Bob Brown (centre) pictured with supporters after speaking at the Byron Community and Cultural Centre.
Bob Brown (centre) pictured with supporters after speaking at the Byron Community and Cultural Centre. The Northern Star.

Northern Rivers the new Tassy?

GREENS Senator Bob Brown has issued a warning about the timber plantation industry's interest in Northern NSW.

“If they are saying Northern NSW is the new Tasmania, you should be very worried,” Senator Brown said.

Senator Brown was in the region on Saturday as part of his speaking tour of the east coast.

Northern NSW currently has 160,000 hectares of plantation timber, according to Upper Clarence Landcare estimates, and the industry has plans to rapidly expand its activities in the region.

He said the timber industry had destroyed communities in Tasmania because they took valuable 'food growing land' and turned it into quick-growing timber plantations for export.

“The town of Preolenna has been destroyed by the industry,” he said.

“The farmers are gone, the schools are gone, the shops are gone.”

He said the tax incentives which drive the timber plantation industry should be stopped.

Senator Brown also spoke of how parts of the east coast of Australia would be under water by the middle of the century if global warming continued at its current rate.

He said 700,000 properties on the coast would be affected by the rising sea levels. For every metre the sea rose an estimated 100 metres of foreshore would be lost.

“If all the ice caps melt the seas will rise by 85 metres,” he said.

Senator Brown also spoke about ways Australia could reduce its carbon emissions.

“We could cut emissions by 20 per cent tomorrow if we stopped logging native forests and woodlands.

“And if we undertook modest energy efficiency programs, instead of six TVs in each house, just one, instead of three fridges, just one, and by running fewer cars we could reduce our emissions by another 20 per cent,” he said.

During his talk Senator Brown called for the restoration of the rail link between the North Coast and Queensland.

Greens MLC Ian Cohen said he was concerned by the local timber industry's use of chemicals when establishing plantations and had raised the issue with Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald.

Senator Brown gave a lecture to 250 people at Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre.

He was also the guest-of-honour at a dinner held in Lismore City Hall on Saturday night.



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