Posts Tagged ‘Bermagui State Forest’

State Serial Rape of Bermagui’s Spotted Gums

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
[The following article was written by Tigerquoll and initially published under the title ‘Anthology of State Serial Rape of Bermagui’s Spotted Gum Forest Habitat‘, on ^CanDoBetter.net 20100216]
 
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Nothing less than the Australian Government can be trusted to protect vital Koala Habitat.
Lesser smaller-minded state governments only see Koala Habitat as a logging and tourism resource.
Small minded politicians like Kristina Keneally can never be trusted with national treasures

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Bermagui’s Spotted Gums
..the local Narooma Community in their defence against ‘Forest NSW’ (the Forest-Fiddling loggers)

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Forest-Fiddling Logger driving his Spotted Gum spoils truck

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But Eucalyptus maculata is a tree, not a floor

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In terms of Australia’s iconic ‘Spotted Gum’, the word “spotted” refers to the soft mottled colour caused by weathering of the outer tree as it sheds elliptical strips of bark.

Spotted Gum bark

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This colour varies from pale greybrowns and soft creams to a rich chocolate brown. A very tough timber, its frequent wavy grain can produce an attractive and highly valued fiddleback effect.   [Source:  Boral website, ^http://www.boral.com.au/timberflooring/timber_species_-_spotted_gum.asp]

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Build something great, but don’t destroy something great in the process
– like Koala Spotted Gum Forests!
Invest in Boral and you invest in Koala extinction

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About 380km south of Sydney lies what NSW Tourism labels the beautiful ‘Sapphire Coast’ with the popular seaside town of Bermagui.

Less than 3km north of Bermagui heading north along Bermagui-Cobargo Road and up the Bermagui River estuary is the Bermagui State Forest – a label by the NSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI) given to magnificent Spotted Gum forest.

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This forest is vital habitat for threatened native fauna – the Yellow Bellied  Gliders, Grey-Headed Flying Foxes, Tiger Quolls, Sooty Owls, Sea Eagles, Possums and Australia’s iconic Koala.

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Koala in Bermagui’s Spotted Gum forest – a displaced landlord

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Australia’s iconic ‘Spotted Gums’

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A mature iconic Spotted Gum Tree
About 400 years old, about 30 metres high
[Source:  ‘A gum tree that saw Captain Cook and before’, ABC Radion interview of John Knight by Ian Campbell, 20100119,
Listen to Interview: ^http://blogs.abc.net.au/nsw/2010/01/a-gum-tree-that-saw-captain-cook-and-before.html]

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Australia’s magnificent and unique Spotted Gums are naturally distributed in open forests along the hilly coastal corridor from south-east Queensland down through New South Wales and with a few isolated pockets in East Gippsland, Victoria. They belong to the botanical family ‘Myrtaceae’ and grow straight and tall up to 40 metres. Their height attracts roosting by Sea Eagles.

Note the planet’s sole natural distribution of Spotted Gum Forests
They have become the target of corporate development simply because Spotted Gums prefer a mild temperate climate near the coast
..like Australia’s millions of breeding humans, and profiteering corporate developers

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Spotted gums flower once every two years and produce a rich pollen that attracts native birds such as Lorikeets and Yellow Tailed Cockatoos as wells as possums and flying foxes  including the IUCN vulnerable listed Grey-Headed Flying Fox.  [Source:  Australian Native Plants Society, Corymbia maculata, ^http://asgap.org.au/c-mac.html]

Grey-Headed Flying Fox  (Pteropus poliocephalus)
The grey-headed flying-fox is listed as vulnerable to extinction under NSW and Australian legislation because of declining numbers and key threats such as habitat loss and urban conflict.  Records indicate that grey-headed flying-foxes may once have numbered in the millions, but are now reduced to as few as 400,000. In the decade before listing, their population was estimated to have declined by 30%.
(Photo by Ákos Lumnitzer, ^http://amatteroflight.com/)

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Unlike the declaration of a ‘National Park’ which affords federal environmental protection to forest habitat, the State label of a ‘State Forest’ is a misnomer. A ‘State Forest’ is deemed a timber and woodchip resource for logging. The same public relations label is used across New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. A State Forest is not treated as a forest for its natural habitat values, but rather as a logging coup on death row, that can be chainsawed at will anytime. Perhaps ‘Death Row Forest’ is a more apt label than speaking the State euphemism of ‘State Forests’.

And its public relations label logging as ‘harvesting’, a euphemism to belie the destructive reality.

