John Van Der Kallen presented at NSW Parliament House at the launch of the Forests For All: Case for Change event organised by the National Parks Association. The meeting highlighted the NSW government changes in zoning laws which allow clear felling of old growth forest. DEA supports the Forest for all Plan as the way to protect remaining NSW forests.
This event was organised by the National Parks Association and sponsored by Hon Alex Greenwich, independent MP for Sydney. Hon Dawn Walker from the Greens also presented. Hon Liesl Tesch from the Labor party was also present.
The Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs) are coming to an end. These have dictated how our forests have been used over the last 20 years. The easy position is for the government is to renew the RFAs for another 20 years. However, the RFAs have failed to protect forest, failed to protect biodiversity and have not resulted in a sustainable forestry industry. Currently there are unsustainable timber quotas which will result in further damage to our forests.
In fact, the NSW government is proposing to change the zoning of previously protected forests which will result in clear felling of old growth forest along the NSW coast. They are running out of available forest to maintain the unsustainable timber quotas. The Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IOFA) are a disaster. This is Koala habitat. Ironically (and cynically) the NSW government has located $45 million to help protect Koalas. Yet the NSW government is happy to allow 2200 hectares of forest to be cleared each year. That is more than a whole football season of football grounds!
This is from the NPA:
“The maximum size of legal clearfelling in northern NSW under the old IFOA was 2,500m2, or 0.25ha (defined under Australian Group Selection). The new proposals will see a maximum size of 45ha - a 180-fold intensification of logging - throughout a 140,000ha zone with 2,200 hectares allowed to be clearfelled each year. It is not credible to suggest that an escalation of intensity of this magnitude can be driven by anything other than the prioritisation of timber extraction over conservation. This is recognised in several places by the expert panel, for example: “the intensive harvesting zones are being formally introduced to prop up an unsustainable wood supply arrangement at the expense of the environment”.
We encourage members to write a quick submission to the NSW government rejecting the new laws and advocating for the NPA Forest For All plan. Submissions can be done here: https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/forests
CLOSING JULY 13
The Forest For All Plan can be found here. It is a well thought out plan that will protect our forests and allow access for all sorts of activities from bush walking to 4WD activities. It has the potential to create more jobs than forestry as well as more money for the government (currently the NSW subsidises the forest industry). Please support this plan as it appears the best way to protect our remaining forests.
All forest and especially old growth forest are essential for our health. They provide clean water and clean air as well as mitigate against the effects of climate change. Forest have been shown to improve our health. They reduce stress, anxiety, pain and blood pressure. They can improve wellbeing as well as our Natural Killer cell numbers (these cells fight off cancer). Many medications are derived from nature and new ones are being found such as a potential therapy for cancer from native truffles! If the current forest is not protected we will loose this precious resource.