Forest Alliance: Great Koala National Park being ‘targeted’ for logging

Great Koala National Park proponents say it is being logged disproportionately. Photo: Friends of Orara East State Forest.

ANALYSIS undertaken by Forest Alliance NSW indicates that forests in the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP) are being targeted with logging at a rate three times higher than other North Coast state forests.

The Alliance says Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) maps, as at June 25 this year, show that of the 20 active logging operations from the Hunter region to the Queensland border, more than half are in the GKNP footprint.

This is despite the proposed park area containing just one fifth of State Forests in the region.

The State Labor Government committed to create a Great Koala National Park at the 2023 State Election and has since established a protracted process to determine the boundary of the park.

“The Minns Government is allowing the State-owned logging company to target the proposed park to take as many trees as they can, degrading the proposed park before it’s even established,” said Dalian Pugh from the North East Forest Alliance.

“It’s outrageous.”

A range of conservation groups have been calling for an immediate moratorium on logging in the proposed park for the past year.

“We warned that this would be the result if a moratorium was not put in place while the park was designed and that’s exactly what has occurred,” Mr Pugh said.

“The Community Advisory Panel’s recommendations for a moratorium, or to at least undertake pre-logging surveys to identify core koala habitat to protect while the assessment is undertaken, have been rejected by the Government.”

Jacqui Mumford from the NSW Nature Conservation Council said the Minns Government’s commitment to the creation of a Great Koala National Park was an opportunity to leave a “proud legacy”.

“However they are allowing the Forestry Corporation to erode that legacy,” Ms Mumford said.

“We’re reiterating our call for logging in the proposed park boundary to cease while the process to establish the park is completed.”

Forest Alliance NSW’s Justin Field said it is clear the GKNP area “is being targeted for logging by the Forestry Corporation”.

“It’s bad faith from the state-owned logging company.”

“They know the direction the Government is heading and they are making a mockery of that commitment.

“The Minns Government needs to step in and stop this destruction if the park is going to be the reserve koalas need to survive.”

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said, “Preventing koalas from going extinct by 2050 is an obligation that all of us have responsibility for and that both sides of politics have committed to, but the Minns Government is undermining their own goals by logging the Great Koala National Park.

“Without immediate Government intervention in this intensive logging of the Great Koala National Park, local extinction of koalas is a serious risk.”

FCNSW and the office of the Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, were contacted for comment.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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