Independent NSW MP Justin Field has slammed an announcement by NSW Forestry Corporation that they will recommence logging in badly burnt South Coast forests within weeks.
The move comes despite warnings by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) that a return to logging without special conditions to minimise environmental impacts in burnt forests would likely breach NSW forestry laws and despite an agreement for the Independent NSW Natural Resources Commission to conduct a review into burnt forest logging rules.
The EPA released a statement that it has “increased its regulatory presence” after Forestry Corporation wrote to the EPA advising of their withdrawal from negotiations around post-fire logging rules and intention to revert to logging under old forestry rules.
This move is the latest in a public fight between the EPA, Forestry Corporation and the Department of Regional NSW, controlled by the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.
Last year the EPA issued a series of stop-work orders on Forestry Corporation for unlawful forestry operations in burnt forests as a result of community reports.
Independent NSW MLC and South Coast resident Justin Field said, "this is a gross act of bad faith by Forestry Corporation and John Barilaro as Forestry Minister.
"Forestry Corporation has been guilty of systemic breaches of logging rules on the South Coast which led to stop work orders and numerous investigations and an agreement to seek an independent assessment of what rules should apply in these burnt areas by the NSW Natural Resources Commission.
"Restarting logging now will all but destroy what little social licence this industry has left on the South Coast and will ultimately destroy the resource they rely on”, Mr Field said.