New Greens MP, Dawn Walker joined local forest campaigners to inspect native forestry operations around Styx River State Forest, east of Armidale on Wednesday and to support calls to end native forest logging in NSW.
“Our native forests are vital to the survival of many endangered species of plants and animals and play a vital role in reducing the effects of climate change,” Dawn said.
“Not only is native forest logging unsustainable, it is unprofitable. For most of the past decade NSW Forestry Corporation's native logging division has operated at a loss, while the plantation division has continued to operate profitably.”
She said figures obtained by the Greens in 2015 show that NSW taxpayers lost more than $40 million from logging in NSW’s native forests over the previous four years.
“The Greens stand with locals who are concerned with Forestry Corporation and their contractors’ repeated and well-documented breaches of regulations that were intended to protect the biodiversity of Styx River State Forest.
“These regulations were supposed to protect watercourses and designated habitat trees, but I was shocked to see clear breaches with particular regard to marked habitat trees.
“Our beautiful State Forests should be protected to maximise potential for regional employment and visitor opportunities, not logged for boutique timber products when there are plenty of lower-cost alternatives.
“It is time to recognise that the greatest values of our public native forests come from preserving them, not logging them. Our National Parks are the second most popular tourist attractions after the NSW’s beaches with immense recreational, cultural and tourism potential,” she said.