15 August 2022

Eurobodalla Council passes motions supporting end to native forest logging

| Albert McKnight
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Eurobodalla Shire Council 2022

Eurobodalla councillors for 2022-2024 (from left): David Grace, Rob Pollock, Anthony Mayne, Amber Shutz, Alison Worthington, Mayor Mathew Hatcher, Pete Diskon, Tubby Harrison and Tanya Dannock. Photo: ESC.

Eurobodalla Shire Council has passed motions supporting the end of native forest logging in its region and the just transition to plantations, although not all councillors are on board with the move.

Deputy Mayor Alison Worthington brought the issue before the council earlier this year, after the council could not present at a state parliament inquiry on the sustainability of timber products, held in its own chambers in Moruya, because it didn’t have an official position on forestry.

She said the forestry industry in the shire was already in decline because it was being out-competed by other regions.

This was particularly the case when it came to woodchips, she said, as other regions were providing eucalypts for pulp better and faster.

“I thought it was time to advocate to the State Government to say many in the community are calling for an end to native forest logging,” Cr Worthington said.

“People start to ask, why are we logging post-fires when some of our forests provide critical refuge to flora and fauna.”

READ ALSO Eurobodalla Council unanimously adopts ambitious climate plan towards net-zero by 2040 goal

She lost an amendment that attempted to use stronger wording when the matter was deferred to the council’s meeting on Tuesday (9 August), but several other motions were passed.

After the five-to-three vote on native forest logging, the council must now note logging in its state forests is incompatible with the shire and region’s investments in nature-based tourism enterprises, climate change mitigation and the protection of biodiversity.

Due to a six-to-two vote, the council will advocate to the NSW Government to urgently develop a plan for the just transition of the Forestry Corporation NSW native forest sector to ecologically sustainable plantations and farm forestry.

It wants these plans to protect existing jobs in the sector and ensure a reliable supply of native hardwood timber products into the future.

The council unanimously agreed to write to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and other relevant state ministers as part of that advocacy.

Finally, the council has noted the growing concern in the community about the current native forest logging and practices should be revised against the latest “best practice”.

READ ALSO Forestry Corp proposes building wind farms in five plantations

“It was a difficult debate, but I think that the point of it, which was we could be managing forests better … did get through,” Cr Worthington said.

But not all councillors agree the motions were the best for the shire.

“I think it’s totally outside the purview of local government, I think it’s a state and federal issue,” Cr Rob Pollock OAM said.

He said issues raised were already addressed by regional forest agreements and at present only 1 per cent of available logging areas was harvested each year.

“This insinuation of doom and gloom at a wholesale rate is just bulls–t,” he said.

Cr Pollock said if plantations were possible for the South Coast, then one would have to ask where they would go; would they replace native forests or agricultural land?

He also said Forestry and state agencies would have an idea about planning for the future and “to insinuate they have none is the height of ignorance”.

READ ALSO Forestry Corp handed $230,000 fine for bat-related breaches near Bodalla

While Bellingen Shire Council passed a motion calling for a moratorium on logging in 2019, Cr Worthington was unsure how many other councils had made similar attempts such as hers that were unsuccessful.

But she said others had been watching how this process unfolded in her shire and had been drafting their own similar motions.

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scott Mackenzie11:22 am 25 Aug 22

Finally the council has come to it’s senses and decided to protect the vast majority of jobs in our region.
Forestry would have stopped years ago if not for government handouts.
About time these bludgers in forestry stopped wasting our tax revenue

Philip Creagh5:48 pm 18 Aug 22

Well said Patricia Hellier

The Greens and their camp followers never let the facts get in the way of reality.

I’m sure that many folks living in our beautiful part of NSW forget what industries there were before self-interested advocacy groups started to destroy them.

The dream of ‘lock it up and leave it’ will destroy regional NSW.

The comment about drinking from streams is rather humorous – the author of that comment may not be aware of giardia and cryptosporidium a really fun set of symptoms!!!

Patricia Hellier8:24 pm 18 Aug 22

Thanks Philip yep the Green Councilor wants to lock up and leave the State Forrest in Eurobodalla and now on Tuesdays Council meeting she wants Cat owners to “lock up there pussy’s for a permanent 24hr curfew” along with another motion asking the Councilors to vote to take the Native Forest logging issue to the LGNSW Conference in October at the Hunter Valley.

Councilors get 3 votes at these conferences and Point 2 of the Green’s Councilor motion is the Councilors that get to vote at the LGNSW conference MUST vote for her motion – can you believe it?

So much for living in a democracy. It will be interesting to see what Councilors are going to be prepared to be dictated to in this manner.

Peter Harris4:50 pm 18 Aug 22

Would Councillor Worthington like to elaborate where the available land to grow plantation timber is located Eurobodalla Shire? Take out the State Forest and National Parks lands and that leaves private property.

Patricia Hellier12:15 pm 18 Aug 22

Fact are at the Council Meeting on Tuesday 9th August 2022 Clr Worthington failed to get a seconder for her initial motion “Nom22/011 Eurobodalla Shire Council supports the end to Native Forest Logging in the Eurobodalla” this is the first time I have seen a Councilor fail to gain a seconder to a motion.

