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

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

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

NCEC Fire Forum - 'Let's Talk About Fire', Saturday 28 March 2020, Whiporie General Store, Whiporie, NSW 2469 at 10:00 am – 4:00 pm AEDT




NCEC Fire Forum - 'Let's Talk About Fire'
Are you concerned about what the Australian Fires, the government inquiries and the Royal Commission will mean for our forests and native wildlife?
As well as the devastating impacts to life and property, the recent, unprecedented wildfires have resulted in extensive losses of our precious biodiversity from the mountains to the sea. Given the increasing impacts of global heating, such extreme climatic events are likely to become more frequent in the future. This North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) event is specifically targeting conservation groups and individuals who care about nature to come together to discuss the way forward to assist the restoration of habitats, recovery of our flora and fauna and planning to better protect our biodiversity from future catastrophic events. The NCEC have enlisted a number of expert presenters who will provide information on key aspects of bushfire planning for biodiversity outcomes. Learn about the extent of our biodiversity losses and discuss ways to mitigate the impact that similar future events will have on our precious flora, fauna and cultural values.
When: Saturday March 28, 2020
Time: 10am - 4pm
Where: Whiporie Hall, 5351 Summerland Way, Whiporie, NSW 2469
Between Grafton and Casino on the Summerland Way
Fee: $15 include morning/afternoon tea and lunch, concession $10
Speakers
  • Dailan Pugh OAM - What we’ve lost, flora, fauna and EEC’s
  • Dr. Rob Kooyman - Fire in Gondwana Rainforest
  • Ian Dixon - Community response from the Mt. Nardi fire
  • Oliver Costello - Firesticks Alliance - Cultural Burning
  • Maria Mathis - Koalas, planning for fire
  • Dr. Wayne Somerville - The 2019/20 Bushfire Trauma:
  • Recovery and resilience for people and forests
  • Dr. Graeme Douglas - Threats to conservation as a result of wildfires reviews /enquiries
Q&A Session
Booking is essential by 26th March 2020
Please email through any special dietary requirements to Jim Morrison: pactec@harboursat.com.au
Contact: Jim Morrison
Ph: (02) 6664 5233

Organiser of NCEC Fire Forum - 'Let's Talk About Fire' is North Coast Environment Council IncFormed in 1976, it is the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW, covering the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Environmental Defenders Office analysis of the new planning policy for koalas in NSW finds legal safeguards flawed


Koalas are found in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales and are particularly vulnerable following the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season.

Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), 20 February 2020:


NSW planning policy for koalas falls short of the legal safeguards needed to protect the iconic animals and their habitats. 

By Cerin Loane, Senior Policy and Law Reform Solicitor, and Rachel Walmsley, Policy and Law Reform Director, Sydney 

A new NSW SEPP – State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019 – is due to commence on 1 March 2020. With koala numbers having been in decline in NSW over the past two decades, a revised Koala SEPP had been highly anticipated as an opportunity to bolster legal protections for koalas. Frustratingly, the finalised Koala SEPP does little more than tinker around the edges. The fact remains that NSW laws fall far short of providing tangible protection for koalas. And with koala populations and their habitats significantly impacted by the summer’s devastating bushfires, it’s going to take more than just a few revisions to provide our koalas and their habitats the real legal protection they need.

The status of koalas in NSW 

Koalas are currently listed as a vulnerable threatened species in NSW, meaning there is a high risk of extinction in the medium-term.[1] Additionally, individual populations at Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens on the lower north coast, between the Tweed and Brunswick Rivers east of the Pacific Highway in the Northern Rivers area and within the Pittwater Local Government Area in northern Sydney are listed as endangered populations.[2

Accurately estimating koala numbers is difficult. Despite regulations, policies and community initiatives, overall koala numbers in NSW are in decline. In 2016, the NSW Chief Scientist relied on the figures of Adams-Hoskings et.al. in estimating approximately 36,000 koalas in NSW, representing a 26% decline over the past three koala generations (15-21 years).[3] We note however that other reports suggest koala numbers are even lower than this.[4

These estimates were made before the catastrophic bushfire events of this summer, which have been devastating for koalas, with estimates showing that more than 24% of all koala habitats in eastern NSW are within fire-affected areas.[5] Many people are asking how our environmental laws can help conserve and restore vulnerable wildlife at this time – this is something that EDO continues to look at as we start to move forward from the events of this summer (see our response to Australia’s climate emergency). 

