Three of the state’s leading forest conservation groups are today calling on the NSW Government to immediately halt logging operations in state native forest compartments known to be, or likely to be, koala habitat.

Analysis of NSW Forestry Corporation harvest plans shows 83 compartments in the 170,000 ha Great Koala National Park proposal area have been listed for logging over the next six to nine months.

The NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC), the NSW National Parks Association NPA), and the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) say they have no confidence logging in these critical habitat areas will be properly controlled after a parliamentary inquiry last week revealed serious deficiencies in the Environment Protection Authority’s regulation of forestry operations in NSW. [1]

“It is clear that the EPA is not equipped to effectively regulate native forest logging, which has been shown time and again to damage koala habitat,” said NPA spokesman Ashley Love.

“Harvest plans show forestry operations are planned across 83 compartments in the Great Koala National Park proposal area in this financial year alone. In light of the findings of the parliament’s report, we urge the government to impose an immediate moratorium on logging these compartments and other state forests known to have important koala populations.”

NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said: “Banning logging in koala habitat is the logical first step on the path to ending native forest logging on the North Coast by 2018 when the Regional Forest Agreements are due to expire. Logging companies, the NSW Forestry Corporation and the EPA have repeatedly failed to protect koalas and other threatened species, as they are require by law, so it is now up to the government to act decisively. another line in here – Royal Camp perhaps?”

NCC CEO Kate Smolski said: “If nothing changes, the list of animal and plant species facing extinction in NSW is on track to reach 1000 by 2020. Even a species as iconic and beloved as the koala is at great risk of extinction in parts of the state, including on the North Coast, if urgent action is not taken to reduce threats to its survival.

“I call on the state’s leading political parties to acknowledge the urgency of the threats facing koalas and place an immediate ban on logging in koala habitat. These forests are too precious to lose, and we will fight to make sure future generations have a chance to enjoy intact native forests and iconic species like the koala just as we do today.”

REFERENCE

[1] Performance of the NSW Environment Protection Authority (Inquiry), www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/743BDB8875807D85CA257CFC002142D1