• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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KOALA PROTECTION COULD BE A MONEY SPINNER

koala_shazz101Conservation groups are calling on the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, to contribute funds from the Federal Government’s $2.55 billion carbon emissions reduction fund to protecting the Great Koala National Park.

This comes after revelations (The Age 21.1.15) that federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, commissioned a report which found that ending logging in the highland forests north-east of Melbourne, would save about 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year which could reap Victoria $30 million a year and achieve 5 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to meet Australia’s carbon reduction target for 2020.

North East Forest Alliance spokesperson Dailan Pugh said that “Koalas prefer larger trees for feeding, these are trees that have been taking up and storing carbon in their wood for decades or centuries.

If allowed to remain these trees will continue to provide food for the Koalas while taking up increasing amounts of carbon the older they get. Protecting these trees is not just good for Koalas, it is part of the solution to climate change and of direct benefit to all of us.

We have just had the warmest year on record and the increased temperatures are already having profound affects on our forests, our wildlife and us. For all our benefits urgent action is required to curtail our emissions by increasing the carbon take-up and carbon storage in our forests. We can do this just by stopping logging and protecting Koalas,” Mr Pugh said.

NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell said “NSW taxpayers are currently paying $8-15 million a year to subsidise logging of public forests, in return for this the logging is threatening the future of numerous species, causing erosion, silting up our rivers, decreasing stream flows, spreading weeds and causing dieback of our publicly owned forests.

We can turn this massive loss into a profit simply by stopping logging. If the Federal Government invests in avoiding emissions from logging, taxpayers stand to make a fortune just from protecting Koalas, and we can invest some of this into providing meaningful jobs in restoring degraded forests and increasing their carbon take-up and storage.

This can be a win-win for the community and Koalas, while helping to redress our burgeoning carbon emissions.

We call on Minister Hunt to urgently investigate the carbon benefits of protecting the Great Koala National Park and identify what the Federal Government would be prepared to pay to avoid the carbon emissions from continued logging”, Ms Russell said.

Photo by Sharon McGrigor

Facts not fear please Premier

koalas2 Sharon McGrigor“Claims from Premier Baird that the Great Koala National Park will cost 3000 jobs is a classic case of scaremongering,” said NCEC spokesperson Ms Susie Russell.

“We were hoping that the Premier and the Liberal-National Coalition, would come forward with their own policy that would save our region’s koalas rather than muddy the water with inaccurate and unsubstantiated statements about job losses and economic collapse.

“In 2008-9 the Government forestry agency claimed that there were a total of 6344 people in the whole of NSW in State Forest dependent employment- forest management, harvesting and haulage, and primary processing.

“The pine plantations produce about three-quarters of the sawn forest product and are the greatest generator of employment. The remaining 1600 or so workers are employed across the whole of NSW including the River Redgum, Brigalow-Cypress forests, southern NSW including the Eden woodchip facility, hardwood plantations and the native forests of northern NSW. Since then the Government itself reduced the forest management workforce by at least 50.

“It is clear that any impacts from the Great Koala National Park would be at least one and possibly two orders of magnitude less than the Premier is claiming,” she said.

“We want a Premier and a Government that seeks to generate employment and opportunities while conserving and showcasing our natural heritage, not one that is prepared to let Australia’s most iconic animal go extinct in the wild from it’s last major stronghold in NSW.

“In 2015 most people don’t buy hardwood floorboards. And those who do will think twice knowing that they are walking on wood that came from forests needed by koalas to survive in the wild.

“We want a forward looking Premier looking at developing sustainable industries, providing re-training where necessary and exploring timber alternatives.

“We ask the Premier consider the future of koalas and the communities of the north coast. We can be best served by a calm debate about the issues, based on facts, rather than shrill shouts of ‘we’ll all be rooned’, Ms Russell said.

Photo- Sharon McGrigor

Great Koala Park a great step

Sharon McGrigor koala

The North Coast Environment Council congratulates Luke Foley on his Great Koala National Park plan.
“ If we want to save the koala from extinction, we have to save the forests that are their home,” said NCEC spokesperson Susie Russell.
“The Great Koala National Park would be a strong foundation for a new approach to managing our public forests. The priorities have to be maintaining healthy populations of our unique animals and plants and caring for our water supply catchments.
“Koalas populations are crashing across their known range. The previously largest known population in NSW in the Pilliga forest has all but disappeared. The koala populations of the north coast are among the largest remaining. Koalas are recognised by both Federal and State laws as being vulnerable to extinction.
“A major reason for this is the ongoing destruction of their habitat. There is a competition for trees bigger than you can wrap your arms around (30-80cm diameter). The koalas need them and the loggers want them too.
“Which is more important: Healthy koala populations or hardwood floorboards?
“Which will bring more economic benefit to the region: Visitors to see koalas, walk the park trails, stay, eat and shop in the local area- or dozens of log trucks carting away the future?” she asked.
“NSW is at a crossroads, if we keep propping up this heavily subsidised logging industry, we could lose the koala from the wild.
“The current Government promised before the 2011 election, that it was going to do something to protect koalas. The koalas are still waiting for whatever that is to happen.
“Meanwhile the Baird Government is slashing the logging licence conditions, that will see even less effort to protect endangered species such as the koala, and open up steep areas of forest that were protected since major landslips occurred in the early 1990s.
“The Great Koala Park announced today as a key election promise by Luke Foley, would be a connecting corridor of forest from the coast to the escarpment. It would also protect the forest proposed for a radical new type of clearfell cable logging on extremely steep slopes.
“It was 20 years ago that Bob Carr promised to protect oldgrowth forests….maybe Luke Foley will be able to do the same for the koala,” Ms Russell said.

