Showing posts with label biodiversity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label biodiversity. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Barilaro, the stealthy empire builder in 2020


When Liberal MP for Willoughby Gladys Berejiklian was sworn in as Premier of New South Wales on 23 January 2017, Nationals MP for Monaro John Barilaro (left) had already been Deputy-Premier under Bruce Baird for 38 days.


On 30 January 2017 Berejiklian made Barilaro Minister for Regional New South Wales. Twenty-six months later Berejiklian expanded this ministerial portfolio into the Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade.


On the same day Barilaro’s regional portfolio was expanded, Berejiklianestablished the new Department of Regional NSW to better coordinate support for communities, businesses and farmers in the bush.


The new department headquartered in Queanbeyan acts as a central agency that brings together functions from the Department of Planning Industry and Environment cluster and, is being led by Secretary Gary Barnes, formerly the Coordinator General, Regional NSW, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.


The departmental workforce is expected to eventually reach around 5,000 employees, according to its Linkedin entry.


John Barilaro said the department will bring together Primary Industries, Local Land Services, Resources and Geoscience and regional coordination across government…..it is imperative we have a government designed to properly support every corner of this State.


What this means for regional communities is that Barilaro has gathered into his ministerial portfolio the processes for carrying forward increased land clearing, increased native timber logging on private and Crown land, as well as further exploration and mining in regional NSW. 


Water security has also been included in this portfolio - which would cover planning for future water storage and water diversion.


Based on Berejiklian Government promotional material for the Department of Regional NSW it is clear that Barilaro now sits atop a portfolio which holds in its departmental domain an est. 40 per cent of all NSW residents, in around 99 local government areas which produce approximately one-third of the total NSW gross state product.


Barilaro has gathered his own party members as minsters with responsibilities within the department - Nationals MLA for Northern Tablelands and Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales Adam Marshall and Nationals MLC and Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor.


There does not seem to be a NSW Liberal Party politician within cooee of the new regional department.


Five months after becoming New South Wales regional czar, John Barilaro began to flex his muscles with threats to destabilise the Berejiklian Government and the political koala war briefly erupted.


One cannot escape the suspicion that Barilaro is not seeking to raise the profiles of those mere 18 National Party members in the 134 member NSW Parliament, but is intent on creating an alternative state government situated in regional New South Wales. 


Reading Mr. Barilaro's personal and political history as played out in the media, it is evident that he is a moderately wealthy former local government councillor & businessman, unashamedly ambitious, erratic, a dogwhistler since the beginning of his political career, willing to resort to threats and name calling, flouts the road rules at will, has long been happiest pulling the house down around the ears of government agencies in the name of  'reform', is willing to put his bootheel on the neck of north-east NSW and, apparently intends to keep pushing Gladys Berejiklian until she breaks.


Image: Newscolony.com


Monday, 16 November 2020

Meet the wannabe Koala killers of the Clarence Valley


Clarence Valley's very own wannabe koala killers. From left to right: Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons, Federal Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan, General Manager of Operations for Big River Group in Grafton Jason Blanch, Big River Group CEO Jim Bindon and  NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis. IMAGE: Clarence Valley Independent, 11.11.20











Clarence Valley Independent, 11 November 2020:


A major restructure of Big River Group’s operations will see 20 new jobs created in the Grafton area while up to 50 will disappear from the Riverina region.


One of the Clarence Valley’s largest timber companies, Big River Group currently has two main operating facilities located in Junction Hill and Wagga Wagga.


Unfortunately, following the Black Summer bushfires, the long term supply of logs for their operations in southern NSW was severely impacted and it became apparent there was insufficient log resources in the Tumut region to sustain the Wagga Wagga facility, leading to a decision to consolidate operations at Junction Hill, where a sustainable supply of hardwood and softwood logs exist to supply productions.


Big River Group has recently been successful in securing a $10 million grant, provided through the Bushfire Industry Recovery Package, co-funded by the NSW and Federal Governments and matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the business, to assist in consolidating its operations and enhance the Junction Hill site.


Big River Group CEO Jim Bindon and General Manager of Operations for Big River Group in Grafton Jason Blanch were joined by Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons for the official announcement on November 4.....


Mr Hogan said the announcement was “a wonderful day for the Clarence Valley and our timber industry.”


