20 April 2020

The NSW Government is handing Forestry Corporation $46 million from its $100 million regional grant scheme and there are fears it will lead to a surge in native forest logging. While some of this expenditure is being spent on repairing and expanding nurseries for the radiata pine plantation industry, the money is also slated for road works and other infrastructure that will facilitate logging native forests.

With native forests so damaged during the summer fires we need a state-wide moratorium on native forest logging, not a state government that is putting millions of dollars into logging roads to increase the devastation.

Greens MP and Forests Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“It is disgraceful that at a time when people are still reeling from the loss of native forests in their local area that more money is being given to Forestry Corporation to build roads and other assets to facilitate native forest logging.

“Native forest logging is expensive, unsustainable and right now is completely unjustifiable.

“The $46 million of public money to Forestry Corporation should be clearly quarantined to ensure it is not used to log any more of our precious native forests.

“There is plenty of work to be done in the nurseries and replanting plantation forests which are the economic and jobs backbone of this industry and this must be the focus for these funds. Some of the money is going to those purposes and that is positive.

“The loss-making destruction that is native forest logging must now end, we cannot keep asking the taxpayer to pay to log and then woodchip these forests at an environmental and economic loss.

“With over 82% of habitat for some endangered species burned, habitat fragmentation and billions of animals killed in the fires these forests are essential reservoirs of biodiversity and will be critical tourism assets after pandemic conditions pass.

“Victorian estimates show that ending native logging there immediately rather than in 2030 would save $192 million for taxpayers there and a similar figure would apply here.

“This money would be better spent helping regional communities recover from the dual hits of the fire season and pandemic conditions and move towards genuinely sustainable and profitable industries,” Mr Shoebridge said