UPDATE: The proposed Bill of the Nationals to further remove protections for native forests has been withdrawn because of community response made the passing of the bill unlikely [a success for forest protection and those who responded to the call for action].
[Original] NEFA MEDIA RELEASE:
Perrottet’s Private Native Forestry logging bill is an all-out assault on Koalas, while taking away community rights to have a say in how, when and where logging occurs by giving them to the National Party controlled Local Land Services.
The Liberal-National government has removed protection for Koala habitat on State forests, now Perrottet intends to put the nail in their coffin by stopping protection of core Koala habitat on private lands, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
Perrottet has gone further to ensure that in the future any high conservation value forest that a council includes in an environmental zone will also be able to be logged, while removing council’s ability to require consent for logging, and extending logging approvals to 30 years.
“It is a death sentence for our endangered Koalas, and an attack on our rights to protect them.
“This draconian bill could become law as early as next week unless the community speaks up for Koalas and their rights” Mr. Pugh said.
“Perrottet’s Private Native Forestry bill is intended to honour the promise, given by the Liberals as a peace offering to the Nationals to end the 2020 Koala Wars, that in the future any identified core Koala habitat will be able to be logged.
“The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Private Native Forestry) Bill 2022, enables existing prohibitions on logging private forests to remain, but stops any future Koala State Environmental Planning Policy or a Council Koala Plan of Management being able to exclude logging.
“Perrottet’s logging bill also removes the need for logging to obtain consent from Councils, meaning Development Applications will not be required, keeping local communities in the dark while denying them a say, and removing Council’s ability to ensure residents are not unduly impacted by noise, truck movements on windy rural roads at peak times, or deterioration of roads and bridges.
For north-east NSW’s 2.8 million ha of private forests, councils have existing prohibitions on logging of over 167,000 ha (6%) and consent requirements for 600,000 ha (25%). (DPI 2018)
“There are only 10,430 ha (0.4% of private forests) of Core Koala Habitat already identified that is allowed to retain its protection from logging. Even then there are numerous existing logging approvals within this core koala habitat that are being allowed to continue until their approvals expire, and this bill intends extending this from 15 to 30 years.
“There is a lot more core Koala habitat out there that needs urgent protection from logging that will no longer be allowed”, Mr Pugh said.
Three examples are:
Kyogle Council has no environmental zones so under Perrottet’s logging bill 100% of private forests will be allowed to be logged at the State Government’s discretion, even if Council later identifies core koala habitat and lands for environmental zones they will not be able to constrain logging. Council does currently require consent for logging, which means that Development Applications are legally required, though they are not being requested.
Coffs Harbour City Council was the first to map core Koala habitat, though much of this was subsequently given logging approvals by the State Government that are meant to be phased out as approvals expire, but under Perrottet’s logging bill approvals will be extended for another 15 years. Council have remapped core koala habitat, identifying many additional areas, though even when these are adopted, Perrottet’s logging bill will no longer permit logging to be constrained. Council requires consent for logging, though this will be no longer be allowed.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has limited areas that prohibit logging, though require consent for logging, which Perrottet’s logging bill will no longer allow. Council went through a lengthy process of identifying core Koala habitat though failed to adopt it. If passed Perrottet’s logging bill will mean if Council later adopts its core Koala habitat mapping, it will not be allowed to constrain logging.