We know the industry was devastated by the bushfires last year and this is all about creating jobs in our local region and it ensures the viability of the industry,” he said.


Along with the capacity to create 20 new jobs, Mr Hogan also said the $20 million project secures the jobs of the current 60 full time employees.


This is terrific,” added Mr Gulaptis.


It means more jobs in the Clarence Valley and Big River Group can continue on with the great work that they do.


Grafton is a timber town, Big River Group have been here for decades, they’re an integral part of our community and we want to see them here well into the future.”…..


The Wagga Wagga facility will cease operations in 2021.


Big River Group Pty Ltd (formerly known as Big River Timbers Pty Ltd) was registered as a company on 28 July 1920.  It original company profile indicates it was possibly a local family-owned business. 


It is now a subsidiary of Big River Industries Ltd, registered as a company on 18 December 2015 in Victoria. It became a public company in January 2017.


Among the current Big River Industries and Big River Group officeholders there is only one who resides in the Clarence Valley.


What the Big River Industries tells its shareholders


"Big River operates Plywood and value adding factories at both Wagga Wagga and Grafton in NSW, areas amongst the most severely impacted regions of the devasting [sic] bushfires experienced over the 2019/20 summer period. Both areas saw significant losses of forest estates as part of these fire events. This has fundamentally changed the resource supply availability to the business, requiring a change to the Company’s manufacturing asset configuration. 


Whilst the Northern NSW log resource at Grafton, that the Company accesses under supply agreements with Forest Corporation of NSW (FCNSW), will recover or can be compensated from other forest compartments within the region." 


In ASX releases Big River Industries Limited admits to revenue of $249 million (up 14%) in 2019-20 and an after tax profit of $4,444,257. It also states an expectation in its last annual report that it will expand in the future.


In the aforementioned quote Big River Industries - which in this state sources some or most of its timber from the state-owned  Forestry Corporation of Australia - is admitting that forests in the Clarence Valley were "severely impacted" by the 2019-2020 bushfire season.


In fact at least half the forest canopy overall was partially or fully affected in New South Wales fire grounds according a NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment report.


Further Big River Industries hints it expects to take advantage of the additional biodiverse forests areas that were opened up by the Berejiklian Coalition Government for the benefit of its Forestry Corporation.


You know, those native tree stands, which coincide with forested land already identified as habitat suitable for or currently containing North Coast koala populations.


Big River Industries may only have two plywood production sites however one of these is at Grafton.


The principal plywood it makes includes timber from native hardwood trees and, the Clarence Valley contains the bulk of native hardwood timber trees remaining in North East New South Wales. These trees are frequently found in predictive koala habitat on Crown and private land.


According to its 2020 annual report Big River Industries has active business interests in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, West Australia and New Zealand.


Although its assets are widespread, the apparent greed of its board of directors and shareholders means that it will not even allow the Clarence Valley two years grace before it starts buying up timber freshly felled in sensitive, biodiverse habitats likely sited outside of state forests. 


Want to tell Big River how unimpressed you are with their actions? 


Here are some contact details: 

Jim Bindon (CEO and Managing Director) Ph: (02) 6644 0903 

e: jbindon@bigrivergroup.com.au 


Or directors Malcolm Jackman (Member of Anacasia Capital Business Advisory Council), Martin Kaplan (investment director of international private equity firm Anacasia Capital), Vicky Papachristos (professional company director) and Brendan York (Chief Financial Officer & Secretary, Enro Group Ltd a international company) c/- 61 Trenayr Road, Junction Hill NSW 2460 Phone: (02) 6644 0900 Fax: (02) 6643 3328 Postal: PO Box 281 Grafton 2460


Then of course there are the wannbe kola killers hiding within international and domestic financial corporations and banks as well as self-managed superannuation funds which brought Big River . 


 

Top 20 Shareholders as of 30 June 2019


The question some valley residents have been voicing recently is why NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis is enthusiastically supporting the Big River Group and, why on behalf of the timber industry he appears to be knowingly seeking the extinction of the koala in 

the Clarence Valley.


It seems to be a social and political relationship with another timber business which impels this politician.


The head of the Notaris family strongly disliked the idea that koala habitat 

should be protected from loggers and his family's sawmill. He even went so far as to publicly oppose a Labor candidate in the Clarence electorate and support the Nationals incumbent Chris Gulaptis during the 2015 

state election campaign because Labor had pledged to create the Great 

Koala National Park.


