAs, only 23 supported the RFAs.
“The Coalition Government and state owned Forestry Corporation clearly have no social license to continue the degradation of our public native forests and yet they have pushed on regardless.
“RFAs essentially provide the logging industry with an exemption from federal environment laws, meaning that even where federally listed threatened species occur, logging can go ahead, it’s a disgrace.
By rejecting the recommendations of its own RFA review calling for scientific assessment of climate change and relying on incomplete and outdated assessments, the National Party has once again proven that its dogged intent is to lock up public resources for private companies, irrespective of the environmental costs and strong community opposition.
This rush to finalise the RFA rollover is nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with locking in deals with big end of town, industry players prior to the March 2019 elections.
If re-elected the National Party intend to open up protected old growth forest and rainforest for logging in an effort to meet their over committed Wood Supply Agreements.
We know that the proposed Great Koala National Park would create more jobs and economic benefits for our region than the rapidly declining native forest timber industry that is logging itself out of jobs.
In signing the RFAs and adopting the pathetically weak new logging rules the Coalition State Government has signed the death knell for our north coast koalas and is happy to see forest values and economic potential such as tourism, water yields, carbon storage and biodiversity trashed.”