Bermagui State Forest after the loggers

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The NSW Logging Offensive of 1988

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On the back of a century of clear felling Bermagui State Forest was logged in the late 1980s. Then according to data from the ‘Bureau of Resource Science‘ (aka science graduates on the payroll of loggers), 148ha were “thinned” in 1996, and another 133ha that same year, then 94ha in 1999.

Typically 70% of the spotted gums goes to Boral’s mills in Narooma, Nowra and Batemans Bay as sawlogs to be processed into mainly flooring. The remainder end up as woodchips at Nippon Paper’s woodchip mill at Twofold Bay for export to Japan.

So Australia’s precious endangered habitat is being destroyed for house flooring and office paper. .

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The NSW Logging Offensive of 2008

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In October 2008, NSW Forests logged what it labeled “two compartments” in Bermagui State Forest north of Bermagui. It justified this under the infamous Eden Regional Forest  Agreement (RFA).  [>Read Agreement]    [Source: ^http://www.daff.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/51021/nsw_rfa_eden.pdf]

This RFA is one of three established in 1999, in which the NSW Government relegated 15.1 million hectares of native forests across New South Wales for logging  anytime. The usual public relations spin preceded the logging. Southern Region manager of Forests NSW, Ian Barnes.

It was at this time that Labor’s Minister for Primary Industries (Forests NSW) Ian MacDonald and Labor’s Minister for Police Tony Kelly started to use Dick Cheney tactics to push their weight around with protesters. The following questions to the NSW Legislative Council by NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon on 28th October 2008, highlight the escalated use of law enforcement into a heavy handed riot squad:

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Lee Rhiannon MLC:

“I direct my question to the Minister for Police. Did officers stationed at Batemans Bay police station in collaboration with Forests New South Wales hold a meeting at the Bermagui Country Club in September to warn locals associated with calling for forest protection not to protest when logging commenced in the Bermagui State Forest? Does the holding of this meeting reflect that Batemans Bay police officers have adopted a zero tolerance policing approach to forest protesters? Considering that since logging started in Bermagui State Forest on 27 October with a group of about 40 protesters gathered in the vicinity, about 15 police cars, more than 20 police, including members of the Public Order and Riot Squad, a mobile police command bus and two police rescue vans have been in attendance, will this level of policing continue for the coming six weeks of logging in this area? What is the anticipated cost of this operation?

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Tony Kelly MLC (response):

“The Far South Coast Local Area Command of the New South Wales Police Force has been advised that New South Wales Forests is to commence logging compartments of Bermagui State Forest later this month. As in the past, protests are expected. As always, the New South Wales Police Force is committed to maintaining public order. For this reason, local police and various commands, including the Public Order and Riot Squad, Highway Patrol and Rescue Squad will join together to conduct an operation.

This operation will focus on ensuring the protection of persons engaged in lawful activities. Local police have made it clear that anyone engaging in unlawful or dangerous activity in or near the logging operation will have action taken against them. When offences continue and are considered dangerous, police will arrest and charge people as necessary. Police respect people’s rights to protest during these times; in no way are they looking to prevent lawful and peaceful protests. Police have asked anyone who intends to protest to contact them so that they can attempt to facilitate lawful activity, minimise disruption and focus on protecting the safety of everyone involved.”

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[SOURCE:  ‘Bermagui State Forest Logging Protests‘, Question raised NSW Legislative Council by The Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Parliament of New South Wales, Hansard, 20081028, ^http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hanstrans.nsf/V3ByKey/LC, 20081028,  >Read Hansard Extract – go to page 10631, PDF, 344kb ]

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The NSW Logging Offensive of Feb 2009

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On Monday 2nd February 2009, logging operations resumed in the Bermagui State Forest after the summer holiday break period and continued for about two months.

Bruce Mathie and Sons is one of the prominent loggers in the area, but most timber finds its way either as saw logs to Boral for Spotted Gum flooring or else to Nippon Papers woodchip mill at Twofold Bay, Eden for export to Japan.

The forest eco-rapers ‘Forests NSW’ – bulldozed, chainsawed, logged, then left with their booty.

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Kevin Mathie – 4th generation logger

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Logging contractor, Gil Mathie, in the middle of the picture at front (pink jumper)
More notably,  this editor is saddened by bearing witness to a senior member
of the Bermagui community being arrested for conserving Spotted Gums and Koalas.
We love, we defend, we act for love. 
Salute the man being arrested.
[Source: Local environmentalist, John Perkins, Gulaga Protest near Tilba on the NSW South Coast, 20070514]

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Labor’s Ian MacDonald’s Forestry Regulation of 2009

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But rather that do the right thing by the Environment and by the Community and obey the law of the land, those in power The Labor Government’s (Forests NSW) forced changes to the law of the land to bloody well suit themselves. Arguably reminiscent of England’s King Henry VIII changing laws to accommodate his adultery, or Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s gerrymandering that secured his electoral hold on power.