Chris Gulaptis read his friendship with Spiro Notaris into the NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard on 18 February 2016.


J. Notraris & Sons Pty Ltd is still operating a timber business specialising in hardwood in South Grafton today and, like most 

National Party politicians Gulaptis is more about helping out mates than acting in the public interest.





Thursday, 29 October 2020

Want to know if your local state MP voted to drive the koala to extinction in New South Wales? Names and electorates are noted here

 

 Koala resting, Bangalow area NSW
IMAGE: 
Northern Rivers Community Foundation

In early September 2020 the NSW Nationals parliamentary party threatened to leave the Berejiklian Coalition Government and move to the Independent benches in the NSW Legislative Assembly, the Lower House of the NSW Parliament, if the NSW Liberal parliamentary party did not agree to effectively gut State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019.


Although there were only 12 members of the National Party sitting in the Legislative Assembly, Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian caved into this threatening political posturing within days.



On 21 October 2020 members of the NSW Berejiklian Government in the Lower House voted on the Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020.


All the National Party members of the NSW Legislative Assembly were present for the vote.


This is the Hansard record of that final third reading vote placed in alphabetical order with members’ electorates identified:


AYES


Anderson, K – Nationals (Tamworth electorate)

Barilaro, J – Nationals (Monaro electorate)

Bromhead, S – Nationals (Myall Lakes electorate)

Cooke, S (teller) – Nationals (Cootamundra electorate)

Gulaptis, C – Nationals (Clarence electorate)

Johnsen, M – Nationals (Upper Hunter electorate)

Marshall, A – Nationals (Northern Tablelands electorate)

Pavey, M – Nationals (Oxley electorate)

Provest, G -Nationals (Tweed electorate)

Saunders, D – Nationals (Dubbo electorate)

Singh, G – Nationals (Coffs Harbour electorate)

Toole, P – Nationals (Bathurst electorate)


Ayres, S – Liberal (Penrith electorate)

Berejiklian, G – Liberal (Willoughby electorate)

Clancy, J – Liberal (Albury electorate)

Conolly, K – Liberal (Riverstone electorate)

Constance, A – Liberal (Bega electorate)

Coure, M – Liberal (Oatley electorate)

Crouch, A (teller) – Liberal (Terrigal electorate)

Davies, T – Liberal ( electorate)

Dominello, V – Liberal (Ryde electorate)

Elliot, D – Liberal (Baulkham electorate)

Evans, L - Liberal (Heathcoast electorate)

Gibbons, M – Liberal (Holsworthy electorate)

Griffin, J – Liberal (Manly electorate)

Hancock, S – Liberal (South Coast electorate)

Hazzard, B – Liberal (Wakehurst electorate)

Henskens, A – Liberal (Kur-ring-gai electorate)

Kean, M – Liberal (Hornsby electorate)

Lee, G – Liberal (Parramatta electorate)

Lindsay, W – Liberal (East Hills electorate)

Perrottet, D – Liberal (Epping electorate)

Preston, R – Liberal (Hawkesbury electorate)

Petinos, E – Liberal (Miranda electorate)

Roberts, A – Liberal (Lane Cove electorate)

Sidgreaves, P – Liberal (Camden electorate)

Sidoti, J – Liberal (Drummoyne electorate)

Smith, N – Liberal (Wollondilly electorate)

Speakman, M – Liberal (Cronulla electorate)

Stokes, R – Liberal (Pittwater electorate)

Taylor, M – Liberal (Seven Hills electorate)

Tuckerman, W – Liberal (Goulburn electorate)

Upton, G – Liberal (Vaucluse electorate)

Ward, G – Liberal (Kiama electorate)

Williams, L – Liberal (Port Macquarie electorate)

Williams, R– Liberal (Castle Hill electorate)


McGirr, J – Independent (Wagga Wagga electorate)


Butler, R - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (Barwon electorate)

Dalton, H - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (Murray electorate)

Donato, P - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (Orange electorate)


I invite readers to remember these names at the next NSW state election on Saturday, 25 March 2023.


