Strings attached to $46m Forestry Corporation handout
THE Nature Conservation Council welcomed NSW Government’s announced $46 million subsidy for regrowing plantations post-bushfires, but cautioned that forestry’s impacts on the state’s declining koala populations can’t be ignored.
“It is critical that the government invest in sustainable, well managed plantations. This is the future for forestry,” said Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian.
“Today’s $46 million handout to Forestry Corporation means that taxpayers are subsiding a government agency that is planting pine seedlings with one hand, while destroying koala-habitat with the other.”
“The products that come from our native forests can and should come from plantations. Public funds to Forestry Corporation must come as part of a plan to transition out of native forest logging to a sustainable, plantation-based industry.
“Public money should be invested in state-owned Forestry Corporation, but not if they’re sending koalas to extinction.”
“While Mr Barilaro is handing out pine seedlings, Forestry Corporation are pushing through community blockades to log koala habitat in native forests.”
“Following this summer’s fires, our koalas and threatened species can’t afford to have any more of their habitat bulldozed.”
While the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, claims that investing in the state’s plantations will sequester carbon, numerous studies have shown that carbon stores in conservation forests far exceed harvested forests or plantations.
“The Deputy Premier’s claims of carbon stores are overstated. The best action to protect the climate is to stop logging our native forests.”
“If the area of native forest earmarked to be logged by Forestry Corporation in the next 20 years was left as a conservation forest, approximately 5.2 million tonnes more carbon would be sequestered.
In the wake of the 2019-20 bushfire season, the Nature Conservation Council is calling on the NSW government to:
1. Pause logging in public native forests across NSW.
2. Assess the impacts of the fires on species and habitat.
3. Support logging industry workers with alternative employment options or financial assistance.