In order to keep the cameras and local conservationist away from the loggers destructive practices, Forests NSW got the Minister to legislate an exclusion area around its logging with the public relations labeling of “mainly for safety reasons”.

On 1 September 2009, the NSW Forestry Regulation 2009 came into force making it illegal for anyone to trespass into areas marked by NSW Forests for logging. This has given Forests NSW absolute logging power with the police as its enforcement lackies.

Forests NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Ian MacDonald, tabled the Bill and it became law preventing democratic protests by people trying to save important habitat from destruction. It has given loggers free reign to log State Forests with impunity.

Under Part 3, Division 1, Clause 11 of this Regulation, a logger has legal authority to request anyone to leave a forestry area and this includes if that person “causes inconvenience.”
Under Clause 12, a logger can forcible remove anyone from a forestry area “who is causing annoyance or inconvenience.”

Surely such removal by a logger can be construed an assault under the Crimes Act? It is draconian. It is certainly an assault on Australians’ democratic right to protest. What was Ian MacDonald thinking?

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Labor’s Ministers in charge three years hence…

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Labor’s Police Minister Tony Kelly MLC
NSW Minister for Emergency Services, Lands, Police and Primary Industries.

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‘Tony Kelly was targeted by protesters as he arrived to give evidence at the ICAC in June. Today the commission has found the former minister engaged in corrupt conduct.’

[Source: Protesters target Kelly outside ICAC’, by Dean Lewins, AAP, 20111212, ^http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-12/protesters-target-kelly-outside-icac/3725744]

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‘DISGRACED former state Labor ministers Tony Kelly and Ian Macdonald are demanding taxpayers foot their legal bills and the state government could be forced to hand over up to $250,000.  Despite being found by corruption watchdog ICAC to have forged official documents while a minister, Mr Kelly has formally asked the O’Farrell government to cover the cost of his elite legal team.’

[Source: ‘Disgraced former Labor ministers Tony Kelly and Ian Macdonald demand taxpayers foot their bills’, by Barclay Crawford, Daily Telegraph, 20120101, ^http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/disgraced-former-labor-ministers-tony-kelly-and-ian-macdonald-demand-taxpayers-foot-their-bills/story-e6freuy9-1226234077573].

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Labor’s Logging Minister Ian MacDonald MLC
Forests NSW/ Minister for Primary Industries in 2009

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‘The disgraced former NSW resources minister Ian Macdonald is to face a new corruption inquiry into the granting of coal exploration licences. The Independent Commission Against Corruption said in a statement yesterday that Mr Macdonald is being investigated for allegedly using his ministerial position ”to advantage the private interests of others”.

[Source: ‘ICAC to examine mining licences‘, by Kate McClymont, Senior Reporter, Sydney Morning Herald, 20120524, ^http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/icac-to-examine-mining-licences-20120523-1z5ov.html‘]

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‘The senior state minister Ian Macdonald signed taxpayers up to the V8 Supercars race without a system to manage potential conflicts of interest, without advice from the government’s major events body and without a proper business case, the NSW Auditor-General finds.’

[Source: ‘Mate’s race: $45m deal snares MP‘, by Anne Davies, Linton Besser and Nick O’Malley, 20100529, ^http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mates-race-45m-deal-snares-mp-20100528-wldb.html]

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The NSW Logging Offensive of Sep 2009

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In September 2009, Forests NSW commenced logging again in Bermagui State Forest, like pack rapists marauding through a maternity ward.

Sure enough, on Monday, 14th September 2009, Police arrested two of four forest campaigners who had allegedly entered Bermagui State Forest in what Forests NSW had labeled logging compartments 2001 and 2002. Apparenpe known to support koalas is unacceptable, particularly when the NSW government cannot prove their claims that koalas can be found anywhere in the south east,” said Robert Bertram, local Friends of Five Forests member.

“This is yet another example of Forests NSW lack of care for community and the environment,” said Lisa Stone, spokesperson for South East Forest Rescue.

“They are logging old-growth in Dampier, threatened species habitat in South Brooman, endangered species habitat in Nadgee and now this.”

“The loss of biodiversity coupled with logging and burning means the condition of many forests is as bad as the endangered ecological communities on private land, unable to support most threatened and endangered species and unable to recover.”

“We urge the newly appointed Minister for the Environment, Mr John Robertson, to step in on behalf of the native forests and their dependents and stop these archaic practices.”

