Letter to the Editor: A vision for native forest logging in NSW

DEAR News Of The Area,

IT is possible to work with all stakeholders with a long-term interest in forests and forestry to deliver a triple win for Australia: a more stable climate, biodiversity that’s protected and restored and new economic opportunities underpinning flourishing communities.

A reduction or cessation of logging does have a direct material impact upon regional communities with a native forest logging industry.

We know that the total number of jobs across the state which are directly employed in native forest logging is not large, but a lot of them are clustered in a few politically sensitive locations.

With the entire south coast logging region held by sitting Labor MPs (including marginals in South
Coast and Monaro, as well as holding Lismore, a key electorate close to logging areas).

At a federal level, the southern NSW electorates of Gilmore and Eden-Monaro have sitting Labor government
MPs, who will also have input regarding a decision to end or reduce logging.

This is reflected in the subsidies provided to the industry and the extent to which the state governments have tolerated decades of poor financial performance [and inadequate environmental protection] from the state
forestry agencies.

To achieve the full climate and biodiversity benefits of shifting large amounts of state forests into a protected areas estate, significant resources will need to be allocated to their management (pests, recreation, fire etc) as well as for large scale restoration.

ACCUs (Australian Carbon Credits) generated from avoided harvesting will create a significant revenue stream
that will allow for reinvestment into forests for management and restoration costs.

However, polluters should be encouraged to preference onsite mitigation over reliance on offsets.

The best way to do this – and the only politically realistic way of doing this – is to stamp out the supply of low integrity offsets.

Limiting the supply of low integrity offsets will push up the price of ACCUs, both now and in the future, and
thereby lead to more polluters opting to reduce emissions onsite rather than leaving themselves exposed to the offset market.

We need to aim for the cessation of logging in public native forests by 2025.

[And to protect the most environmentally sensitive areas such as the Kalang Headwaters immediately.]

To achieve this outcome requires economic, social, and environmental policy solutions that deliver long term funding for forest restoration and transition and support real jobs in forest management and a sustainable plantation industry based on purpose planted forest.

Much of the above was sourced from the Australian Climate and Biodiversity Foundation.

Louise CRANNY,

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