Councils or catchments and the long paddock inbetween

As it turned out and a bit unexpected, the draft Local Land Services areas have been based on amalgamated local government areas. The outcome has greatly reduced the current Southern Rivers CMA area by focusing on coastal council areas.

This graphic shows the former area compared to LGA’s and a positive is most of the South East Corner and just part of the Sydney Bio-region are included in the new area. However, the decision to merge Catchment Management Authorities and Livestock Health & Pest Authorities clearly requires more consideration of how and where they operate, particularly given approvals for logging private and Crown lands, that is anything that isn’t in State Forests, will be one of the LLS’s functions.

Late last week South East Forest Rescue successfully halted logging in Tanatwangalo State Forest, giving the loggers a week off while several non-compliance issues are addressed. However, the harvesting plan also proposes logging an adjacent Travelling Stock Reserve/route, should the LHPA give official approval.

Also last week ABC radio released another part of their ‘Logging in the South East’ series, speaking to the Environmental Defenders Office and the illegal logging of Biamanga Aboriginal Place was also mentioned.

The biggest factor that led to this illegal logging was that none of the key stakeholders had a map to show exactly where the boundaries are.

As indicated on the map below, at a fine scale LGA’s (purple line) and catchments (green line) don’t readily correspond with each other, the latter at least being generally close to where the catchment boundary line should be and the former more like the outcome of a drunk staggering over the landscape while dragging a brush.

However in this case and irrespective of whether catchments or LGAs are employed, the TSR will pass through both of them. Put plainly, any approval to log 18.4 hectares outside of State Forest will require a long paddock twice as wide as the current TSR area so ‘official approval’ will enable logging a chunk of the South East National Park as well.

At least when two LLS’s are operating one of them may remember Biamanga and consider looking at a map, prior to casually approving logging in a National Park.

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