The Forestry Bill 2012 which was passed by the NSW Legislative Council will establish Forests NSW as a profit-making body with little regard for the environmental value of the forests in its care.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The O’Farrell government is transforming Forests NSW from a custodian of two million hectares of precious native forest, to a profit-maximising venture with even less environmental safeguards.
“The statutory obligation for Forestry NSW to preserve and enhance our forest resources above all else has been removed. Instead, decentralisation, economic efficiency and profit are now given equal weight with environmental protection.
“Under this legislation, entire state forests could be managed for private profit. This is shameful treatment of public assets that belong to this and future generations.
“The legislation also allows private and public ‘Land Managers’ to be appointed to manage entire state forests.
“The appointment of Land Managers who can ‘control and manage’ the land as they see fit is a gift for the Game Council.
“Under this legislation, Land Managers could approve activities such as trail bike riding, resort developments and even hunting.
“Indeed, the mention in the legislation of Land Managers conserving fauna ‘other than feral animals’ suggests that the Game Council may be being lined up as potential Land Managers.
“It would be a disaster for the pro-hunting, pro-gun lobby group, the Game Council, to assume the role of custodians of our state forests,” Mr Shoebridge said.