Letter to the Editor: Responding to industry rep’s “wild assertions”

DEAR News Of The Area,

YOUR frequent correspondent and unabashed timber industry lobbyist Steve Dobbyns’ recent letter in NOTA (1 March 2024) contains numerous wild assertions that must be challenged.

It seems Mr Dobbyns, no doubt strongly influenced by the vested interests he champions, cannot see the forest for the wood.

Like many of his ilk, lost forever in the good old days, who passionately contend that current clear-fall logging practices in our public forests do no harm, and on many metrics actually do a lot of good for native plants and animals, these advocates of ‘more of the same’ seem to assume that they have an unchallengeable right to use state forests like they always have.

They seem almost allergic to any views that offer an alternative vision.

Those of us who have seen close-up the moonscape of death and weeds left behind after one of these state-sanctioned logging operations has completely erased a native forest would beg to differ.

State forests are publicly owned and every citizen of NSW has an equal right to express a view on how they wish their public forests should be managed.

This is why governments right around Australia are increasingly setting aside public forests for nature conservation, catchment protection and carbon capture.

It is what the majority of Australian voters appear to want.

Mr Dobbyns’ outrageous claim that the Black Summer bushfires were “allowed to burn for weeks and months” is an appalling slight on our fire management agencies and those brave souls who protect the public from threatening bushfires.

Such a statement is not only malicious and demeaning, it is just plain wrong.

All wildfires in NSW are almost instantaneously responded to by an active and coordinated network of firefighting agencies, and containment and suppression plans are developed and implemented as soon as the fire’s location is confirmed, often within hours of them being discovered.

They are never ignored and “allowed to burn”.

Mr Dobbyns’ claim that “no-one knows how species are faring in the National Parks estate” is so untethered to reality it is laughable.

Many of our most rare and precious native species in our conservation areas, from rare orchids to the Wollemi pine, from Gould’s Petrel to the Lord Howe Island Wood Hen, from the Koala to rare butterflies, are closely and routinely monitored and their conservation status expertly managed and wherever possible improved.

His claim that the Superb Parrot’s calamitous decline is “a direct result of the creation of new national parks” is also demonstrably fallacious.

Recent peer-reviewed scientific papers on this rare and beautiful native parrot have identified continued logging of its core breeding habitat as the primary threatening process leading it ever-closer toward extinction.

While NOTA should be applauded for continuing to provide a valuable forum for a lively public debate on the future of our region’s magnificent native forests, it’s a bit rich to offer up half a page to such a clearly biassed and unhinged advertorial from a company man cheering on a failing industry.


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