Logging activities have been halted in Flat Rock State Forest between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla on NSWs south coast today. For a second time in a week the conservation group South East Forest Rescue are calling for an end to native forest logging as a form of direct action on climate change. There are two structures with a person in each structure in trees 30 metres off the ground cabled to five logging machines.

“The Forestry Corporation are in breach of their legal obligations by incurring $14-16 million dollar losses every year in the native forest section, by logging in breach of the law, and by not taking steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ms Lisa Stone, spokesperson for SEFR. “If the public conducted its activities this way they would be fined hundred’s of thousands of dollars, and no one but the government can take them to court , with the irony being it is the government doing the damage.”

Flat Rock State Forest contains records of threatened species such as Yellow-bellied Gliders, Gang-Gang Cockatoos and Grey Headed Flying Foxes. However the main concern is its status as an Aquatic Habitat, and part of the Key Fish Habitat of the Shoalhaven LGA.

“We again call on the NSW Minister for Environment, Robyn Parker to put into place proper procedure for enacting the Commonwealth’s plan to exit native forest logging,” she said. “We have a state-run agency that’s bleeding money and costing the taxpayer millions with losses documented since 2001, and twenty year guaranteed supply contracts signed by Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald.”

These vast financial losses cannot be justified, nor can the huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The damage to state forests is systematic and routine and the law is disregarded. The unreasonable protection of the native forest woodchipping groups must come to an end.

On the south coast alone logging and burning creates over 26 million tonnes CO2 emissions every year.

“It is outrageous that there is still over 3000 hectares being logged,” said Ms Stone. “Ending native forest logging is an efficient way to help Australia meet its climate change mitigation targets.”

“Given the number of offences the Forestry Commission has been convicted of and in light of the additional enforcement notices issued against it, I find that the Forestry Commission’s conduct does manifest a reckless attitude towards compliance with its environmental obligations.”

Director-General, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water v Forestry Commission of New South Wales [2011] NSWLEC 102 (Pepper J)
Lisa Stone, South East Forest Rescue