• 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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Bring Department into line Minister

“The Minister for the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), Verity Firth, needs to act immediately to correct misleading statements made to the media last week by her Department” said NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell.

“Last week we disclosed that the DECC had twice refused our Freedom of Information application for details of Private Native Forestry Property Vegetation Plans, (PNF PVPs). A senior departmental office then made media comment that all the information concerning PNF PVPs was on the department’s website and there is no ‘veil of secrecy’ as we claimed.

“The NCEC would hardly be wasting our resources engaging the Environmental Defenders Office to act for us in this matter if all the information was on a public website. The fact is, the only information available are a pair of geographic coordinates, and the area covered by the PVP. There is no information on the area to be logged, the forest types involved, the area protected, threatened species known to the area or whether there has been any re-assessment by the department of oldgrowth or rainforest.

“Last week we saw the Premier stand down a Minister for not providing accurate information to the public. Similar standards should apply to senior bureaucrats who make public statements. The community has a right to expect that we will be told the truth.

“Minister Firth should act immediately to ensure that statements issuing from her Department are true. She may also want to address the issue of transparency in Government. Her Department’s assessment that it is not in the public interest for community environment groups to access this information is reminiscent of the way the old Forestry Commission behaved. It is a sad state of affairs that the Environment Department has now become the problem,” Ms Russell said.

The NCEC is currently waiting on legal advice about pursuing this matter via the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

The Public Register for Private Native Forestry can be found at:

http://www.nativevegetation.nsw.gov.au/registry/pnf_pvp.shtml

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