Alarming NSW land clearing rates calls for action to protect forests

Alarming media reports have revealed that NSW land clearing jumped to 20,200 hectares in 2016-17, more than twice the historical annual average, in the lead up to the introduction of the Coalition Government’s land clearing laws in November 2016.

Independent MLC Justin Field said “Clearing of this scale - 70 times the size of Sydney's CBD in one year - will have had a dramatic impact on forests and many threatened species including the Koala.

“Much of this clearly is on private land and on a huge scale. It is not being done by small family farmers. This is big Agribusiness operating in the knowledge that their lobbying efforts were going to pay off through new laws that enabled broad scale land clearing on private land.The big concern is that land clearing since the laws were passed in 2016 has likely been more extreme. We are losing forests and habitat at a rate not seen for a generation and this has been enabled by the NSW Coalition Government. At a time when the world has been put on notice that one million species face extinction because of human actions, the Coalition Government needs a new direction or NSW will continue to contribute to this global problem,"

The data also revealed that forestry activities on public and private land accelerated in 2016-17, rising two-thirds compared with the average from 2009-10.

“What kind of legacy does this Government want to leave behind - do they want to be responsible for decimating our remaining native forests and wiping out Koala populations or do that want to protect these critical forests for the future? It is unbelievable that in 2019, during a global biodiversity crisis, that we are continuing to log native forests. We’ve long known that native forest logging is unsustainable and uneconomic. NSW can protect its native forests while maintaining forestry jobs and regional economies in sustainable plantations. It’s a win win,”.

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