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Ministerial response to anti-logging petition

A reply has been received from the NSW Minister for the Environment and Andrew Constance MP after lodgement of a community petition by the Dunns Creek Resident action group to prevent the logging of the Dunns Creek area. The reply was written by the EPA on behalf of the NSW Government.

It stated; “The NSW Government in August 2016 recommitted to a sustainable native timber industry. These compartments have been approved for timber harvesting provided the operations comply with the Southern Integrated Forestry Operations Approval or IFOA’s” (also known as Regional Forest Agreements or RFA’s)

Lisa Pfitzner, a member of the Dunns Creek Resident action group said "It then states “the IFOA’s are designed to manage the impact of Forestry operations on environmental values.”

"This clearly indicates how neglectful and unsustainable the IFOA’s that regulate Forestry practices actually are. A total of 18 hours was allocated by Forestry to ecologically survey the entire 400 ha Dunns Creek site, and as forestry ran out of time, east of the creek will not be surveyed! It is deplorable that our government is condoning the logging of an area that contains many endangered species such as the greater glider and the yellow bellied glider, found by a community faunal survey but not by Forestry ecologists, said Lisa Pfitzner

The decision to proceed with logging has disappointed and angered wildlife experts, botanists and over 500 community members who appealed to the Minister for the Environment to sequester it from logging.

"Dunns creek contains now vital habitat for the endangered species dislodged by the completion of logging on the western side of the creek and the areas behind Batehaven and Surf Beach.

"These species still manage to exist in this area, although it was logged only 15 years ago, as it was part of a “visual zone.” There are a lot of big old trees in this area and if removed the gliders and possums living in the tree hollows will be picked off by predators, such as the flock of crows that now hunt the western side of the creek. The thought of all of these defenceless animals dying for the sake of greed is devastating, said Ms Pfitzner

"Our “Unspoilt” Batemans Bay is currently experiencing an unprecedented development boom. Massive areas of land have been clear felled for development of new suburbs and roads."

"In order to protect our native species and natural environment for future generations it is vital the Government save bushland for the purpose of wildlife habitat and for the enjoyment and wellbeing of our community."

"Regular intense logging is leaving our wildlife nowhere to flourish and our forests similar to plantations, with areas of trees being all the same age, waiting to grow old enough to be logged again. "The formation of informal reserves near Bermagui in addition to Victorian Government bowing to public pressure to no longer supply timber to the Eden woodchip mill, has resulted in intensified Forestry operations on the South Coast occurring closer to towns in the bid to maintain quotas, as more remote areas are become logged out and unviable.

"It is clear to me, our Government is only interested in our forests for timber production and is failing to deliver the social and environmental benefits promised in the Forestry industry Road map", said Lisa Pfitzner

"Yes, to the benefit of the timber industry, trees do quickly regrow, however the natural environment needed to sustain a diverse ecological community, does not. It takes at least 80 years for a tree to form the hollows our native wildlife live in. These are exactly the trees Forestry is targeting. It is deplorable the majority of these trees end up as woodchip to be sent to Japan and China via Eden."

"The Dunns Creek resident action group, again implores the Premier, to retain the area east of Dunns creek as a small gesture of public relations, to provide promised “balance” between timber production, community needs and environmental protection. The value of the timber in the area is nothing compared to its value as a remnant of pristine forest. Locals and visitors use this area to unwind and reconnect with nature. It would be stealing an asset from the community to log it."

"The Government must stop logging native forests and cultivate enough timber plantations to sustain the industry. It must, as a matter of urgency, stop the totally unsustainable practice of exempting Forestry operations from environmental law."

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