South Coast koala park call

RELATED CONTENT: Flora reserves announced

Photo: John Hamparsum

Photo: John Hamparsum

The South East Forest Alliance says koala Flora Reserves announced this month between Bermagui and Bega, by the NSW Government, do not go far enough to protect koala habitat on the South Coast and has called for an extensive Koala Park to be created from Nowra to the Victorian border.

Convenor of the South East Forest Alliance, Noel Plumb said while the NSW Government’s was a “feel-good” announcement it did not go far enough, and left koala habitat and corridor around Batemans Bay open to heavy logging.

“The Flora Reserves are welcome, however a big area of state forest near Batemans Bay, which is also important koala habitat and forms a koala corridor is now going to be decimated to compensate the logging industry,” he said.

“This area needs protection immediately if this announcement by the NSW Government is going to mean the long-term recovery of the koala population. Even with the Flora Reserves the small and vulnerable population is only one wildfire away from being wiped out.”

Mr Plumb said community groups, National Parks and the NSW Government had come this far, it was now just a small step to create a truly meaningful reserve, a South Coast Koala Park inn the national park estate, but the logging industry was still holding the government and the environment to ransom.

He said it was clear the environment was not a clear winner at all and that the announcement made way for:

The intensification of clear-fell logging for woodchips in the Batemans Bay forests on the upper South coast so that woodchip supply will be maintained to the Eden Chipmill in the far south.

The destruction of habitat in the upper south coast forests for Koala restoration and many endangered and threatened species of wildlife still just hanging on – such as the large forest gliders, microbats, possums and parrots which depend on big, old gum trees for food and shelter.

Many more logging trucks on the Princes Highway for hundreds of kilometres from near Nowra and Batemans Bay all the way down to Eden 

Waste another $2.5 million of NSW taxpayers’ money on subsidising logging truck travel time, money ripped out of the NSW Environmental Trust Fund that supposedly assists genuine conservation outcomes, not for propping up a dinosaur industry that is heading for extinction.”

“The Government should immediately end native forest logging and put most of the State Forests into a South Coast Koala Park with specific management objectives and real funding – starting with the $2.5 million to be thrown away on trucking subsidies and the millions lost every year for the last 10 years on south coast logging.”

John Perkins, for SEFA group Friends of Durras said, “It is simply unacceptable that the Batemans Bay forests be targeted for yet more intensive logging. We have already seen a marked acceleration in the rate and intensity of logging over the last few years which is destroying wildlife habitat and effectively turning our wonderful natural forests into pseudo plantations favouring current “commercial” species. It is drying out the forests and making them more prone to wildfires that threaten our coastal communities.”

Now, they are going to increase the intensity of heavy logging traffic along the Princes Highway with the inevitable increase in accidents, including fatalities and lifelong disabilities, involving tourists, local people and wildlife. It will be devastating for people and wildlife.”

Prue Acton for SEFA group Natural Native Forests said, “The flora reserves simply reflect the reality that intense community opposition including direct forest protests and blockades to these areas over the past five years have held the Forestry Corporation and its logging contractors at bay. Our goal of a rapid end to all native forest logging looks more financially and environmentally responsible every day.”

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