Wednesday 13 February 2013


O'Farrell Government Plans to Log National Parks

Last year the O'Farrell Government caved in to the Shooters and Fishers Party and announced it would allow recreational hunters into some of the state's National Parks.  Now it is planning to open up national parks in the north east of the state to logging. 

In a Media Release issued on 11th February North East Forests Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson Dailan Pugh said, "The Forest Products Association are asking for over a million hectares of north-east NSW's National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas to be made available for logging. So far they have identified over 100,000 hectares of 43 specific reserves they want revoked.

"In the Northern Rivers the loggers have so far singled out 12 reserves they want to be wholly or partially revoked for logging: Wollumbin, Mebbin, Nightcap, Goonengerry, Guy Fawkes River, Chaelundi, and Nymboi-Binderay National Parks, and Wollumbin, Whian Whian , Bungawalbin, Butterleaf, and Chaelundi State Conservation Areas.

"The O'Farrell Government is currently assessing the timber resources in these reserves with a view to opening them up for logging."

In mid-December NEFA wrote to the Northern Rivers State Members (MPs) of Parliament (all members of the National Party which is in coalition with the Liberals as the State Government) asking if they supported "logging within, or revocation for logging of, any National Parks, Nature Reserves or State Conservation Areas on the far North Coast of NSW". 

Two MPs, Chris Gulaptis and Geoff Provest, did not respond and the other two, Thomas George and Don Page, gave equivocal replies.

"We need local members who are prepared to stand up for the north coast and not stand aside while our national parks are given to the shooters and loggers. The electors of the Northern Rivers must assume that the Government members for Lismore, Clarence, Tweed and Ballina have no intention to stand up for the local national parks that this community had to struggle for decades to protect," said Mr Pugh.

Many community members campaigned for years to have these special areas protected within the National Parks Estate.  The O'Farrell Government's continued attack on areas which protect the state's biodiversity is a further slap in the face for these people.  And it once again shows the lack of  O'Farrell's understanding of the purpose of national parks.

And what a sorry lot are our Northern Rivers MPs! They've already proved totally inadequate in supporting their local communities in relation to the coal seam gas mining threat.  And they obviously have no concerns about opening up national parks to the blood sports lobby.

Perhaps they feel it's not necessary to represent their communities' views at this time because they don't have to face their electorates until March 2015.  Presumably they also believe that voters have very short memories.

There is more information on this issue on a new website: SAVE PARKS
Electronic letters to politicians are also available on this website.