Independent NSW MP and South Coast resident Justin Field has backed calls today by the Brooman State Forest Conservation Group for logging to be halted at Shallow Crossing State Forest just South of Ulladulla.
Logging in bushfire affected areas has been the subject of ongoing disputes between Forestry Corporation and the Environment Protection Authority with a stop work order issued by the EPA for systemic breaches of logging rules in the neighbouring South Brooman State Forest in July last year. No fines have been issued or prosecutions yet launched into those breaches by Forestry Corporation.
The disputes led to the NSW Government commissioning a review of bushfire affected logging rules by the NSW Natural Resources Commission. That review has been completed but kept secret, prompting an outcry from the local community that logging has recommenced in the area.
The logging in Shallow Crossing State Forest compartment 212 commenced last week despite a December 2020 risk analysis by the EPA showing the site was deemed a ‘high risk’ of environmental impacts.
Independent NSW MP Justin Field said, “I’m backing calls by the local community to halt this logging until the report is made public and action is taken against Forestry Corporation for their previous breaches.
“There is substantial independent scientific evidence that shows logging in bushfire affected forests will have significant long-term environmental impacts. This review was essentially called to arbitrate between Forestry Corporation and the EPA and to give the community some confidence about what rules should be applied to avoid those impacts.
“To keep the findings of that review secret and while continuing to log in an area where 80% of forests were burnt is a gross act of bad faith by Forestry Corporation and John Barilaro as Forestry Minister.
“The community deserves to see that report, and to have the systemic breaches of Forestry Corporation dealt with. If the Government won't be open and transparent about this report and is failing to take action against Forestry Corporation’s breaches, the community will understandably want to take direct action to prevent damage to these recovering forests.
"This disregard for science and evidence by Forestry Corporation and John Barilaro just further corrodes what little social licence this industry has left on the South Coast and will ultimately destroy the resource they rely on,” Mr Field said.