Conservation groups are calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to rule out opening any national parks to extractive industries.

NSW Deputy Premier and National Party leader John Barilaro has vowed to introduce legislation degazette Murray Valley National Park in the state’s Riverina region and to re-open the forests for logging. [1]

The park is part of the largest continuous red gum forest in the world and hosts a unique ecosystem with over 60 threatened native animal species and 40 threatened plant species. It is also an important place for Aboriginal people.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “Stripping protections from this park and letting in the loggers would be gross environmental vandalism.

“These magnificent forests are protected because they are struggling after decades of logging and grazing, impacts that are being multiplied by climate change, water diversions and drought.

“This government has the worst record for creating national parks in the past 50 years but stripping protections from the river red gums national park would be an unprecedented low.

“The environment movement will vigorously resist this move and mobilise communities across the state to protect these iconic forests.”

NSW National Parks Association Senior Ecologist Oisin Sweeney said: “We strongly hope that this doesn’t represent a shift in government policy”.

“The whole point of gazetting national parks is so the public can have confidence that these areas are protected in perpetuity for their conservation and social values.

“The millions of people who enjoy walking, camping and relaxing in our national parks should be really worried by the precedent that this would set.

“If this goes ahead, what’s to stop more degazettals occurring at the whim of a politician, just to satisfy self-interest groups? Which national park is next in line?

We’re calling on Environment Minister Kean’s colleagues to support him in opposing this terrible proposal.

References
[1] NSW deputy premier vows to open up Murray Valley national park to logging, The Guardian, Thu 11 Jul 2019

Media contact
James Tremain | Nature Conservation Council of NSW | 0419 272 254

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