Koala joey riding on its mother's back
IMAGE: Environmental Defender's Office

Friday, 14 August 2020

What little Koala habitat remaining in NSW is being logged right now


https://youtu.be/3JKA5ZoRDD4


Wildlife rescuer and arborist Kailas Wild shows us evidence of koalas in the middle of a logging operation in the Lower Bucca State Forest on the NSW North Coast.

The bushfires burnt over 2 million hectares of koala habitat and yet the state-owned logging agency Forestry Corporation is right now cutting down unburnt forests that koalas call home.

The NSW Government has the power to stop this destruction. We need to create a groundswell of support for protecting koala habitat. If more people know this destruction is happening and raise their voices in protest, we can work together to ensure our koalas are not forgotten.


Sunday, 12 July 2020

The Great Barrier Reef is a nursery for Queensland & News South Wales fisheries and we are still failing to adequately protect its coral structure and marine biodiversity


"Healthy coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on earth, providing valuable and vital ecosystem services. Coral ecosystems are a source of food for millions; protect coastlines from storms and erosion; provide habitat, spawning and nursery grounds for economically important fish species; provide jobs and income to local economies from fishing, recreation, and tourism; are a source of new medicines, and are hotspots of marine biodiversity." [UCSanDiego, Scripps Insitution of Oceanography]

Go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation website and you be presented with links to a "Kids Corner", visual tours and various 'projects', some of which were unrealised or unsuccessful.

A website visitor will also find that the foundation has not published online an annual report since 2018 - the year the Turnbull Government announced that this small foundation was to receive $443 million dollars in federal funding.

However, it did publish the Annual Work Plan 2019-2020.

The Foundation rarely rates a mention in the mainstream media these days. 

This is the latest news report is from The Guardian on 11 July 2020:

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has raised only $21.7m out of a target of $357m in donations more than two years after it was awarded the largest single environmental grant in Australian history. 


It has prompted Labor to call for greater transparency from the foundation about its fundraising, while the Greens have said the figure “makes a mockery of the government’s logic” for awarding the grant. 

The charity controversially received $443m for reef projects in 2018, with the government defending its decision at the time by saying the private foundation would leverage the funds to attract further investment in reef restoration and science from the private sector. 

The foundation released an investment strategy in October 2018 that set a target of $357m to be raised over five years, bringing the total reef investment to $800m.  
The target is made up of $200m in contributed funds from research and project partners, and $157m in cash donations from a capital campaign ($100m), corporate giving ($50m) and individual donations ($7m). 

In response to questions from Guardian Australia, the foundation said it had raised $21.7m in in-kind donations from research and project partners, about 6% of the total $357m target. 

It has raised none of the $100m from the capital campaign and refused to provide any figures to show how it was tracking towards targets for corporate giving and individual donations. 

A spokeswoman said the Covid-19 pandemic had now “made the fundraising environment more challenging and uncertain for many not-for-profits across Australia and around the world”. 

In-kind contributions are non-cash donations, which a foundation spokeswoman said included things such as a farmer donating time to work on a water quality project, or a project partner supplying equipment such as a boat. 

“Cash is what we need to fund science projects and offer grants for community projects,” said Peter Whish-Wilson, the Greens senator who chaired a parliamentary inquiry into the awarding of the grant. 

“The kind of funds they’re seeking, yes it’s potentially lumpy and can take time to raise. But I would have thought they would have at least $50m to $100m by now. 

“It makes a mockery of the government’s logic and intent giving nearly half a billion of taxpayer money to a small private foundation on the basis they would raise dollar for dollar co-contributions from the private sector.”.... 

“Our fundraising target was $157m, of which $100m was to support the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program which was launched in April 2020,” the foundation’s managing director, Anna Marsden, said in a statement to Guardian Australia. 

“With this program now finalised and as per the strategy outlined in the collaborative investment plan, fundraising revenue is expected to start to be realised from the third year of the partnership.” 

However, the investment plan states the foundation had intended to raise 60% of that $100m across years two (2019-2020) and three (2020-2021) of the strategy. 

The foundation refused to answer questions about how much it had raised of the remaining $57m made up of corporate giving and individual donations. 

The foundation’s spokeswoman told Guardian Australia there had been some donations in these categories but the organisation would not be supplying figures.....

Read the full artcile here.

