The NSW Government recently called a halt to timber harvesting operations in the areas being assessed for the Great Koala National Park.
In response the NSW timber industry has launched a campaign to protect native forestry in NSW, address the concerns of stakeholders and realise the great potential of Australian forestry in the 21st century. The place to find all the details is www.timberfacts.com.au.
We already have world’s best practice native forestry right here in NSW. The facts show that a transition to plantations is completely unfeasible and unnecessary. It would take 50-60 years to transition, providing suitable land is made available at great cost. It will not help biodiversity or assist koala populations.
We know that the current extreme protest activity does not represent the views of ordinary Australians. Recent research confirms the social licence of the NSW timber industry. Yet ongoing environmental protests and misinformed media reports about native forestry in NSW are exploiting a lack of forestry knowledge to fuel miscommunications and falsehoods via slogans and campaigns.
As protests and misguided media stories cause major disruption to our industry, there is a real risk the Minns NSW Government may follow Victoria and Western Australia in closing public native forestry. This would cripple timber supply, cost thousands of jobs in regional communities and wipe out most of the $2.9 billion the industry contributes to the NSW economy each year.
Native Forestry is Highly Regulated
It’s critical to recognise that the native forest industry in NSW is already one of the most highly regulated in the world. What’s more, in recent decades successive NSW governments have designated more and more public forests as National Parks and conservation reserves.
This means that the production forests – which are managed by the government-owned Forestry Corporation of NSW for multiple values – have gradually reduced in size over the past thirty years, under dramatically increased regulatory controls. Less NSW production forests means less NSW timber and more imported timber.
Of the 12 per cent of NSW public forests available for harvest each year, only 0.3 per cent is actually harvested.
Native Forestry is Essential
Therefore Timber NSW, the Timber Trade Industrial Association (TTIA), the South East Timber Association (SETA) and Forest & Wood Communities Australia (FWCA) have made a joint public submission to the NSW Premier and key Ministers in support of native forestry in New South Wales. We make three key points:
- Native Forestry is Essential: Any proposed closure of public regrowth native forestry and a ‘transition’ to hardwood plantations is completely unnecessary and unfeasible. The alleged benefits of such a closure on biodiversity, tourism and climate change do not exist.
- Recognise the 21st Century Potential of Timber: Australia is the sixth most forested nation on earth and has best-practice ESFM forestry regulation. There is huge potential in the NSW timber industry to meet the growing demand in Australia for a sustainable, renewable, recyclable resource like timber. We need to realise this nation-building potential.
- Educate & Inform Citizens About Forestry: When falsehoods and misinformation are being spread about legitimate Government activities – like native forestry operations undertaken by the government-owned Forestry Corporation – we expect that Government will seek to counter and correct these misguided assertions in a timely and accurate manner. This is not currently happening in NSW.
We’re calling on the NSW Government to work constructively and consult fully with the industry and communities in support of an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable timber industry in NSW.
Support Native Forestry in NSW
We understand that many will have questions about how native forestry works and why it’s important. The place to find answers is at www.timberfacts.com.au, where you can read our submission to Premier Minns, along with other key documents.
Our collective effort is vital to keep the industry open while activists continue to block forests and roads, delay or stop timber supplies, target our workplaces and misrepresent the facts.
Currently, our members and their communities are making their views clear by contacting the NSW Premier and key members of cabinet. You can join the campaign at www.timberfacts.com.au, where you’ll find campaign resources to add your voice in support quickly and easily.
For 117 years, Timber NSW has represented the timber and forest products industry in this State. The timber industry has important new roles to play in the 21st century, but it remains at the heart of our communities.
By Maree McCaskill, CEO, Timber NSW
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