State News

NSW Government must take back control of public forests

The NSW Government must take back control of the state’s public forests to ensure they are managed for the benefit of all citizens, not just a handful of large resource companies.

“NSW Forestry Corporation has become a rogue organisation that disregards the law and has trashed thousands of hectares of public forests,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.

“We can now see that giving management of our forests to a state-owned corporation is a failed experiment that has cost taxpayers millions and degraded a priceless community asset.

“In the past 12 months, the corporation has repeatedly broken environmental laws to meet unsustainable wood supply contracts it should never have signed.

“Today it is revealed the corporation’s revenue is set to decline $100 million or 25 per cent from next financial year and there would be losses of about $15 million a year from 2022 to 2024. [1]

“NSW taxpayers are effectively subsidising the loss of habitat and species in the name of retaining the hardwood timber industry that does not have an economically viable plan for its future.

“Hardwood timber supply management in public forests should be a direct role for government to ensure that genuine timber supply needs are balanced with the needs of ecosystems and communities.”

Last year the Environment Protection Authority investigated Forestry Corporation for serious breaches of environmental laws and issued stop-work orders. Instances include:

• Felling protected giant trees in Wild Cattle Creek SF (ABC, EPA release).
• Damaging four giant ‘hollow-bearing trees’ and six marked small tallowwood koala feed trees in Wild Cattle Creek SF (North East Forest Alliance Audit).
• Felling dozens of protected hollow-bearing trees in South Brooman SF (Beagle Weekly, EPA release).
• Felling protected hollow-bearing trees in Mogo SF (Beagle Weekly).
• Choosing the most heavily burnt forests to meet retention requirements of wildlife habitat clumps in Myrtle SF (against the protocol which states that priority must be to establish wildlife habitat clumps in unburned areas, North East Forests Alliance Audit).

[1] Forestry Corp facing massive revenue drop after record bushfire season, SMH, 22-1-2021