Calls for a logging moratorium in Great Koala National Park area

Conservationists want an immediate halt to logging in areas planned for the Great Koala National Park. (Dorrigo Environment Centre)

CONSERVATIONISTS on the Mid North Coast and the North Coast are cautiously optimistic following the result of the recent State Election.

The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) welcomed the election of the Minns Labor government and its promise to create a Great Koala National Park, but called for a moratorium on logging within the park proposal until the assessment promised by Labor is complete.

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Labor’s environment spokesperson, Penny Sharpe, was not yet able to comment so soon after the election.
As reported by News Of The Area prior to the election, Labor committed to the creation of a Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast.

The plan, announced by Ms Sharpe, includes completing a National Parks Establishment Plan to identify key habitat and wildlife corridors and expand protected areas and convening a koala summit to ‘review and refocus the NSW Koala Strategy to provide a recovery plan for koala populations across NSW’.

At the time, Ms Sharpe said Labor would also begin a statutory review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act to strengthen environmental protections, prevent illegal land clearing and improve the biodiversity offset scheme.

Labor also promised to work cooperatively with landowners (public, First Nations, councils, farmers and other private land holders) to develop ways to protect key habitat through partnerships and investment on all types of land, with the Commonwealth Government to meet the objectives of the Threatened Species Action Plan 2022-2032, and to commit to the goal of no new extinctions.

However, the Alliance, amongst others, claims that Forestry Corporation NSW is targeting the proposed Great Koala National Park in ‘smash and grab’ operations to extract as much timber as they can, while they can.

“They have been removing thousands of koala feed trees from one of the best koala strongholds in NSW, compounding the impacts of the 2019/20 wildfires and causing immense damage to endangered koala populations,” NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

“To avoid compromising the integrity of the Labor government’s assessment process this vandalism needs to stop.

“We look forward to working constructively with the new government to ensure a comprehensive and robust review of the Great Koala National Park is undertaken.”

However, in a radio interview earlier this week, Ms Sharpe indicated that a moratorium on logging was not part of Labor’s plan.

By Andrew VIVIAN

The FCNSW Harvest Plan website shows active, approved and planned logging.

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