“The current government policy of destroying habitat to satisfy ‘wood supply agreements’ is robbing from the future generations their chance of survival. The amount of breaches was astounding and shows that Forests NSW cannot be trusted to log these important areas of Koala habitat.”

“We have inspected many other logging operations in the past year and have found the same breaches everywhere we have looked. This is pe known to support koalas is unacceptable, particularly when the NSW government cannot prove their claims that koalas can be found anywhere in the south east,” said Robert Bertram, local Friends of Five Forests member.

“This is yet another example of Forests NSW lack of care for community and the environment,” said Lisa Stone, spokesperson for South East Forest Rescue.

A community morally right to defend habitat and prepared to defend that right

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“They are logging old-growth in Dampier, threatened species habitat in South Brooman, endangered species habitat in Nadgee and now this.”

“The loss of biodiversity coupled with logging and burning means the condition of many forests is as bad as the endangered ecological communities on private land, unable to support most threatened and endangered species and unable to recover.”

“We urge the newly appointed Minister for the Environment, Mr John Robertson, to step in on behalf of the native forests and their dependents and stop these archaic practices.”

“The current government policy of destroying habitat to satisfy ‘wood supply agreements’ is robbing from the future generations their chance of survival. The amount of breaches was astounding and shows that Forests NSW cannot be trusted to log these important areas of Koala habitat.”

“We have inspected many other logging operations in the past year and have found the same breaches everywhere we have looked. This is not a once off mistake but a systemic disgust for any environmental protection measures.”

Conservationists state the native forest logging industry is unsustainable and only propped up by political will, public subsidies and union backing.
Spokesperson for the South East Region Conservation Alliance, Pru Acton, says:

“The significant social and economic costs of reduced biodiversity can only increase while our natural systems are poorly managed.”

“Credible experts agree that the cost of logging this habitat is not only the last few koalas, but also potable water supplies, oysters, the inspiration for the local artists community, and another chunk of the Wilderness Coast’s tourism potential.”

“It seems the NSW Government has now decided its contractual obligations to supply sawlogs locally and woodchips to Asia is more important then protecting this much loved native animal.”

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South East Region Conservation Alliance

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Conservationists state the native forest logging industry is unsustainable and only propped up by political will, public subsidies and union backing.

Spokesperson for the South East Region Conservation Alliance, Pru Acton, says: “The significant social and economic costs of reduced biodiversity can only increase while our natural systems are poorly managed.”

“Credible experts agree that the cost of logging this habitat is not only the last few koalas, but also potable water supplies, oysters, the inspiration for the local artists community, and another chunk of the Wilderness Coast’s tourism potential.”

“It seems the NSW Government has now decided its contractual obligations to supply sawlogs locally and woodchips to Asia is more important then protecting this much loved native animal.”

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[Source: ‘Logging resumes at Bermagui’, by Stan Gorton Narooma News, 20090204 – note the Narooma News has removed this news item online.  However, the Narooma News has chosen not to remove its following story (Source: ^http://www.naroomanewsonline.com.au/story/191381/albino-possum-causes-log-truck-roll-over-at-narooma/  if it be not similarly removed].
Speeding logging trucker blames possum
..Narooma News editor’s reputation shot

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Narooma News spins the following story to appease local logger readership:

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“In a bizarre set of circumstances, a rare but dead albino possum is believed to have caused a log truck roll-over on the Princes Highway just south of Narooma.

The accident occurred just after 1pm when witnesses said a local from Wallaga Lake stopped to look at the road-kill possum that had been lying on the roadside at the entrance to the Island View Beach Resort.

A series of cars backed up behind the stopped vehicle in the southbound lane. Another Narooma local who was last in the line of stopped cars looked in his rear-vision mirror only to see the huge red-coloured truck coming up fast from behind.

“I think I am going to buy a lottery ticket,” said the local, who at one point thought the truck was going to smash into him and end his life.

The truck driver then allegedly swerved onto the wrong side of the road, narrowly missing the line of cars and while he was fortunate not to face any oncoming northbound traffic, he did lose control on the straight stretch of highway.

The truck reportedly clipped a boat trailer, flipped onto its side, sliding down the highway with the prime mover coming to rest in bushland just off the verge north of the Nangudga Bridge.

An ACT couple who among those first on the scene were able to help the truck driver out of the cab but they said he was badly shaken up and was not aware of where he was.

The Pambula man was the only person injured in the accident and was taken to Moruya Hospital for treatment.

The highway was closed down to one lane with firefighters, police and RMS personnel cleaned up and investigated the scene.

