OPINION: Groundhog day?


DEAR News Of The Area,

LISTENING to ABC Breakfast radio last Friday we were intrigued to hear our Local Member discussing the discovery of two new plant species right under our very noses.

Coffs was on the map and making national headlines.

While it has been an opportunity to showcase our unique local natural environment, it is also a reminder of what we stand to lose.

The proposed logging of our very own Compartments 26 and 27 in Pine Creek State Forest on Gleniffer Road Bonville by Forestry Corporation should be a major concern to all of us living in the Coffs LGA, including our Local Member.

It has a history that many seem to be unaware of, or have forgotten.

When our local Koala Plan of Management was developed in response to government and local community concerns about declining koala numbers back in the 1990s, the remnant native forests in Pine Creek SF were recognized as some of the best remaining populated koala habitat in the LGA.

As State Forest did not come under local Council jurisdiction, a separate SF/NPWS joint Koala Plan of Management oversaw forestry operations and monitored which portions of the SF could be safely logged.

Compliance issues with this agreement, plus persistent local community opposition and bad publicity eventually led to several planned logging operations being abandoned and in 2003, a portion of the SF handed over to Bongil Bongil N.P.

Since that time, and of major concern, is the fact that the joint SF/NPWS koala plan of management has been scrapped, intensive harvesting (clear felling) and removal of ‘forest waste’ has been ‘legalized’, and pre harvest surveys diminished to the point of being token.

Forestry Corporation controls approximately 30% of the land in our LGA and apart from managing timber production and other essential services including catchment protection, has a statutory responsibility to manage public forests for wildlife.

Apart from the known presence of several threatened animal species, independent on-ground and online searches show five native vegetation types within the area, including remnant rainforest species and at least one critically endangered plant.

At least three other endangered and critically endangered plants potentially exist within the area.

And of course, who knows what other yet to be discovered species may also be hidden within its 239 hectares?

This proposed harvesting is a cynical move by Forestry Corporation and will be a travesty on our very doorstep if it proceeds.

We implore our local Member to intervene and ensure it does not happen.

In the meantime we can all make our wishes known by contacting the minister responsible for the Forestry Corporation, Deputy Premier and leader of the Nationals in NSW, the Hon. John Barilaro.


Dave WOOD,
Boambee East.

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