Milne visit to Bellingen lends support for koala park
JOBS and growth were on the agenda when former Greens leader Christine Milne visited the anti-logging activists gathered on the edge of Gladstone State Forest.
Members and supporters of the Kalang River and Forest Alliance have been blockading the site since February 12 while calling for greater protection of waterways and koala habitat.
Joined by Bellingen Mayor Cr Dominic King and NSW Greens MLC Dawn Walker, Ms Milne drew parallels to the jobs boom in the tourism industry in her home state of Tasmania.
"There's a great opportunity here for the Great Koala National Park,” she said.
"In the Tasmanian wilderness, tourism has become so much bigger than the timber industry.
"People are flocking to Tasmania to experience the wilderness, the high quality food and wine, and this is precisely what you could be doing in NSW.”
The Forestry Corporation of NSW states areas have been set aside areas in Gladstone State Forest for wildlife corridors and buffer zones for soil and water.
"In the areas where we do harvest we identify and protect a range of trees that are retained for their habitat value, such as hollow bearing trees, koala feed trees, and trees to provide seed for the forest to regenerate,” a spokesman said.
"After timber harvesting we ensure that the forest quickly regenerates to provide a renewable timber resource for future generations.
"The fact that our production forests continue to support robust koala populations demonstrate the measures we have in place are providing protection for this important native species.”