Photo by Sharon McGrigor

Foley gives koalas a fighting chance

MEDIA RELEASE

Finally the koala has a keen defender in the person of Luke Foley, newly elected Shadow Premier of NSW who, for the time being is keeping the Shadow Environment portfolio.

“Luke proved his bona fides as a genuine environmental warrior with his call on the ex-environment minister’s ridiculous claim that logging protected koalas, he pushed hard for the Federal koala classification of “Vulnerable” and was one of the few politicians to quickly call burning forest biomass to produce electricity “dead koala” energy,” said Susie Russell, spokesperson for the NCEC.

“Unlike the politicians of the LNP Government, Luke Foley took the time to visit north coast forests on several occasions to see the damage ForestCorp have been doing in koala habitat. He has also inspected the route of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade north of the Richmond River to Wardell which will inevitably lead to the extinction of a nationally-significant koala population. We have seen him take back this information to Parliament and through questions, motions, and various Parliamentary committees attempt to right the current wrongs,” said Lorraine Vass, President, Friends of the Koala and NCEC public officer.

The North Coast Environment Council has worked closely with Luke Foley for several years. He has a genuine commitment to the koala and seeing it survive in the difficult climate ahead.

“Previous Premier Barry O’Farrell promised before the 2010 election to protect koalas, but koala protection on the North Coast actually went backwards with core koala habitat destroyed by logging in Royal Camp (near Casino), Boambee (near Coffs Harbour) and Wang Wauk (near Bulehdelah) State Forests. On the Far North Coast the review of environmental zones and overlays in local environment plans has weakened habitat protection and is still not resolved.

“Premier Mike Baird’s enabling of burning native forests to create electricity and promotion of removing limits on logging intensity and of the requirement to conduct pre-logging surveys for threatened species will see much of the koalas’ remaining habitat on the NSW north coast destroyed.

“The NCEC looks forward to an ongoing working relationship with Luke Foley. He understands that “logging (doesn’t) protect koalas”.” Ms Russell said.

NSW needs an Environment Minister willing to stand up for the declining koala population in our State and protect their remaining habitats.” Luke Foley 27 October 2011 1

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1. http://pennysharpe.com/files/111027%20Logging%20protects%20koalas.pdf

COALition continues forest rampage…

Following hot on the heels of yesterday’s speech by Prime Minister Abbott who called the logging industry “the ultimate conservationists’, the NSW Government today made a regulation allowing native forest to be burned in power stations opening the way for it to be classed as a ‘renewable energy source’.

 

“The government wants environmentally conscious consumers to pay for the destruction of endangered species habitat,” said NCEC President Susie Russell.

 

 

“It will also allow the already heavily subsidised mining industry to burn native forests and woodlands to generate their electricity and seek renewable energy credits.

“COALition Governments have no respect for forests. They can’t see the trees for the wood. It seems they will stoop to any depths to pursue their anti-green anti-environment agenda. Claims that this will not increase logging and will be overseen by the EPA are farcical.

 

 

“The Government is in the process of winding back a whole raft of forest protection measures in the name of efficiency.

 

 

“The EPA has been shown to be a toothless tiger that has failed to act on evidence of breaches, and when it has been roused to action only manages to deliver pathetic slaps on the wrist such as letters or paltry fines. The community has no confidence in the EPA being able to regulate forestry.

 

 

“There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that older trees store more carbon, provide better habitat, produce more water of higher quality, provide more nectar and honey, are more resilient to fire and have greater appeal to humans on aesthetic and spiritual grounds.

 

 

“Everything this taxpayer subsidised logging industry is doing compromises all of those positive values.

 

 

“This will be another nail in the coffin of the renewable energy industry that is being sabotaged by COALition Governments at both State and Federal levels determined to prop up an energy sector based on either fossilised wood or now, living wood,” Ms Russell said.

 

NSW Government rules out logging in North Coast National Parks

The NSW Government’s long-awaited response into the Public Land Inquiry has finally ruled out logging in northern NSW National Parks in order to make up timber shortfalls.

“This is a decision for common sense and we are pleased that Premier O’Farrell has decided to quell the speculation,” said NCEC President Susie Russell.

“There is little doubt that the Government has seen the support and love that National Parks enjoy from a wide spectrum of the community. There has been overwhelming opposition to his decision to allow hunting in National Parks. Logging was clearly a bridge too far.

“We know that there were some inside the Government who actively promoted the Inquiry’s recommendation for ‘tenure swap’ : swapping logged State Forest for unlogged National Park; as a means of shoring up the logging industry. By clearly rejecting that proposal the Premier has taken action to rein in some of the more anti-environment forces that inhabit the Government benches,” Ms Russell said.

North East Forest Alliance spokesperson, Dailan Pugh said that now that the timber industry’s proposal to open up a million hectares of north-east NSW’s national parks for logging has been rejected, the NSW Government must urgently slash timber commitments from State forests down to a sustainable level.

The timber industry has been intentionally logging north east NSW’s public forests well in excess of the identified sustainable yield for the past 15 years. They have been cutting out the future of their own industry.

If the NSW Government wants a hardwood sawlog industry in north east NSW in 10 years time it must immediately reduce logging quotas down to a sustainable level. We expect this will require cuts of more than 50%. The longer the Government waits the deeper the cuts will have to be.

The Government must come clean with the public by releasing last year’s timber review and acting urgently to stop the gross over-logging of publicly owned lands” Mr. Pugh said.

NCEC AGM Stands with Jono

NCEC AGM Stands with Jono

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