Letter: Lodge a submission to protect forests

There is currently proposed legislation for public comment on the EPA website, “Have your say on management of forests”.  Public submissions close on 29 June 2018.  Please put in a submission. There are no public consultation meetings.

The draft Coastal IFOA (Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals) proposes outcome-focused regulation and has moved from a reliance on detailed and prescriptive rules towards stated principles and outcomes to be achieved. However, outcomes do not appear to be measurable and there are no identified outcomes for breaches of this proposed legislation.

This proposed Berejiklian Government legislation appears to be designed to give loggers even more access to our native forests, including right here on the mid-north coast. The previous legislation was stricter in terms of environmental protection, but never enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency here on the mid-north coast when breaches were reported by a community organization, North East Forest Alliance.

The Berejiklian Government only sees our native forests and wilderness as a resource to be exploited for commercial gains.  The website does not argue wilderness has inherent value as an untouched natural resource in terms of biodiversity or for tourism. It has recently been discovered that a wasp in Brazil holds a cure for cancer.  Our biodiversity in this wilderness may be as valuable for medicinal purposes as well.

Obviously, an intensification of forestry logging is being proposed here in disguise. Some of the harvested trees will be used as sawdust to generate fuel! This is not clean fuel, nor is it beneficial to our native wildlife.

We should only be logging single species plantations in order to maintain our current levels of biodiversity.  We know that koala numbers have declined 50% in the last twenty years. The Coalition Government proposed: “To protect threatened plant and wildlife habitat at the local landscape scale, at least 5% of the landscape must be permanently protected in wildlife habitat clumps prior to harvesting.”  What happens to the other 95% of the landscape – intensive harvesting?

It is apparent that the new IFOA is written to benefit loggers to the detriment of our biodiversity, including our koala populations which have halved over the last 20 years.  The only way to protect our wildlife/biodiversity habitat from intensive harvesting practises is not to log any native forests.

Please help keep our koalas safe but typing a few lines in a submission

Colleen Carmody

Port Macquarie

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