NSW government support for deforestation will end koalas
Although flora and fauna species took a heavy hit after the Black Summer fires, the NSW government is still pursuing deforestation, writes Sue arnold.
Say goodbye to koalas.
A terrible proposition, but one that will, in due course, be a reality unless state and federal governments are legally or politically restrained from their policies that drive koalas and important biodiversity to extinction.
The political scenario is devastating. Once again, the federal government is try to hit its bill on the amendment of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation by Parliament, enthusiastically supported by the Minister of the Environment Sussan Ley, which claims the bill is a step in the right direction to protect biodiversity and the environment. Essentially, the bill would give state governments approval powers for major projects. Governments whose records show a complete rejection of any protection for koalas or other vulnerable and endangered wildlife.
In early May, the Federal Court rendered a judgment in the Case Friends of the Leadbeater Possum v Victorian Forests which in effect states that the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) is not relevant in terms of Regional forestry agreements described as long-term regional plans for the sustainable management and conservation of Australia’s native forests.
According to Environmental Justice Australia, who represented the Friends, the entire Federal Court bench overturned the historic initial victory in the opossum case for one reason:
Friends apply for level to appeal to the High Court.
In New South Wales, industrial exploitation of the remaining forests will soon be accelerated as the Forestry company is preparing to cut down three critical public forests with large populations of koalas. The three forests include Newry State Forests, Upper Kalang, and Pine Creek. Logging operations are centered around Bellingen Shire, where a distressed and angry community is dismayed by the Inability of the Forestry Company to cope with the continued destruction and unacceptable loss of biodiversity and forests.
It was a meeting that the Board hoped would result in improved communication and engagement of the Company with the Board, the community and other stakeholders struggling with industrial logging in some of the areas. most diverse, intact and unburned forests on the East Coast. :
A scientist comment on Bellingen Shire’s proposed logging operations which will impact nearly 4,000 hectares, said:
The Pine Creek State Forest near Coffs Harbor is a perfect example of the fate that awaits the remaining koala populations. Known as the âkoala nursery,â the major compartments containing healthy populations of koalas are currently in the planning stages of logging by the Forestry Corporation. Communities and koala experts are dismayed by the impending operations. In 2013, a regional summary of koala populations estimated koala numbers to be over 1,000 in the coastal region of Coffs Harbor and north of Bellingen and between 500 and 1,000 in the Coffs Harbor hinterland.
The study suggested that the Coffs / Bellingen population is “the largest regional koala population in this region and possibly one of the largest in the country.”
However, there has not been a koala management plan for the area since 1999. In 2017, the North East Forest Alliance released a report titled ‘Eliminate koalas‘ through Dailan pugh who estimated that over 23,000 hectares of koala habitat near Coffs Harbor had been virtually cleared.
Doing business with the Forestry Corporation isn’t for the faint hearted.
A true descriptor of NSW Forestry Corporation would probably look like this: “Secret organization dealing with confidential contractual agreements, accepting large losses both economically and environmentally, not before any authority other than the national party.”
A sustained effort to obtain important documentation from the Forestry Corporation by AI has proven to be a daunting task. Industrial logging in New South Wales is authorized by the Coastal Integrated Operations Approval (CIFOA), a long document containing the conditions of approval. In addition to CIFOA, another huge document titled ‘Protocols” also authorizes the exploitation of a large number of species of flora and fauna, many of which are listed in the EPBC law and in the annexes of the Biodiversity Conservation Act, 2016 as a vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species.
The CIFOA level of protection for the majority of flora and fauna species is expressed in various tables as âthreatened species and endangered populations considered sufficiently protected by approvalâ. Several pages of flora and fauna are listed under the tables. There is no definition of what exactly “considered to be sufficiently protected by accreditation” means.
Other tables indicate that flora and fauna species require the application of a species-specific condition and site-specific biodiversity conditions. Some tables list flora and fauna requiring specific conditions for each species. Almost none of these conditions are available.
In order to begin âharvestâ, a significant number of species require species management plans. As a result of weeks of effort by IA, who contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responsible for approving species management plans, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) whose mission is to monitor industrial logging and finally the SociÃ©tÃ© forestiÃ¨re, two species management plans have been obtained. Neither the EPA nor the NRC were able to provide the plans; The AI ââwas eventually referred to the Forestry Corporation, which provided the information weeks later.
The Company’s website reveals only two cash management plans.
It appears from intensive research that long tables listing the status of various categories of flora and fauna under CIFOA have been taken from the now defunct Office of Environment Heritage $ 100 million. Save our cash program. The AI ââcould not find a single study of vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered wildlife listed in the CIFOA tables that had benefited from any research after the catastrophic bushfires, which a number of scientists estimated killed or affected more than 3 billion animals.
The SociÃ©tÃ© forestiÃ¨re’s harvest plans are available on their Plan portal website, a site designed to be obscured with tiny colored dots indicating forests under planning, approval, or completion. It is almost impossible to find the relevant information and the harvest plans allow only two days for any objection submission. Forestry activists are required to check the Plan Portal website 24 hours a day to verify which compartments will be registered.
Despite massive and continued protests from the community, the NSW government remains deaf to all concerns. The same scenario is practiced by the federal governments, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
Mayor Dominic King sums up the nightmarish situation:
Sadly, by the time the next election in the state of New South Wales is called, these precious forests will be a thing of the past unless drastic action is taken. No bet on the outcome of the impending federal election.