• 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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100,000 HECTARES APPROVED FOR LOGGING UNDER VEIL OF SECRECY

The North Coast Environment Council has today raised the alarm about logging on private lands, with more than 100,000 hectares approved for logging by the Department of Environment and Climate Change statewide in just 10 months, under a veil of secrecy.

“We have grave concerns about the implementation of the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice by the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC),” said Ms Susie Russell, vice-president of the North Coast Environment Council.

“In just 10 months they have approved 108,492 hectares of forests in NSW for logging. That equates to 517 football fields of forest approved for logging or patch-clearfelling each day for the last ten months.

“It is being done under a veil of secrecy. Logging approvals are not subject to the same public accountability provisions as clearing approvals, and the Department has twice refused a Freedom of Information request by NCEC to gather some basic information on the implementation of the Code.

“The grounds on which the Department refused the Freedom of Information request were spurious and very ill-considered. Their claim that there was no public interest in releasing the information is nothing short of outrageous.

“The logging approvals they issue operate for up to 15 years and suspend the operation of the threatened species laws. They can allow logging in areas mapped as oldgrowth forests, rainforests or endangered ecological communities.

“DECC has made getting a logging approval a tick the box exercise, and some areas that were protected under the previous regime are now being opened up for logging. No site inspections are required and no routine monitoring is carried out.

“Concerned members of the public have no-one to turn to. The agency that was once an environmental champion is now the logging advocate. NCEC is being contacted by people across the region who are distraught and frustrated at the situation.

“Logging results in a net loss of carbon from forests. It leads to invasions of weeds and feral animals and destroys threatened species habitats. Logging water catchments results in major reductions in water supply and reduces water quality.

“It seems the Department is completely out of touch with the community and think the public has no legitimate interest in this matter. As we hurtle towards runaway global warming the community has a stronger stake than ever in the future of our fragile forests.

“ Their health is central to our ability to survive the global warming that is already in the system. Resilient, healthy forest ecosystems are a crucial buffer against the impacts of climate change on both humans and the environment. Many threatened species already on the brink will not survive if their habitat continues to be destroyed at the current rate,” Ms Russell said.

released June11

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