New 'Reserves' = Less protected areas, more intensive logging and
$$$ to logging corporations
The North Coast Environment Council said it is alarmed that the State Government had declared another 18,000 ha of State Forest is to become reserves, and calls on Environment Minister Upton to immediately rule out opening up currently protected areas to be logged.
“If it was any other Government we'd be over the moon, but we know this is a trick. What hasn't been announced are which areas of protected forest will be made available for logging, what new logging rules, and how much money from the Environment funds will be thrown at the logging companies to sweeten the deal,” said NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell.
One of the species that will be hit hard by logging protected stream buffers is the Fleay's Barred Frog
“When this Government created 11,000 ha of reserves near Bega on the South Coast in 2016, it lead to more intensive logging in other parts of the region and $2.5m in hand-outs to the logging industry -from the Environmental Trust!
“So if the Government has announced 42,000 ha of reserves we can expect at least $10m to be announced for the logging industry and the same volume of timber to be supplied from areas that are currently protected but still have good timber volumes. Stream protection buffers have large older trees the Forestry Corporation has been trying to get its hands on for the last 20 years since they were put off-limits. The draft cabinet documents we obtained last year show these are on the chopping block.
“Besides, most of these reserves are like those the Tasmanian Government calls 'potential production forests'. They are not secure reserves like national parks. They will still be State Forest and can be made available for logging in the future.
“When the Bega reserves were announced, the local Coalition Government MP Andrew Constance said “... the forests were converted to flora reserves – which cannot be logged – instead of national parks, so in the future the option of harvesting them again could be considered.”
“This is closer to the Government's real agenda. Take reserves with good timber volumes and log them, while making areas that have been logged, are suffering from dieback, or with poor timber value the replacement 'reserve',” Ms Russell said.
“This is occurring all around the world as Government's put corporate interests first. It's called PADDDing – Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing and Degazetting. Now we are seeing it rear it's ugly head in NSW.
“We call on the Government to come clean with the whole plan. Let the public see all the protected areas that are to be handed over for logging.
“We call on Environment Minister Upton to guarantee that no currently protected areas will be opened for logging,” Ms Russell said.