Independent NSW MLC and Milton resident Justin Field has joined with the South Brooman community (see community media release below) expressing disappointment in a decision by a majority of Shoalhaven Councillors to block debate on a motion raising community concerns about the impact of logging in the South Brooman State Forest.
The motion, considered by the Development and Environment Committee on Tuesday night, requested council write to local member Shelley Hancock MP and the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean MP, to raise concerns about logging in fire affected forests and the impact of Forestry Corporation’s plans to close local roads to facilitate future logging in the South Brooman State Forest.
The motion was moved by Greens Ward 3 councillor Kaye Gartner but debate was blocked when a majority of councillors deferred consideration of the motion.
Independent NSW MLC Justin Field said: “Forestry Corporation is already under investigation for breaches of logging rules including the removal of dozens of critically important habitat trees. They now have plans for at least another ten sites in the Southern Shoalhaven region. This is an issue that Shoalhaven Council should consider.
“Logging will only hinder the recovery of local forests after the fires and future forestry operations planned will disrupt local businesses who have been hit by the double whammy of the fires and then Covid-19. Engaging with State MPs and Ministers to express the impact these activities are having on the local community is a core role for the council.
“Council should take a leadership role in building resilience of the community after the fires including engaging in a public and political discussion about building a sustainable future of our forests,” Mr Field said.
South Brooman community disappointed as councillors shut down debate on impact of logging in fire affected forests.
The South Brooman community has been left disappointed after a majority of councillors voted to prevent debate and deferred a motion to discuss the impact that logging in fire affected forests is having on the southern Shoalhaven community.
A motion was brought to the Development and Environment Committee of council on Tuesday night requesting that council write to local member, Shelley Hancock, and the NSW Environment Minister, Matt Kean, about community concerns over logging in fire affected forests and the impact on the local community from Forestry Corporation’s plans to close local forestry roads to facilitate more logging.
The motion was moved by Greens Ward 3 councillor Kaye Gartner but debate was prevented by a majority of councillors with the consideration of the motion delayed indefinitely.
Takesa Frank, who drafted the motion and lives in the South Brooman region said, “it’s extremely disappointing. I put forward this motion because the proposed new logging in South Brooman state forest will have a devastating impact on our forest which has already been badly affected by fire and it will hurt local businesses by restricting access. This is important to the local community, is clearly an issue the council should be engaging in and deserves discussion.”
In July, Forestry Corporation was issued with a stop work order by the NSW Environment Protection Authority over alleged serious breaches of forestry rules including the illegal removal of ‘giant trees’ and breaches of new rules for fire affected forests that prohibited the removal of trees containing hollows.
“People don’t realise that logging started again in our burnt forests, just weeks after the fire went through. It’s had a profound impact on the community having to see every day the devastation of the fires and now the impact of logging on the forests,” Ms Frank said.
The community recently formed the Brooman State Forest Conservation Group to raise awareness of the impact of logging on the region’s burnt forests and to open a public discussion about the future of native forest logging in the region.
Brian Bennett, a spokesperson for the group said, “Forestry Corporation haven’t been good neighbours. They’ve been found to have broken the rules that were designed to minimise their impact since the fires and now they want access to more. Worse still, they want to shut the main road that gives access to local businesses at a critical time of the year for tourism.
“This is a local government issue. As ratepayers, our livelihoods and lifestyles are being dramatically affected. Our local elected representatives can and should put pressure on the State Government to address our concerns. Refusing to discuss it is simply not good enough. I invite them all to come out and have a look at what is happening in the forest”, Mr Bennett said.
The South Brooman State Forest is home to several threatened and vulnerable species that use hollow bearing trees including the Yellow-bellied Glider, the Glossy-Black Cockatoo and the Powerful, Masked and Sooty Owls.
Forestry has identified as many as 13 sites (see attached map) across the Shoalhaven they are considering for future logging including three more sites in bushfire affected areas in the South Brooman State Forest. 85% of South Coast state forests were burnt in last season’s fires.
Councillors Pakes, Guile, Watson, White, Wells and Proudfoot voted to defer debate on the motion.