Playing the koala game – Minister gambles on dishonesty

As a result of a  successful Freedom of Information request, the North East forest Alliance has been able to cast some light on the so-called ‘Threatened Species Expert Panel’, convened to re-write the logging rules in NSW. Although it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, what the Government claimed to be a panel filled with independent experts, is in fact dominated by current and former employees of Forestry Corporation.

According to NEFA ” . . . The EPA have refused to release any of the panel’s recommendations on the grounds that they “reveal or tend to reveal the position that a particular Minister has taken, is taking or will take on a matter in Cabinet”. The Minister is Nationals’ Niall Blair who, in his inaugural parliamentary speech suggested ” . . . Use well the present moments as they fly. When one great scorer comes to write against your name, they write not whether you won or lost but how you played the game. Wazzee Wazzee Ya, fight on, fight on, victory will come!”

The panel had three workshops, way back in March 2014 and ” . . .The first ‘workshop’ was a Forestry Corp employee sitting down with someone else from the Department of Primary Industries, to decide the fate of Koalas”. While there are no details of what transpired, as the government has seemingly committed itself to the logging industry, above everything else, how they ‘play the game’ seems an important consideration.

glenbogkrecs

In that regard the graphic above is from a map of koala records (black triangles) in south-east NSW,  FCNSW provided to the Inquiry into the status, health and sustainability of Australia’s koala population. The area within the ellipse includes compartments 2331 and 2332 in Glebog SF, where SEFR recently protested about illegal logging. However, the Harvesting Plan suggests there are no koala records in the compartments. So while forestry are happy claim koalas are everywhere for the pollies, when it comes to logging, it’s a very different game.

Hence, I’ve written to FCNSW and am looking forward to a prompt response to clarify the following:

To whom it may concern,

I refer to the Harvesting Plan for compartments 2331& 2332 in Glenbog State Forest, Eden region. The operations map in the plan indicates ‘Koala’ as a fauna feature, although there are no koala records indicated on the map. According to the table ‘Species & Site-Specific Threatened Flora and Fauna Prescriptions’ (pg 13) there are no historic koala records in Compartment 2331 & 2332.

However, the map headed ‘South Eastern NSW – Koala Records’ (dated 23/8/2011), that Forests NSW provided to the Inquiry into the status, health and sustainability of Australia’s koala population, suggests up to three koala records in the compartments.

Could you please advise which of the above is correct, the information on koalas provided to the Senate inquiry, or that in the harvesting plan for compartments 2331 and 2332.

Regards

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