Residents from the nearby Island View caravan park were alerted to the accident by a loud bang and they lined the highway watching the accident.

The accident occurred at the start of the June long weekend where NSW police were out in force urging drivers to be careful on the busy roads.

Albino or golden brush-tailed possums are very rare but there is a known population living in the Narooma area.’

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~ by the Narooma News editor…and watch out for drop bears too!

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Meanwhile NSW Forests remains culturally contemptuous to NSW forests

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Forests NSW recruit their students with Communications degrees to lie for it on its website:

“State forests in NSW are managed sustainably to provide a supply of timber today and into the future, to protect the environmental values of the forest and provide community amenities.”

Forests NSW website claims that “Ecologically sustainable forest management (ESFM) is our guiding philosophy. ESFM is about managing forests to maintain ecological principles and biodiversity while optimising the benefits to the community from all uses of the forest…”

Narooma Community in defence of Koala Habitat
– clearly not convinced about Forests NSW spiel about “optimising the benefits to the community”

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Revolving Door politics of NSW Labor

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In the revolving door politics of NSW Labor, Premier #3 Nathan Rees on 16th November 2009 sacked Ian MacDonald from his DPI Ministry.

Rees was himself sacked as premier on 3 December, then a week later, Labor Premier #4 Kristina Keneally (Labor show pony) reappointed Ian MacDonald ‘Minister for State & Regional Development and Minister for Mineral & Forest Resources‘ in December 2009.

The labelling of Minister for ‘Forest Resources’ left NSW State Forests in no doubt about the death row status. Throughout NSW Labor’s factional power shuffle Macca’s chair never got cold.

The then Minister for Primary Industries , Tony Kelly, overseeing Forests NSW, claimed on 18 November 2009:  “The NSW Government has a solid track-record for maintaining prosperous and sustainable primary industries, I will be working hard with industry to ensure this tradition continues.”

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[Source:  Source:  NSW Department of Primary Industries, ^http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/308251/Minister-Kelly-Visits-Industry-and-Investment-NSW-Headquarters.pdf, since deleted by the NSW Government – the file, not the department unfortunately]

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Tigerquoll’s Position

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All State Forests should be added to Australia’a National Park Estate. State Governments and their narrow mindset culture cannot be trusted with ecology.  Boral and Nippon Paper can transition their logging operations into plantation-only FSC resources.

The Twofold Bay Woodchip Mill was set up near Eden in 1969 by Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Company has exported and profitted from over 35 million tonnes of Australian native forest woodchips, mostly to Japan, where its parent company is based.

In contributing to the annihilation of thousands of hectares of Australia’s native forest habitat the Daishowa Twofold Bay Woodchip Mill is Australia’s Habitat Auschwitz.  It must be unceremoniously closed down immediately.

Daishowa – Japan’s BIG Corporate Eco-Rapist and BIG Koala Exterminator

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Boral Spotted Gum – corporate shareholder perspective
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Spotted Gums too magnificent to kill
[Source:  Save Our Water Ways Now, photo by Robert Whyte,
^http://www.saveourwaterwaysnow.com.au/01_cms/details_pop.asp?ID=135]

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Further Reading:

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[1]    South East Region Conservation Alliance, ^http://www.serca.org.au/

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[2]  ‘South East Forests must be protected’, by Greens MP David Shoebridge, 20110629, ^http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2011/06/29/south-east-forests-must-be-protected/

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‘Greens MP David Shoebridge today met with local campaigners and timber workers in the Bermagui State Forest to get a first-hand view of the impact of continued logging in the South East Forests.

“There is a real concern that this logging is further fracturing the remaining stands of koala habitat in the South East,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“The logging is being undertaken in a nature corridor that links Wallaga Lake National Park and Bermagui Nature reserve. This corridor should be protected.

“With the logging at Bermagui coming within a few hundred meters of town the prospects of more intensive and drier regrowth producing higher levels of fire hazard are real.

“Forests NSW has said that the beautiful “cathedral” entrance to Bermagui will be protected. However on closer inquiry only a small part of the western side and a 50m ‘visual protection zone’ to the east is currently protected.

“In discussions with Forests NSW today they have committed to reviewing the decision on the cathedral to consider protecting all of it from logging. This would be a welcome, if modest, concession.

“The South East Forests are a priceless natural asset and this new State government has a real chance to break with the past and save them from continued logging for wood chips.

“Local campaigners are committed to saving these beautiful forests and this will remain a key focus in the coming years,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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[Ed:   That was over a year ago – our love and commitment for the old forest – we remember ]

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