A new state environmental planning policy is one legal tool intended to help koalas, but on our analysis the SEPP will remain largely ineffective in addressing the exacerbated threats currently facing them. It took just weeks for almost a quarter of koala habitat in NSW to be burnt in the bushfires, while it has taken the NSW Government 10 years to simply update the list of relevant koala habitat trees in the SEPP. The need for enforceable and effective laws is now more urgent than ever. 

Key changes to the NSW Koala SEPP[6

On 1 March 2020, NSW State Environmental Planning Policy No 44 – Koala Habitat Protection (SEPP 44)[7], which has been in place since 1995, will be repealed and replaced by a new State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019 (new Koala SEPP).[8] SEPP 44 will continue to apply to development applications made, but not finally determined, before 1 March 2020.[9

SEPP 44 aims to protect koalas and their habitat, but its settings are weak and not targeted at the type or scale of projects with highest impact. Additionally, the problematic definitions of core koala habitat and potential koala habitat are adopted by other legislation (including the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act) and the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act)), where they are used as a benchmark for triggering processes and regulation relating to land clearing and development assessment.[10

EDO has been calling for changes to SEPP 44 for the best part of a decade. In December 2010, EDO wrote to the Government on behalf of Friends of the Koala noting that SEPP 44 ‘is in urgent need of reform’.[11] In 2016, the Government announced a review of SEPP 44.[12] EDO made a submission on the Review of the Koala SEPP outlining our key concerns with its operation and making recommendations for improvement.[13] It wasn’t until fires began burning across the state late last year that the Government announced the release of the new Koala SEPP, just days before Christmas.

Despite recommendations that the Government consult on the text of a draft SEPP and any relevant guidelines or supporting material following its 2016 review, the final SEPP was made without any additional consultation; but it does address a number of stakeholder concerns. Most significantly, it updates the definition of ‘core koala habitat’ and removes the problematic concept of ‘potential koala habitat’, instead relying on mapping (a new Koala Development Application Map and new Site Investigation areas for Koala Plans of Management Map) to initially identify koala habitat. However, certain legal mechanisms still apply only to core koala habitat.[14

The new SEPP also updates the list of feed tree species in Schedule 2, used to help identify koala habitat, from 10 species to 123 species, categorised into 9 distinct regions. Other key changes include: 
  • Removing the requirement for site specific plans of management (in instances where a comprehensive Koala Plan of Management is not in place), instead requiring decision-makers to take into account new standard requirements in a Koala Habitat Protection Guideline. Concerningly, the Guidelines have not yet been seen, there are no formal requirements for developing the Guidelines (e.g. no requirements for community consultation or peer review) and the standards within the Guidelines are not mandatory – the new Koala SEPP requires only that they be taken into account. 
  • Moving provisions relating to how local environment plans and other planning instruments should give effect to protection to koalas from the SEPP to a new Ministerial planning direction (which is yet to be made).
Ongoing concerns 

There are also a number of key concerns that have not been addressed by the new Koala SEPP. For example: 
  • No areas of koala habitat are off-limits to clearing or offsetting – NSW laws do not prohibit the clearing of koala habitat. Despite declining koala numbers and the devastation caused by this summer’s fires, NSW laws still allow koala habitat to be cleared with approval. The new Koala SEPP simply requires decision-makers to ensure development approvals are consistent with koala plans of management (PoMs) or, if a PoM is not in place, that the (yet-to be-made) Guidelines are taken into account. If our laws are to truly protect koalas and their habitats then the approval process must not allow important koala habitat to be offset or cleared in exchange for money, in the way that the NSW Biodiversity Assessment Method does. Rather, all development that has serious or irreversible impacts on koala habitat must be refused. 
  • The requirement for councils to prepare Comprehensive Koala PoMs remains voluntary – Due to the slow uptake by councils (only 5 comprehensive PoMs have been finalised since SEPP 44 commenced in 1995),[15] EDO has previously recommended that the preparation of comprehensive koala PoMs (CKPoMs) be mandatory (i.e. the SEPP require that draft CKPoMs be prepared and exhibited within a particular timeframe). 
  • The new Koala SEPP still only applies to limited types of development – As was the case with SEPP 44, the new Koala SEPP still only applies to council-approved development. This means that the new Koala SEPP does not apply to the wide range of development and activities that can impact on koala habitat, including complying development, major projects (State significant development and State significant infrastructure), Part 5 activities (e.g. activities undertaken by public authorities) and land clearing activities requiring approval under the LLS Act. 
  • The 1 hectare requirement has not been removed – The arbitrary threshold of 1ha for triggering SEPP 44 has been carried over to the new Koala SEPP. Excluding sites below 1ha from the Koala SEPP leaves small koala habitat areas, particularly koala habitat in urban areas, without adequate protection. The 1 hectare requirement also contributes to cumulative impacts and can reduce connectivity across the landscape by allowing small patches to be cleared. 
  • Climate change considerations have been overlooked – The review of SEPP 44 provided an opportunity to incorporate requirements to identify and protect habitat and corridors that will support koalas’ resilience to more extreme heat and natural disasters, even if there is no koala population in those areas now, however there is nothing in the new Koala SEPP that specifically addresses climate change. 
  • Monitoring and compliance requirements have not improved – There are no new requirements relating to monitoring, review, reporting and compliance in the new Koala SEPP. 
The future for NSW koalas 

