OPINION: Where is the consultation on Orara East State Forest logging?

DEAR News Of The Area,

LOGGING has recently begun in sections of Orara East State Forest in Karangi by Forestry Corp NSW.

Given the fines and warnings that FC NSW has copped over logging activities in other State Forests, concern is running very high for local residents over what is planned for such a significant green corridor on the Coffs escarpment.

If you read a public document that is published by the Forestry Corporation of NSW called ‘Koala Code of Practice: Forest Harvesting in New South Wales’, you will find the following key points made by Forestry Corporation:

1. Community dialogue about Koalas should be initiated and maintained at an early stage to ensure exchange of information with neighbours, and local animal welfare and conservation groups.

2. Prescriptions exclude harvesting from sensitive areas such as along streams and in areas of high conservation value old growth, rainforest, rare forest types and wetlands.

3. In plantations, harvesting is also excluded along streams and from native forest remnants embedded within the plantation.

Has community dialogue about Koalas been initiated and maintained by FC NSW with affected residents at any stage?

The answer is a massive NO.

As a local resident who is part of a concerned residents group about the logging of Orara East State Forest I can
confirm that NO community dialogue has occurred.

As with many things in life, if people don’t do what they say they will do then you have to do it yourself.

So, local residents organised a meeting with Coffs Harbour Forestry Corp.

NSW in an effort to seek assurances that green corridors and pockets of remaining koala habitat would be protected and set aside.

When directly questioned about the above points 1 and 2, which are essentially their OWN RULES about codes of conduct in relation to excluding koala habitat from logging, Forestry refused to reassure local residents that they would do this.

The best assurance the locals got from the meeting was that each tree and area would be assessed on its merits when the bulldozer was in front of it.

This gave very little confidence to the local residents given the fines and warnings that FC NSW has copped over illegal logging activities in other State Forests recently.

At the meeting FC NSW admitted that their mapping was not up to date and that they were unable to get accurate mapping of sections of the native forest.

It makes you wonder where their $60 million bailout by the state government goes?

Certainly not on implementing their own codes of conduct.

We all know Koalas are critically endangered and we all know that climate science tells us that removing old and established forests is a bad idea.

To allow these reckless logging practices to continue in this day and age makes absolutely no sense.

Who will make Forestry accountable for their actions?


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