NEFA: Forest Media

NEFA: Forest Media

Koalas continue to be the key issue. Kean came under attack from the ALP and the right-wing shock-jocks when it was revealed that he had been strongly advised not to set a target for Koalas before he announced he was going to double their populations. He thought it was good politics. His estimates answers indicated he is supporting removing Koala protections from private lands and relying on financial incentives. There was a fair bit of interest in the launch of the NCC’s Koalas Need Trees campaign, interestingly they vowed to hold the government to account for their promise to double the koala population. Various Koala groups, and NEFA, have been applying pressure on Geoff Provest in Tweed. Out of the blue Prime TV gave the Sandy Creek Koala Park a run. In south-east Queensland they rescue a lot of Koalas, but have trouble finding places to release them. I am concerned by the efforts to breed super Koalas for release, particularly as habitat dwindles. The oldest captive Koala is 24 years old, and lives in Japan.

Everyone wants Koala ‘sanctuarys’/tourist parks, now we are expanding to platypus. Though captive breeding of critically endangered Bellinger River snapping turtles are returning them to the wild. The benefits of keeping animals wild is displayed by the ecosystem engineering of Echidnas. The 3 species of Greater Glider are still garnering attention, and Bungabbee gets a mention.

NSW estimates hearings are dealing with more than Koalas, some highlights are:

  • The stoush between the EPA and Forestry over logging of burnt forests without applying the site specific conditions – it seems Forestry will get away with it on the grounds they had pre-fire approvals and the site specific conditions were only meant to last 12 months.
  • Forestry apparently gave a voluntary undertaking to the EPA to not log in unburnt forests in Lower Bucca State Forest that they subsequently reneged on.
  • Forestry timber revenue is expected to decrease by 25 per cent, largely due to a loss of pine plantations, though the Government has chipped in 46 million primarily to expand nurseries and replant plantations.
  • The net return that the taxpayers of New South Wales got from the hardwood division last year was $400,000. Forestry have done an assessment of the loss of hardwood resources and the impact on100 year sustainable yields, which they should release within a month. Once this is done they will start renegotiating expiring (2023) Wood Supply Agreements.
  • Barilaro claims he was misrepresented as supporting the phase out of logging public native forests.
  • The shock was that despite Redbank claiming they are ready to go, Forestry claim they have no intent to provide biomass resources to them and the EPA say they have had no discussions with them.

Timberbiz reports that the Victorian Forest Products Association has slammed Murrindindi Shire Council’s (in northern Victorian) unanimous decision to advocate for logging to cease in a local catchment.

March the 3 was World Wildlife Day, this year’s theme was Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet. A time to reflect on the benefits of forests in supporting 80 per cent of all terrestrial wild species, and their clearing at a rate of a football pitch every 6 seconds. Australia displayed that it is not just one of the leaders in deforestation by declaring 12 mammals and a lizard as extinct, cementing our leadership in mammal extinctions (34). On World Environment Day (5 June 2021) the United Nation is launching the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – I expect Australia to be missing in action again.

Some good news is that the Dutch have stopped subsiding biomass (from as far away as America) as renewable energy, the first of the EU cards to fall. Meanwhile we are recovering from the Covid-19 crisis with a surge in CO2 emissions returning us to our unrelenting growth trajectory.

Dailan Pugh, NEFA

Media 5 March 2021, the detail is at: