Axe to fall on private forests

By BELINDA SCOTT

ANDREW Moran, who operates a sawmill at Lowanna with a staff of 10, says if the Private Native Forestry Draft Code becomes law, 'I'm virtually out of business'.

"You will have to leave so much timber you'd probably lose 70 per cent of your resource," he said.

The Forest Products Association (FPA) has called a rally outside the Grafton Community centre at 11am today and has called on all North Coast landowners, timber community members, mill workers, loggers and millers to join in.

The FPA claim the code will place more than 60 per cent of private forests into reserve. The government estimates about 11 per cent.

The North Coast Environmental Council president Jim Morrison said the code, which places a number of restrictions on logging on private land, would slow down the current panic logging throughout the region, but the draft code had loopholes and did not go far enough.

The Department of Natural Resources will hold an information session on the draft code at Grafton's Community Centre, 59 Duke Street, at noon.

Garth Winton won't be able to make today's rally and information day at Grafton, but he's keen to hear the results.

The Lowanna landholder owns 120 hectares of regrowth forest on the Eastern Dorrigo and he is working on a harvest plan. He also operates a small portable sawmill, and said he would like to see a way of approaching logging which would achieve the aims of the 'green' groups 'with some commercial reality attached'.



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