PROTESTS targeting the state government’s forest policies are expected at the Hello Koalas koala conference in Port Macquarie on Thursday, June 7.
The No Electricity From Forests (NEFF) will call on other conservation groups from across the mid north coast to join them in boycotting what they have dubbed a ‘green washing’ exercise designed to hide the true impacts of the NSW government’s forest policies, including wholesale industrial scale logging and clear felling.
“It has nothing to do with preserving our threatened koalas, nor does it take account of an accelerated warming planet and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Frank Dennis, spokesperson for the group, said.
“We view the recent public announcements on so called koala conservation measures and the new logging regimes revealed in Integrated Forestry Operation Approvals (IFOA’s) on public display, as showing a complete disregard for koala habitat needs with a host of other serious shortcomings, including consideration of the future of forests as important carbon sinks and refuges for forest dependent animals and plants likely to be affected by climate change.”
Mr Dennis said those who are interested in koala conservation must accept that habitat destruction and fragmentation is the greatest threat to their continued survival.
“The climate cause and the issue of koala survival are intimately linked through the timber industry woodchipping large areas of forests, pelletising and burning for them for electricity production – a low value use and one that contributes to dangerous planet warming pollution,” he said.
“The forestry corporation plans will destroy forest habitats on a previously unimagined scale. The plan will intensify logging of both public and privately owned forests with minimum regulations or none, clear felling larger and larger areas of forest effectively strip mining them to produce mono-cultured simplified forests, predominantly fast growing blackbutts, suited only for large scale industrial machinery.
“No amount of government sponsorship and funding of koala festivals organised by slick public relations firms expressing concern about the future conservation and protection of koalas can cover the fact that the government through pursuing its current policies will soon remove huge swathes of forests currently home to large numbers of koalas and other tree dependent animals and plants.
“The program for this conference simply confirms that this is a public relations exercise.
“People need to wake up to the real agendas at work here otherwise it will be “goodbye koalas” and a different sort celebration - not a festival but a wake.”
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