Conservationists fear previously restricted areas will be opened up for logging if it ‘maintains or improves’ ecological outcomes under the State Government’s new Ecological Harvesting Plans.
Conservationists fear previously restricted areas will be opened up for logging if it ‘maintains or improves’ ecological outcomes under the State Government’s new Ecological Harvesting Plans.

'Orwellian' logging plans

PLANS to allow logging in endangered ecological communities on private land will be disastrous for threatened local ecosystems, the North Coast Environment Council says.

Under draft guidelines for the State Government’s new Ecological Harvesting Plans, previously restricted areas will be opened up for logging if it will ‘maintain or improve’ ecological outcomes.

A community consultation period for the guidelines closed on Monday.

Jim Morrison, president of the North Coast Environment Council, described the proposal as ‘Orwellian’.

“Industrial logging of endangered ecological communities to ‘improve their health’ is just like scientific whaling. It’s a complete con that is designed to disguise destructive environmental vandalism,” Mr Morrison said.

“If implemented the guidelines proposed by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water would create a massive loophole in the native vegetation controls and development laws, allowing logging to be used as a precursor to facilitate later clearing and development.

“The guidelines do not even require the most basic scientific survey or assessment prior to approving industrial logging.

“We are calling on the NSW Government to immediately withdraw the guidelines, and not to open up our most endangered ecosystems to further damage and destruction.”

Mr Morrison said the Northern Rivers had patches of threatened swamp sclerophyll terrain and sub-tropical floodplains forest containing valuable timber that were in real danger. “The thought they could be logged back to health is absolutely crazy,” he said.

Mr Morrison said the department had been ‘captured’ by a forestry industry desperate to find private land to log as suitable public land was exhausted.

The department did not respond to our questions before deadline yesterday.



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