The new Koala SEPP highlights the overarching deficiencies in NSW laws to provide genuine protections for wildlife and nature. The way our laws are designed, very little is off limits to development or activities such as urban development, mining, and agriculture. While environmental laws provide processes for assessing environmental impacts, at the end of the day weak offsetting laws and discretionary decision-making powers allow destructive activities to go ahead to the detriment of our wildlife and natural resources. Contradictory policy settings in NSW laws mean that laws aimed at conserving biodiversity and maintaining the diversity and quality of ecosystems (such as the BC Act) are undermined by other legislation that facilitates forestry, agricultural activities and developments (such as the LLS Act, Forestry Act 2012 (Forestry Act) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)). 

Many of the recent initiatives by the NSW Government to address koala conservation have focused mainly on funding and policy, without substantial legislative or regulatory reform to increase legal protections for koala populations and habitat. The new Koala SEPP is no exception. While some improvements have been made, particularly in relation to the definition of core koala habitat, overall many concerns remain and the Koala SEPP is unlikely to result in improved outcomes for koalas. 

Until our laws are strengthened to truly limit or prohibit the destruction of koala habitat, koala populations and their habitat will continue to be at risk and koala numbers will continue to decline in NSW, possibly to the point of local extinction. 

Footnotes 

[1] Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, s 4.4(3) 

[2] See www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=20300; www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=10615 and www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=10614 

[3] NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Report of the Independent Review into the Decline of Koala Populations in Key Areas of NSW, December 2016 above no 6, citing Adams-Hosking, C, McBride, M.F, Baxter, G, Burgman, M, de Villiers, D, Kavanagh, R, Lawler, I, Lunney, D, Melzer, A, Menkhorst, P, Molsher, R, et al. (2016). Use of expert knowledge to elicit population trends for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Diversity and Distributions, 22(3), 249-262. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12400 

[4] See, for example, Paull, D., Pugh, D., Sweeney, O., Taylor, M.,Woosnam, O. and Hawes, W. Koala habitat conservation plan. An action plan for legislative change and the identification of priority koala habitat necessary to protect and enhance koala habitat and populations in New South Wales and Queensland (2019), published by WWF-Australia, Sydney, which estimates koala numbers to be in the range of 15,000 to 25,000 animals. In 2018, the Australian Koala Foundations estimates koala numbers in NSW to be between 11,555 and 16,130 animals, see www.savethekoala.com/our-work/bobs-map-%E2%80%93-koala-populations-then-and-now 

[5] See Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Understanding the impact of the 2019-20 fires, https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/parks-reserves-and-protected-areas/fire/park-recovery-and-rehabilitation/recovering-from-2019-20-fires/understanding-the-impact-of-the-2019-20-fires 

[6] See https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Environment-and-Heritage/Koala-Habitat-Protection-SEPP 

[7] See https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/1995/5 (Note – This link is unlikely to work after 1 March 2020, however the former SEPP will be able to be found on the NSW legislation website under repealed EPIs (environmental planning instruments)) 

[8] See https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2019/658 

[9] State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019, section 15 

[10] As noted earlier in our submission, for example, for the purpose of the land management regime under Part 5A of the Local Land Services Act 2013, category 2-sensitive regulated land (on which clearing is more strictly regulated) is to include ‘core koala habitat’.

