Speaking on ABC radio last week, the Hon. Andrew Constance, MP Member for Bega,Treasurer, and Minister for Industrial Relations confirmed his party’s commitment to native forest logging. Suggesting that the industry needs to be protected, Mr Constance went on to say logging of critical koala habitat will proceed, should his government be re-elected.
Mr Constance is well-known for his dislike of trees and clearly the Liberals plan represents the least preferred koala management proposal to date. The notion that forestry and loggers get ‘protection’ above and beyond koalas, or any other species is pathetic and seems to lack legality.
Economically, Timber NSW, formerly the NSW Forest products association, now claims it costs $55 per hectare to manage National Parks, compared to $8.67 for state forests. Missing from the calculation is the bit between Forestry corporation’s hardwood division revenue, $99.6 million during 2014, and the cost to log, $13.3m or $775 per hectare in that year.
Consistent with the Liberal party approach the NPWS has begun its annual broad acre burning starting in Kooraban NP. On this occasion some 2,200 hectares is being burned in the park that, added to last years effort, brings the total area burned in a year to 3,700 hectares. This represents around 30% of the total park area.
Speaking on ABC radio this morning, Regional manager and die-back/climate change denier Tim Shepard failed to mention koalas, or that the burning targets are a political requirement. Essentially these burns will not stop a wildfire and have nothing do with sustainable environmental management. Further burns are apparently planned for Biamanga and Mimosa Rocks NPs, also burned last year.
Perhaps ironically, ABC radio also spoke to a chap from the OE&H who talked about the importance of woody debris on the forest floor. Regrettably, as we know, the OE&H plays no part in day to day park management. So the community were warned about the possibility of legal action for taking timber from parks and reserves, one expects, even if the NPWS intend to burn it.