Forestry’s community obligation funding – propping up illegal logging

NSW Greens parliamentarian David Shoebridge put out a press release this week titled ‘The weakest link in parliamentary accountability’.

The issue was a response Primary industries minister Niall Blair provided to a question on notice, back in August, related to Forestry Corporation’s little known annual $15million ‘Community Service Obligation’ (CSO) funding.  Details about the funding were eventually provided by Forestry after an application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act.

Mr Shoebridge was concerned that the Minister’s response did not provide the appropriate information and the information Forestry eventually provided should come from the Minister.

It could be easy to gain an impression that Minister Blair has some sensitivity to questions about forestry. The CSO funding alone would seem to raise 15 million of them. Figures for the Southern forestry region, for the periods 2011-14, are in the table at the bottom of this post. After 2014 figures for all coastal forests are lumped together.

glenbog

FCNSW have responded to my inquiry about koala records in Glenbog SF but didn’t answer the question, suggesting only that the record in Cpt 2331 is pre 1980, so it can be ignored under 6.1of the Threatened Species Licence. However, as indicated in the pic above, there are post 1980 koala records, within 2 kilometers of the compartments. Not surprisingly one is a State Forest record, on private land and the other a private individual, on State Forests.

According to the TSL, a post 1980 koala record within two kilometers of proposed logging initiates 8.8.12 of the TSL. This requires FCNSW to undertake community consultation and transects in the areas proposed for logging.

As it appears none of this has occurred, I’ve written to the EPA  asking why this is so. According to the EPA’s website simple requests will be answered within three working days.


 

 

 Community Service Obligation expenditure – Southern 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
Community fire fighting & prevention 92,106.78 112,653.95 547,523.77
Government relations & Community engagement 232,743.50 336,383.92 247,321.64
Non-commercial forest management 42,153.03 29,954.65 428,427
Recreation & tourism 124,218.31 90,467.82 105,105.63
Road construction and maintenance for community 426,222.98 601,293.17 1,082,110.21
Totals $917,444.60 $1,170,753.51 $2,410,488.25
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