• 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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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