Penality for logging breaches
THE North East Forest Alliance has accused Forests NSW of ignoring licence conditions at a logging site west of Casino because it knows it will not be prosecuted by other Government agencies.
Last week, Fisheries NSW issued two penalty infringement notices to Forests NSW for breaches of its Fisheries Licence at Yabbra State Forest.
The breaches included logging in exclusion and buffer zones of unmapped drainage lines.
Forests NSW was fined $1000.
The agency was also cautioned for ‘marking, recording and harvesting’ within wetland exclusion zones.
But NEFA spokesman Dailan Pugh said this was not good enough.
“It is reprehensible that Forests NSW was only fined once for numerous breaches on many streams of three separate licence conditions that prohibited logging and burning of stream banks,” he said.
“Like anybody else, Forests NSW should be fined for each individual breach. These buffers on stream banks are required to be implemented to protect water quality and, in this case, the habitat of the endangered eastern freshwater cod.”
Mr Pugh said the breaches would cause ‘erosion and degradation of fish habitat’.
He also said Forests NSW ‘flaunted’ most conditions aimed at reducing erosion and stream pollution ‘as they know that the other government agencies won’t prosecute them when they stuff up’.
But a spokesperson for Industry and Investment NSW – which incorporates both Fisheries and Forests – said the breaches at Yabbra presented a very low risk to the environment and to the habitat of aquatic threatened species.
“Fisheries has carried out periodic audits and investigations and is currently developing a program to improve delivery of general aquatic biodiversity outcomes during harvesting operations and infrastructure development,” the spokesperson said.
“The NSW native forests industry is one of the most highly regulated in the world.”