BACKGROUND


https://youtu.be/E1BvLMhQLZA 

Drone footage captures tens of thousands of sea turtles off Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 29 June 2020: 

Literally cooked in hot water—what happened in the latest mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.... 

Coral bleaching is no longer rare, and no longer confined to a few tidal pools. 

Instead, mass coral bleaching, in which many reefs are affected, has now occurred on the Great Barrier five times in the last 23 years. Three of these events were within the past five years, most recently in the summer of 2020. Bleaching is happening much more frequently, and much more intensively. My colleagues at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, and I—along with many others—have been studying these coral bleaching events in an effort to find out more about what factors are driving corals to bleach, whether the Reef can overcome them by itself—and what humankind can hope to do to help the corals. The findings, so far, are bleak—even more so than when I first wrote about coral bleaching for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2016.... 

Corals are most at risk of such thermal stress in high summer, when water temperatures are at their local seasonal maximum. 

They live only 1-to-2 degrees Celsius (about 1.8-to-3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) below their threshold for heat tolerance, so unusually warm waters over a matter of even just a few weeks is sufficient to cause them to bleach.... 

Different coral species respond to thermal stress differently, with the fast-growing branching corals more susceptible, and slower-growing massive corals more tolerant. The appearance and makeup of coral communities after severe bleaching becomes flatter and less diverse as the corals responsible for the complex three-dimensional structures succumb more readily to heat stress. 

There are obvious follow-on effects to the reef-associated organisms which rely on live, healthy corals for their survival. Restoring a reef to its healthy pre-bleaching state is possible but it takes time: time for surviving corals to regain their algal partners and continue to grow; time for coral larvae to be produced on the reef or be imported from nearby unaffected reefs. 

About 10 years without disturbance is required for such recovery and this is just not happening on the Great Barrier Reef. Since 1985, a unique long-term monitoring program has regularly assessed the condition of a subset of reefs. Measurements of the amount of hard coral cover show that the Great Barrier Reef can recover from disturbances such as bleaching, tropical cyclones, Crown-of-Thorns Starfish outbreaks and diseases but that there are limits to their ability to bounce back; overall, there has been a widespread ratcheting down of coral cover. Almost every part of the Great Barrier Reef has suffered some major environmental disturbance in recent times. 

And there is nowhere for the corals to hide.....

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Australian National Audit Office found the federal environment department has been ineffective in managing risks to the environment, that its management of assessments and approvals is not effective, and that it is not managing conflicts of interest in the work it undertakes


The Guardian, June 2020:

The government has failed in its duty to protect the environment in its delivery of Australia’s national conservation laws, a scathing review by the national auditor general has found.

The Australian National Audit Office found the federal environment department has been ineffective in managing risks to the environment, that its management of assessments and approvals is not effective, and that it is not managing conflicts of interest in the work it undertakes.

The report also finds a correlation between funding and staffing cuts to the department and a blow-out in the time it is taking to make decisions, as highlighted by Guardian Australia.

The review, which comes in advance of the interim report on Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, has prompted renewed calls for the establishment of an independent national environmental regulator.

It is the sixth audit of the department’s administration of the EPBC Act.

The report examined how effective the department had been in administering referrals, assessments and approvals under the Act, which is the main decision-making work for developments likely to have a significant impact on nationally significant species and ecosystems.

Despite being subject to multiple reviews, audits and parliamentary inquiries since the commencement of the Act, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s administration of referrals, assessments and approvals of controlled actions under the EPBC Act is not effective,” the report concludes.

Among its findings, the auditor found the department could not demonstrate that the environmental conditions it set for developments were enough to prevent unacceptable risk to Australia’s natural environment.

Of the approvals examined, 79% contained conditions that were noncompliant with procedures or contained clerical or administrative errors, reducing the department’s ability to monitor the condition or achieve the intended environmental outcome.

The report also found that a document the department is required to produce to show how the proposed environmental conditions would produce the desired environmental protections was in most cases not being written.

From a random sample of 29 approvals from 2015 to 2018, the auditor found this document had not been produced in 26 cases.

