THE Great Koala National Park and calls for an end to native forest logging in the region were major agenda items for the Forest Summit conducted by the Greens.
Federal Greens Senator Janet Rice and State MPs Dawn Walker and Jeremy Buckingham joined Greens members from across the Mid North Coast in Bellingen to discuss forest issues.
"I've been overwhelmed by the beautiful forests in the Bellinger Valley but it's been horrifying to see the destructive logging happening in the region,” Senator Rice said.
"Our forests need to be protected for wildlife, water, carbon, recreational activities and tourism, rather than seen as just a timber resource.
"We should be protecting our native forests rather than logging them.”
Mrs Walker said native forest logging destroys complex ecosystems, pollutes waterways and also denies the community opportunities for sustainable and more lucrative economic activities based on tourism.
"The Greens have re-affirmed our commitment to creating a Great Koala National Park that will see 175,000ha of State Forest added to existing protected areas in the Coffs - Bellingen - Nambucca region,” she said.
"A Great Koala National Park will not only conserve one of the most important koala habitats in Australia but also unleash an economic boom for the Mid North Coast with a range of bushwalking, biking, wildlife watching, accommodation and hospitality opportunities.”