Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Berejiklian Government accused of timber fraud on NSW North Coast

North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), 27 August 2018:

 The North East Forest Alliance has accused the NSW Government of fraudulently claiming a shortfall in high quality logs available from State Forests in north-east NSW to justify their wind-back of environmental protections and intention to log oldgrowth forest and rainforest.

NEFA today released a review of timber yields and modelling for north-east NSW over the past 20 years that has identified a number of serious problems with yield estimations and allocations from the region that will be referred to the Auditor General.

"The most significant issue revealed is that the Government has removed hardwood plantations from yield calculations to concoct a yield shortfall to justify removing environmental protections, while apparently intending to reallocate plantation timber to low value products for export" says report author Dailan Pugh.

"According to the Government's data there is absolutely no need to log oldgrowth forests, or to remove other existing environmental protections to satisfy current timber commitments.

"The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) turned an identified surplus of 37,000 cubic metres per annum of high quality sawlogs from State Forests in north-east NSW over the next hundred years into a claimed deficit of 8,600 cubic metres per annum by simply excluding hardwood plantations from their calculations.

"The NRC's claim that 'it is not possible to meet the Government’s commitments around both environmental values and wood supply' is based on a lie. Nowhere do they identify that they excluded plantations. They did this to create the pretence of a shortfall.

"Plantations already provide some 30,000 cubic metres(14%) of high quality hardwood log commitments per annum, with yields projected to increase up to 75,000 cubic meters of high quality logs per annum into the future.

"NSW Taxpayers have spent $27 million just since 2000 establishing hardwood plantations explicitly to provide high quality logs to take the pressure off native forests.

"It is outrageous that the Government has excluded plantations to concoct a shortfall in timber from State Forests in order to justify increasing logging intensity, reducing retention of habitat trees, removing protections for numerous threatened species, halving buffers on headwater streams, as well as now opening up oldgrowth forest and rainforest protected in the Comprehensive Adequate and Representative (CAR) reserve system for logging.

"The Government recently issued an Expression of Interest for 416,851 tonnes per annum of low quality logs from north-east NSW, of which 219,000 tonnes (53%) is apparently to be obtained by downgrading all timber from the 35,000 ha of north-east NSW's hardwood plantations to low quality logs and committing them in new Wood Supply Agreements aimed at the export market.

"Three NSW Environment Ministers (Parker, Stokes and Speakman), along with the Environment Protection Authority, repeatedly promised that the new logging rules (Integrated Forestry Operations Approval) would result in no net change to wood supply, no erosion of environmental values, and no reductions in the CAR reserve system.

"Instead of honouring their promises, in a blatant ploy the Government has changed the wood supply, by surreptitiously excluding plantations, to justify erosion of environmental values and reductions in the reserve system.

"NEFA calls upon the NSW Government to honour their promises by reinstating the intended role of plantations in providing high quality sawlogs to take the pressure off native forests, and to use the resultant timber surplus to reinstate the environmental protections they are intending to remove", Mr. Pugh said.

Port News, 28 August 2018:

I noticed in the report by the NSW Government DPI’s principal research scientist, Dr Brad Law, which was published in the Port News on August 1that he claims recent audio recordings of male koalas in the hinterland of our state forests revealed evidence of up to 10 times the previously estimated occupancy.

Well obviously if this was the first time audio study of male koalas in the breeding season had been carried surely finding any koalas at all would be an increase in findings. The Australia Koala Foundation showed that one male koala 'Arnie' a dominant male occupied a home range of 43 hectares in area so no doubt the study took precautions to not record the same koala in other of the 171 sites.

Each site however did not always record even one or two scats. The evidence proves only 65% of the 171 sites tested held one koala and the scats do not prove in any way a home colony had even once existed at these sites.

Dr Law rejoices that in his study that heavily logged, lightly logged and old growth forest areas showed similar results which seemed to suggest that logging of our NSW State Forests has no effect on koala numbers.


In a study by the recognised koala expert, Dr Steve Phillips, commissioned by our own PMHC he found that most of the suitably sized koala food trees have already been logged out.

So WTF do they eat?

This no harm heavily logged forest claim by Dr Law will get a real test soon when the NSW Government introduces intensive logging in “Regrowth B” area. A map obtained under GIPA by the North Coast Environment Centre indicates 142,818 ha. of our north coast state forests between Taree and Grafton will be clear-felled.

Any small trees left will be hauled away to the soon be established Biomass Plants at Taree, Kempsey and Grafton and now it seems a new “renewable energy” diesel manufacturing plant at Heron’s Creek. “Renewable” meaning over the next 100 years.

Any regrowth in the intensively logged forests will likely be sprayed and Blackbutt monocultures planted.

Oh, and so no damage is done to the forest populations of koalas and protected animals and plants small clumps of forest will be left.

How a male koala will roam to the next paradise island of the living dead to breed without being attacked by wild dogs or run over by logging trucks is not discussed in the literature.

Even Dr Law did not bother to defend his government’s offset scheme which will according to evidence presented at the PMHC Koala Roundtable result in local extinction of koalas in the Port Macquarie local government area…..

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