In further findings, the audit concluded:
  • environmental assessments were not being undertaken in full compliance with procedures and decisions were being overturned in court;
  • the department is failing to keep key documents related to its decisions;
  • the department has been failing to meet statutory timeframes for decisions. This has been markedly the case since 2014-15 when the number of decisions made within legal timeframes dropped from 60% to 5% in 2018-19. This correlated with cuts to staff in the department who could assess development proposals
  • the department is not properly monitoring if developers are meeting their environmental conditions;
  • briefing packages written by the department when assessing environmental management plans for developments did not contain any consideration of other statutory documents under the Act that are supposed to protect threatened species, including recovery plans;
  • the department has not established any guidance or quality control measures for assessing the effectiveness of environmental offsets. It also has not mapped where all of its approved environmental offsets are, meaning they cannot be properly tracked;
  • agricultural clearing is rarely being referred to the department for assessment under national law;
  • potential conflicts of interest are not being managed, despite the existence of sound oversight structures;
  • the average overrun of statutory timeframes for approval decisions in 2018-19 was 116 days.
This report is a scathing indictment of the federal government’s administration of our national environment law and highlights why we need a stronger law and a new independent regulator,” said James Trezise, a policy analyst at the Australian Conservation Foundation....

In advance of the interim report, due next week, the government has expressed a desire to streamline approvals and cut so-called “green tape”.

But environment groups said the audit confirmed Australia’s laws were “fundamentally broken”.

The Wilderness Society’s Suzanne Milthorpe said the findings showed a “catastrophic failure” to administer the law and protect the environment.

This report shows that the natural and cultural heritage that is core to Australia’s identity is being put at severe risk by the government’s unwillingness to fix problems they’ve been warned about for years,” she said.

It shows that even when the department is aware of high risks of environmental wrongdoing, like with deforestation from agricultural expansion, they are unwilling to act.

The Morrison government announced last week that they want to load this failed system up even further by slashing approval times in the name of slashing ‘green tape’. But this audit shows that the current system is not capable of making good decisions, let alone quick ones.”....

Note

Referrals, Assessments and Approvals of Controlled Actions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [the ANAO audit] can be found at 
https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/referrals-assessments-and-approvals-controlled-actions-under-the-epbc-act.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis: a portrait of political ignorance


Extract from an email sent by NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis (former surveyor, property developer, local government councillor) on 20 May 2020:

Timber harvesting operations take place in around one per cent of State forests each year, which is around 0.1 per cent of forested land in NSW.

Well managed, sustainable timber harvesting operations provide the essential renewable building products our communities need to rebuild following the recent fire season, from power poles, to timber bridge and house frames.

By ensuring an ongoing wood supply, we will help maintain local jobs when they are most needed and meet the critical timber supply needed to rebuild our local communities.

Our forests have been harvested and regrown many times over the past 100 years. Importantly, they have also successfully recovered from bushfires before.

A small number of selective harvesting operations that commenced prior to the fires have continued under the strict regulations governing native forestry in NSW.

These rules require Forestry Corporation to set aside large areas of habitat in every operation they carry out. These rules have been developed by expert panels of scientists to ensure wildlife populations continue to thrive alongside sustainable timber harvesting.

However, the primary focus is on salvaging what timber can be recovered from those badly burnt parts of the forest. These are areas so severely affected by fires they are largely devoid of any habitat. Forestry Corporation is also preparing to embark on a massive re-planting program to recover this estate.

Well, how does one reply to a pottage of misleading statements about a timber industry rife with rule breaking and environmental vandalism?

Firstly the Forestry Corporation of NSW controls more than two million hectares of native and planted state forest in New South Wales and, annually it takes an est. 2.5 million m3 of sawlogs and around 2 million tonnes of pulpwood from these forests, which means it supplies an est 14% of Australia's timber product. This year to date the Forestry Corporation has harvested est. 1.21 million m3 of timber product.

Secondly, on a regular basis the timber industry racks up warnings and fines. As little as four weeks ago the NSW Environment Protection Authority announced that the Forestry Corporation had been fined $31,100 for failure to abide by conditions immposed concerning avoidance of environmentally sensitive areas and retention of habitat trees.

Thirdly, perhaps a few images will clearly show that even after severe bushfires, in the absence of chainsaws and logging trucks, trees will begin to recreate "habitat".

All photographs found at Google Images
And then there is this aspect.....

ABC News, 29 January 2020:

Research has also shown forests that are logged post-fire and then regenerated have an increased risk of burning in high-severity crown-scorching fires. 

