Nature Conservation Council hits the road to the Coffs Coast

Chris Gambian and Jacqui Mumford talk with local conservationists.


THE Nature Conservation Council’s Chief Executive Chris Gambian and Deputy Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford visited the Mid North Coast last week as part of a ‘touching base’ road trip up the coast north of Sydney.

The Council is the peak body for environment groups in NSW and Mr Gambian said that COVID-19 meant that face-to-face meetings with groups had not been held for some time.

Approximately 40 people gathered at the Great Koala National Park Visitor and Information Centre in Urunga to discuss issues such as deforestation, threats to koala habitat, the Great Koala National Park, the ‘Stand Up For Newry’ native forest blockade, woodchip exports from Newcastle and influencing NSW politics to protect nature.

Ms Mumford told News Of The Area, “The two main issues on the Coffs Coast are habitat destruction and ‘biomass’.”

She said that plans for the Redbank power station, which will use ‘biomass’ allows for logging up to 400km from Cessnock, which means that the southern forests on the Coffs Coast can be logged for fuel.

However, Ms Mumford said the Minister for Energy and Environment was moving in the right direction.

“There are definitely some very positive things from the Minister and he has many opportunities to leave a legacy, the Great Koala National Park being one of them.

“The future should be about transforming the economy by taking advantage of the beauty and natural assets on the Coffs Coast.”

Kevin Evans, from the National Parks Association, and a major proponent of the Great Koala National Park, told the audience that there are many people working for forest protection, giving their time and money to protect what is left of NSW native forests.

He said taking a positive approach by talking about how the economy of the area would flourish and businesses in small towns on the boundaries of the Great Koala National Park will help people realise its benefits.

Mr Gambian agreed, telling the audience that the Great Koala National Park should be a priority of people not just on the Coffs Coast, but across NSW and Australia, and that one day it will be an Australian icon like the Sydney Opera House.

He said there is a growing realisation across the political spectrum that the Great Koala National Park should be gazetted and that logging of native forests should end.

He said native forest logging has already stopped in Western Australia and will be phased out in Victoria.

Mr Gambian said the Nature Conservation Council is non-partisan but it is political and politicians of all persuasions should have to justify their views on nature.

“Our role is to bring people together to do what they can’t do alone,” he said.


By Andrew VIVIAN

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