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Senate Committee warned, new logging laws may mean worse outcomes for forest wildlife

A Senate Committee inquiring into extinctions has been warned that new logging laws may lead to even worse outcomes for threatened species in the south east forests.

The Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications held hearings in NSW this week on its inquiry into Australia’s faunal extinction crisis.

Forest campaigner, Harriett Swift, who is Deputy Convener of the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) was invited to give evidence to the Committee.

Ms Swift said that 50 years of woodchipping in the south east has taken a heavy toll on forest dependent fauna.

“The most intensive logging in NSW and among the most intensive in Australia meant younger, smaller trees which are more uniform in species and size, with fewer hollows for those species that need them for shelter and nests.”

Regional Forest Agreements have exempted logging from Australia’s principal environment protection law, the Environment Protection Biodiversity Protection Act.

She said that while there are laws which are supposed to protect threatened species, they are weak and not adequately enforced. Even when laws are applied, we have no way of knowing whether they work because the impacts are never monitored.

“The situation is made worse by the fact that NSW is the only State where members of the public are banned from prosecuting breaches of logging laws.

“In other States we have seen ground breaking court cases which have forced governments to reassess their approach to logging, but this is impossible in NSW.”

The Senate Committee was initially due to report later this year, but on 29 July 2019, it was granted an extension of time to report to the last sitting day of the 2020 Autumn sittings of the Senate.

Image supplied by South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA)

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