Fact are the NSW State Government are currently conducting and inquiry in the Timber Industry and there was a hearing in Eurobodalla Council Chambers in April this year. The Eurobodalla has 32,006 enrolled voters in the shire and the Green vote represents 6.7% of the voters of this shire Clr Worthington individual vote was 373. We have 9 million people living in NSW and the 20,000 signatures represents only 0.25% of the population.

I have sat in many, many Council meeting over the last 11 years and the Council Meeting 9th August 2022 was the most nauseating meeting I have ever sat through with the outcome of Clr Worthington motion was very unclear and even the Editor of Beagle Weekly stated that “I had no idea what they finally agreed to” Clr Worthington continually referred to “concerned community members had raised this issue – BUT at no stage did she state exactly how many community members had raised this.

The facts are The Timber Industry employ hundreds and hundreds of people and there is a flow on affect into many other industries and we cannot afford to lose any job in Eurobodalla. A concerned resident sent me an email stating “If logging is outlawed in Eurobodalla the economic repercussions will be immense, not only the loss of jobs and support services, but the conversion of the State Forrest to National Parks will create a monster for the NSW Government who can’t afford to maintain the National Parks they already have. Native Forests are sustainable resources and Australia Native Forest are recognized the best managed in the world”. Do we want to see another Industry in Australia lost to overseas manufacturing?

CFMEU President Sharon Musson has met with NSW State Government Representatives to secure jobs for the Industry as the Industry is still trying to recover from the Black Summer Bush Fires which has caused a crippling loss in timber supplies.

There has been suggestion for Plantation Forestry where will the land come from? Farmers will not be prepared to give up their land and Plantation Forestry takes years and years to grow.

Eurobodalla has 80% National Parks and State Forests. Forestry Eurobodalla are working closely with Council on the Mogo and Narooma Bike Trails, it is recognized that Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens are the rated in the top 10 gardens in the world which is maintained by Forestry and we would never have go through the Black Summer Bush Fires if it had not been for Forestry tireless work in keeping the roads open in our shire.

Fiona McCuaig7:37 am 18 Aug 22

Fantastic news that Eurobodalla Shire Council has agreed to an urgent transition away from old growth forest logging. Tourism is the life-blood of this region and any action that does not promote or protect our natural environment is a direct threat to our economic prosperity with jobs for our kids. Our differential advantage to other holiday areas is – that we STILL have streams you can drink from, large flocks of black cockatoos and a wonderful marine park with Sancturaries. Thank you Councillor Alison for representing the community.

Fred Bassett9:00 pm 17 Aug 22

Loony tunes? Ban logging, ban cars, ban power? Ban coffee? Please shut up and fix the roads.

Patricia Hellier3:53 pm 18 Aug 22

Have to agree with you Fred when are they going to start looking after the important issues in this shire.

Darrell Burke12:53 pm 17 Aug 22

Where are the plantations and farm forestry going to be. Seems weird when you already have a sustainable industry

Patricia Hellier3:54 pm 18 Aug 22

Darrell I believe they want to acquire farming land – good luck with that.

Congratulationsto the councillors who pushed for this.

Patricia Hellier3:51 pm 18 Aug 22

Facts are the Councilors did not vote to end Native Logging Alison Worthington Green Councilors did not get a seconder on this motion.

Joslyn van der Moolen10:49 am 17 Aug 22

Finally we have a Council, who have taken the time to understand the critical issues, at the heart of both the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis. Ending native forest logging in NSW, will enable biodiverse carbon storage in public state native forests, over 400,000 hectares in southern NSW. Stopping logging will see 950,000 tonnes of carbon emissions saved every year in this area. This is equivalent to over half of the emissions from electricity, transport, waste and agriculture in the Eurobodalla Shire alone and over 20% of emissions overall in six shires. This is an easy step the NSW Government can take, in the battle our communities face to reverse global heating.

This is a brave and outstanding achievement not only by the majority of councillors, but also the community who have tirelessly put this case up for debate for years. The recent ePetition with over 20,000 signatures to NSW Parliament that will be presented to NSW parliament on 15 September, the Natural Resources Commission report on post fire logging, the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Future of the Timber Industry and the State of the Environment Report demonstrate to state government that there will be much political capital to be made by supporting an industry plan to transition to 100% sustainable plantation forestry.

The few logging contractors along the coast and tablelands, already travel long distances and switch between logging native forest and working in plantations. Most of the wood supply for construction and forestry jobs are in the plantation sector in modern facilities eg the Bombala pine sawmill and in the Tumut area the AKD pine sawmill, the Visy pine kraft paper mill and Forestry corporation’s pine nursery. The forestry industry should also be calling for an industry plantation plan to secure future wood supply and forestry jobs.

Coastwatchers’ Association – Forest Working Group

Andrea Franke8:22 pm 16 Aug 22

Congratulations to all the Councillors who voted to stop native forest logging. A very positive move by Council addressing climate change and the protection of our local fauna and flora.

Patricia Hellier3:49 pm 18 Aug 22

Facts are the Councilors did not vote o stop native logging the heading of this article is misleading.

What an outstanding outcome by the new Eurobodalla council who followed the science and expert opinion on taking this stand.

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