The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has labelled Tuesday’s budget a huge missed opportunity for regional NSW and criticised the NSW Government’s overall lack of economic vision.

According to a NPA report launched last night in Parliament House, ending native forest logging on public land following the expiry of the Regional Forest Agreements and implementing NPA’s Forests For All Plan would see a significant employment boost and a sustainable future for regional communities.

“For many decades, the forest industry in NSW has been transitioning to plantations and away from native forest logging.  This has led to a situation where native forest logging now accounts for just 0.03% of primary industries employment. Yet it is responsible for enormous damage to our wildlife, waterways, climate and industries that rely on a clean, green image, said Ms Alix Goodwin, NPA CEO.

“A visionary Government would understand the risks of continuing to destroy our forests in exchange for a dwindling economic return.  Most importantly, it should be trying to pursue a better alternative – for forests and for the economic future of our regional communities.

“However, rather than focusing on an effective transition plan, this Government plans to extend logging to protected old-growth forests and critical koala habitat.  It is doing so despite knowing that koalas are worth an estimated $3 billion a year to Australia and that numbers on the north coast of NSW have halved in the last 20 years.

“What NPA’s Case for Change Report demonstrates is that there is an alternative – our Forests For All Plan. A positive alternative that seeks to protect our forests while transitioning affected jobs to other industries and creating hundreds of additional regional jobs in the tourism and nature-based recreation industries.

“New Zealand has successfully transitioned away from native forest logging on public and never looked back.  We can do the same. With vision, good planning and compassion, the NSW Government can lead this transition.”

ENDS

Media Contact: Ms Alix Goodwin CEO NPA: 9299 0000

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