The Beagle Editor, Fire the Invisible Man, and mechanically remove the Bushfire Bomb Friends of Durras have called for the immediate sacking of Nick Roberts, CEO and Executive Director of Forestry Corporation of NSW. Nick Roberts has been in charge of the NSW Forestry Corporation for 13 years. During this time, the logging around coastal communities in this State has been steadily and dramatically increasing the bush fire risk. Spokesperson for Friends of Durras, Alec Marr, said “Despite years of warnings and calls for change from fire experts, fire fighters and neighbouring communities, the Forestry Corporation has pushed ahead with a reckless logging programme, increasing bushfire risk wherever they go. “We don’t need any more information to know that Nick Roberts should be fired immediately.” Mr Marr dubbed Nick Roberts “… the Invisible Man. Millions of hectares of land have been burnt on his watch. There is no apology from him, no explanation, no commitment to learn from mistakes - the only way to know where he has been is to look for the trail of bushfires!” From November last year, before the Currowan fire ignited, the Friends of Durras have been calling for urgent action to remove the tonnes of waste left by the Forestry Corporation of NSW after logging in Benandarah State Forest, identifying this as a major bushfire risk. The group was ignored. Mr Marr said “The Currowan fire started on State Forest land, roared through logging slash just like that of Benandarah, before slamming into private properties and National Parks - including the northern section of Murramarang National Park. The fire raged for 74 days terrorizing residents and visitors, killing wildlife and destroying lives, homes and businesses. “During this time the logging waste in the Benandarah State forest was a bushfire bomb. This particular logging activity was especially stupid - they logged right to the edge of the Princes Highway, in close proximity to two petrol stations, and left 100 tonnes per hectare of wood waste to dry out during the worst bushfire season in Australia's history.” Mr Marr emphasised that this fire season is by no means over yet. “There’s great concern in Durras, Surfside, Maloneys and Long Beach, all villages in the potential fire path. Think about it - the only thing between the logging debris fuel loads lining the Princes Highway and these communities is two petrol stations!” The Independent MLC Justin Field, and the Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance have both demanded a clean-up of the Benandarah site. Minister Constance, having experienced the horrors of the bushfire season first hand, directly criticised those who created this dangerous mess: “ … the silence is deafening from these people. Where is Nick Roberts, coming out and explaining to the community, what's happened, why it has happened, and why they were not able to remove this residue that was left from their operation?". (WIN News, 28 Feb 2020) The Friends of Durras echo his call for the Forestry Corporation to accept responsibility and to commit to changing future logging practice to ensure community safety. “In the meantime, we need immediate action to clear the logging waste from Benandarah State Forest, and we need new management at the helm of the Forestry Corporation to achieve this!” said Mr Marr.
Above: Alec Marr stands in front of waste left after logging Benandarah State Forest (taken Feb 2020) Friends of Durras