[11] EDO NSW Submission on State Environmental Planning Policy No 44 – Koala Habitat, December 2010, available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/edonsw/pages/3547/attachments/original/1485908888/Attachment_A_-_2010_EDONSW_SEPP_44_Submission_for_FOK.pdf?1485908888 

[12] See https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/State-Environmental-Planning-Policies-Review/Draft-koala-habitat-protection-SEPP 

[13] See https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/edonsw/pages/3547/attachments/original/1485908884/170131_Koala_SEPP_44_Review_Submission_-_FINAL_to_DPE.pdf?1485908884 

[14] For example, under clause 9 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019, which applies to development on land for which no PoM is in place, the Guidelines will not apply if a suitably qualified and experienced person provides information that the land is not core koala habitat. 

[15] There are only approved plans for five council areas, and a further nine Councils who have drafted or undertaken koala habitat studies See https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/native-animal-facts/koala/koala-conservation

IF NORTH COAST VOICES READERS WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A MODEST DONATION TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDERS OFFICE THEY CAN DO SO AT: 

https://www.edo.org.au/help-us-become-a-formidable-force-for-justice/

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Australian Forestry Industry: these future eaters need to be stopped



Australia is the world's smallest continent with a land area of 149,450,000 km2 completely surrounded by ocean.

It is not by accident that the vast majority of its est. 25.6 million strong population live along its fringes - that's where most of the forests and rivers are.



What you see on this map represented approximately 3 per cent of the world’s forests in 2016 and, globally Australia was the country with the seventh largest forest area.

It is estimated that when British-Europeans first came to Australia in 1788, forests covered one-third of the continent - a total of around 49,811,685km2

This had fallen to less than one-fifth or 19 per cent by 2006. At that time more than 16,500 plant and 3,800 animal species had been identified as forest-dependent.

Ten years later Australia​ had only 134 million hectares of forest remaining, covering 17 per cent of its land area. 

In the 228 years between 1788 and 2016 under the policies, legislation and regulations of successive federal, state and territory governments a total of 24,405,185km2 of predominately tall trees had disappeared under the forester's and farmer's axe, never to return.

The eating of Australia's future continues to this day as projections suggest that by 2030, another 3 million hectares of untouched forest will have been bulldozed in eastern Australia.

That's on top of the tree cover lost in the 2019-20 bushfire season when over 5 million hectares of forest and grassland burned - with 100 per cent of tree canopy lost in some areas of the vast firegrounds.

Combined forest burnt in New South Wales and Victoria this fire season has been estimated in one study as 21 per cent of Australia's entire remaining forest cover.

Yet despite what has been lost and the uncertainty surrounding what might regrow due to the continuing stressful heating and drying of the Australian continent caused by climate change, the forestry industry is pushing hard to expand its activities further into state forests, nature reserves and national parks.

The relentless, selfish greed of this industry needs to be called out for what it is - a collective madness.

If you would like to see the federal government and east coast state governments reign in this madness, please express your views to your local state & federal members of parliament and to the following:

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT 2600

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT 2600

The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales, 
GPO Box 5341, SYDNEY, NSW 2001 
willoughby@parliament.nsw.gov.au 

The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment, 
52 Martin Place, SYDNEY, NSW 2000 
hornsby@parliament.nsw.gov.au 

The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland, 
PO Box 15185, CITY EAST, QLD 4002 
thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au 

The Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, 
GPO Box 5078 BRISBANE, QLD 4001 
environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au 

The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria, 
Office of the Premier, Level 1, 1 Treasury Place, EAST MELBOURNE, Victoria 3002 
daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au 

The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, 
Level 16 8 Nicholson Street, EAST MELBOURNE, Victoria 3002 
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au 

The Hon Peter Gutwein MP, Premier of Tasmania, 
Ground Floor, Public Building, 53 St John Street, LAUNCESTON, Tasmania 7250 peter.gutwein@dpac.tas.gov.au 

Roger Janesh MP, Minister for Environment and Parks, 
GPO Box 44 HOBART, Tasmania 7001 
roger.jaensch@parliament.tas.gov.au