This extra fire risk lasts for about 40 years after logging. That is, a burnt forest which is logged tomorrow will still carry an elevated fire risk in 2060. 

A global review published in 2009 showed that links between logging and elevated fire risk is a problem seen in wet types of forests worldwide. 

In 2016, an Australian study published by the Ecological Society of America found tree fern populations crashed by 94 per cent after post-fire logging..... 

Many burnt trees that look dead now will re-sprout in the next few weeks or months. This is already occurring in the burnt coastal forests of NSW. 

These recovering trees must not be logged. They are essential for the survival of animals like gliding possums — research shows that these animals are unlikely to return to forests that are logged immediately after burning for 180 years (if they can return at all). 

Heavy logging machinery will kill many of the plants that germinate in the nutrient-rich bed of ashes on the forest floor. 

Animals that have miraculously survived in burnt areas can also be killed in logging operations. 

Pioneering research from southern Australia has shown that fungi and nutrients in soils can take up to a century or even longer to recover from salvage logging. 

Mass movement of soils in areas logged post-burn can choke rivers and streams and trigger fish kills as well as kill many other kinds of animals....

The Guardian, 6 May 2020:

A group of senior Australian scientists have warned in an international journal that logging native forests makes fire more severe and is likely to have exacerbated the country’s catastrophic summer bushfires. 

In a comment piece published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the scientists call for a clearer discussion about how land management and forestry practices contribute to fire risk. 

The article by the scientists David Lindenmayer, Robert Kooyman, Chris Taylor, Michelle Ward and James Watson comes amid intense debate about the resumption of logging in Victoria and New South Wales in bushfire hit regions..... 

In the comment piece, the scientists say much of the conversation in the aftermath of the spring and summer bushfires had rightly focused on climate change, but the impact of land management and forestry on fire risk was often neglected in these discussions. 

They highlight this as a concern because land management policy was “well within the control of Australians” and the fires had been used by some sectors of the industry to call for increased logging in some areas. 

The paper says industry data showed that some 161m cubic metres of native forest was logged in the period from 1996 to 2018. 

“Beyond the direct and immediate impacts on biodiversity of disturbance and proximity to disturbed forest, there is compelling evidence that Australia’s historical and contemporary logging regimes have made many Australian forests more fire prone and contributed to increased fire severity and flammability,” the scientists write. 

This occurs because logging leaves debris at ground level that increases the fuel load in logged forests. It also changes forest composition and leaves these areas of forest both hotter and drier, they say. 

The article says during the bushfire season fire had spread from logged areas adjacent to old growth eucalypts and rainforests in the Gondwana world heritage reserves..... 

The Daily Examiner, 25 May 2020: 

The public was recently invited to comment on a draft code of practice – the “rule book” – for private native forestry. 

The CoP has been in place for about 15 years, with the current draft resulting from the mandatory five-yearly review. 

With the stated aim of ensuring ecologically sustainable forest management, one would expect any review to focus on that aim but unfortunately that has not been the case. 

Ecologists and conservationists have two major concerns, the first being that, while there are provisions to protect threatened flora and fauna that are known to inhabit the proposed logging areas, there is no requirement to actually look for them. 

In fact, unless there is an ­official record of a threatened species on the property, it is assumed they don’t occur there. 

The second concern is a lack of compliance monitoring and enforcement, for which there is certainly a wealth of evidence. 

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, possibly it relates to a lack of political will to take action against the industry at large. 

Perhaps it is a case of under-resourcing, poorly drafted legislation open to interpretation or all of the above but the fact remains that flouting of the code’s regulations is widespread. 

Two years ago, the Clarence Environment Centre reported one local case where a PNF ­operator broke virtually every rule in the book – literally hundreds of breaches. 

Logging on creek banks, in swamps, on rocky outcrops and on cliff edges. 

Snigging tracks were constructed on excessive slopes and across gullies, erosion control measures were inadequate, threatened species had been trampled by machinery and rubbish such as oil drums and tyres were left littering the landscape. 

The investigators spent days on site confirming the ­reported breaches and finding additional ones, yet almost two years later no action has been taken against the culprits and with the two-year statute of limitations looming, the case will likely be dropped. 

Unless operators are held to account, how can we have any faith in the supposed aim of Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management? 

John Edwards, Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition