Around the Region Blog - North Coast Environment Council, Inc.

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Illegal logging claim in Mistake State Forest in the Nambucca Valley

Illegal logging claim in Mistake State Forest in the Nambucca Valley,

Conservationists claim ongoing logging in Mistake State Forest is illegal due to Forestry Corporation NSW’s failure to undertake surveys for the Endangered Greater glider in accordance with the new survey rules.

Forestry Corporation (FC) are required to find den trees of the Endangered Greater glider and protect them with a 50m radius buffer from logging, but only 5 of the 22 survey transects were done within an hour of sunset as was required.

We have written to FC and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) asking them to suspend logging until FC carry out surveys according to the new rules,said Friends of Mistake spokesperson, Joy van Son.

These compartments contained prime Greater glider and Koala habitat before they started logging and is currently being assessed by the NSW government for inclusion in the Great Koala National Park (GKNP). Logging continues despite strong community opposition.

“It doesn’t make sense. If this government was serious about protecting Koalas, they wouldn’t allow the destruction of their habitat to occur just months before handing the area over to the National Parks Estate.

Mistake SF is the upper catchment area of the Nambucca River and provides abundant, clean water to downstream farms and towns. It is steep mountainous terrain with easily eroded subsoils that pollute watercourses when disturbed during logging. We have been campaigning for over 35 years to have it protected.

Expert studies carried out over the past 35 years confirm the highly erodible nature of Mistake SF soils. My family and I saw it with our own eyes in 1993 when Forestry Corporation were logging in Mistake SF upstream of our farm. Our creeks were brown,” Ms van Son said.

Currently 40% of logging operations underway in public native forests on the North Coast are within the Great Koala National Park’s proposed boundaries. These are smash and grab operations” said Susie Russell from the North Coast Environment Council.

“The big, old trees being targeted by FC are providing hollows critical to the survival of hollow-dependent species such as Greater gliders and are koala feed trees,” said Ms Russell.

The Nambucca Valley Conservation Association (NVCA) supports a suspension of logging in Mistake SF until the Great Koala National Park boundaries have been finalised.

“It’s outrageous that logging is going hell for leather in the heart of what the current Labor government promised to protect to save koalas from extinction,” said Lyn Orrego (NVCA)

“We have written to Environment Minister Penny Sharpe on five separate occasions since Labor was elected in March 2023 and received no answers whatsoever to our letters.

I joined the recent peaceful Mistake SF logging protest to highlight the fact that the Minns government is responsible not only for smashing koala habitat in the public native forests they promised to protect, but also for the community angst and division by letting this situation continue.

Over 60 community members gathered at Taylors Arm to urge the Minns government to “Fix the Mistake!” and make Mistake SF part of the GKNP as a matter of urgency,” she concluded.

Photo by Jan Roberton 1/7/2024

Photo by Jan Roberton 1/7/2024





MEDIA RELEASE June 26, 2024


“Logging industry and NSW Nationals are putting profits for a few ahead of safety and energy security for regional communities,” said NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell.

The response follows NSW Nationals leader Dugald Sunders urging the Minns Labor Government to reverse a decision by regional electricity distributor Essential Energy to replace ageing and failing timber power poles across its network with more fire resilient fibreglass composite poles.

2019 Black Summer Fires 104A9950.jpg

Susie Russell said, “The safety and energy security of North Coast communities matters.

“It’s clear that timber power poles are not the best choice for our community. This move by Essential Energy is about protecting our region from the impacts of severe bushfires and should be applauded.

“A significant portion of the state’s timber power pole supply has come from areas proposed for the Great Koala National Park. It’s fantastic that Essential Energy is moving to a non-timber alternative that is better for the community and will leave the trees standing to support the creation of the Great Koala National Park.”

Justin Field from the Forest Alliance NSW said, “The only explanation for the timber industry and NSW Nationals to oppose this move is that they are trying to protect logging profits at the expense of community safety and resilience.

“The sad reality is that not only are timber power poles more susceptible to fire, the logging of native forests to take these trees makes those forests more prone to high intensity fires further increasing risks to those local communities. It’s a lose lose.

“There are many alternatives to logging native forests. We use plantation pine for house frames and people are increasingly using composite decking and flooring for improved fire resilience and reduced maintenance. It makes sense to go with materials more suited to our conditions.

“Currently, most trees taken from native forests end up as cardboard or exported as wood chips. It’s incredibly wasteful so what we can do to move to alternatives like composite materials is a win-win,” Justin Field said.

Susie Russell said, “After the 2019/20 fires many of our communities were left without reliable power due to the number of timber poles burnt and the time it took to restore the network. For fire impacted communities $1.54 per year per household, which is what the electricity regulator has determined it will cost, is a small expense to protect against future power disruptions and to build our community’s resilience.

“Taking timber from native forests is expensive and heavily subsidised by taxpayers to enable the industry to remain profitable so households are already paying for an inferior product which leaves their critical power supply more vulnerable.

“There is lots of talk about building back better after the fires. Good on Essential Energy for acting to do their part to keep regional communities safer,” Susie Russell said.

Destruction to our Public Native Forests by Logging IMG_2869.jpg

Communities say no to waste to energy incinerators

The North Coast Environment Council supports efforts of community groups on the North Coast, the Blue Mountains and the Southern Tablelands to stop the hazardous Waste to Energy Incinerators (W2Es) proposed to open in NSW.

Casino's Richmond Valley Jobs Precinct  in the Richmond Valley is named as a potential site by the NSW EPA.  




These incinerators have been found to have disastrous health impacts on communities and emit huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, microplastic pollution, persistent organic pollutants and hazardous ash waste – they are environmental disasters, do nothing to solve our waste problem and have no place in our communities.

Communities on the frontlines need your help to bring this issue to the attention of Government – 20,000 signatures by 9th of April!

Stop Waste to Energy incinerators in NSW

Follow this link and sign the petition now and support this community-led campaign and put a stop to W2Es in NSW!



Government sleight of hand weakens Greater Glider protections

North Coast Environment Council Media Release February, 2, 2024

Government sleight of hand weakens Greater Glider protections

The NSW Government is being tricky with its numbers, suggesting they have improved protection for Greater Gliders when they have actually weakened it according to NCEC Vice-President, Susie Russell.

“Instead of being honest with the people of NSW and acknowledging that we can’t have all the unique and precious animals our forests still support AND a native forest logging industry. The animals need undisturbed forest and the other rampages across the landscape leaving devastation in its wake. It is one or the other. They are lying when they suggest we can have both.

Read more

Oven Mountain is the Wrong Place for Pumped Hydro

The North Coast Environment Council renewed its calls for renewable energy projects to be built without further land-clearing.

In a submission to the Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro Scheme, the NCEC objected to the clearing of 440 ha of identified wilderness and numerous other impacts, many of which have not been quantified by the proponents. Oven Mountain is between Kempsey and Armidale.

“We support renewable energy projects where they don’t involve the destruction of forests and threatened species habitats,” said Ashley Love a spokesperson for the NCEC.

Read more

Logging of Proposed Great Koala National Park to continue for at least a year

While many were lauding last week’s announcement by NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe that ‘Koala Hubs’ inside the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP), would not be logged, local conservationists were dismayed at the flip side of the announcement, that logging in the rest of the area Labor has been promising to protect for almost a decade, will continue until the end of 2024.

“The North Coast Environment Council and our member groups in the area of the GKNP are extremely concerned that what the Environment Minister appears to be saying is logging will continue, at the same intensity, for at least another year, while ‘assessments’ are done,” said NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell. 


Koala seen in Diehappy State Forest being planned for logging and not protected by the NSW Government’s announcement.

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Will New Private Logging Rules Fail Koalas Again?

For Immediate Release Will new private logging rules fail Koalas again?


New rules proposed for private land logging will result in continued decline of koala populations, particularly in north-east NSW, unless they incorporate the recommendations of the Upper House Koala Inquiry on Private Native Forestry (PNF).

The North Coast Environment Council says that the PNF codes that are currently subject to a five yearly review need to be significantly strengthened to better identify and protect threatened species and their habitats, including koalas.

The release of the new PNF codes of practice are imminent following the recent public submission process. Very little koala habitat is currently protected under the present PNF arrangements and there is little incentive for landholders or loggers to search for and report koalas or other threatened species prior to logging operations.

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Clarence Environment Centre wins prestigious award

At its recent General Meeting, the North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) were honoured to present their prestigious ‘TOGA’ (Triumph Over Greed Award) to John Edwards and the Clarence Environment Centre (CEC) for their work in exposing a number of serious breaches of environmental legislation associated with exploration licenses for copper mining at Cangai near Jackadgery in the Clarence catchment.

As a result of the work of CEC, the NSW Resources Regulator has suspended all operations on two exploration licences held by mining companies Total Mineral Pty Ltd and Total Iron Pty Ltd. Exploration Licences 8625 and 8635 were being operated by Castillo Copper Limited, about 45km northwest of Grafton.


John Edwards and wife Patricia, receive the TOGA on behalf of Clarence Environment Centre.

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Koala 'reserves' substitute spin for science

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show the NSW Government ignored the advice of its own koala experts when selecting its so-called koala reserves.

“Now we know that the Government had maps of where the koalas actually are... they called them Koala Hubs... and deliberately chose not to protect those areas,” said NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell.


koala baby

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If forests burn, wind and solar miss out


The failure of today's deal by the Liberal-National Coalition and the ALP on a Renewable Energy Target to exclude native forests from being fed into power stations is a major blow for both the genuine renewable energy industry and the future health of our region's forests” said NCEC spokesperson Susie Russell.

Read more

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