Submission to Inquiry into the
Provisions of the Forestry Legislation Amendment Bill. Legislative
Council Standing Committee on State Development
This Bill, along with current processes
in train to renew Regional Forest Agreements and Integrated Forestry
Operations Approvals (IFOAs) governing native forest logging in NSW
are based on a delusion that native forest woodchipping and
environmental protection are compatible.
They are simply clearing the legal decks
for the industry to go for broke while there are still some trees
For decades the far south coast region
has endured of the most intensive logging in the state to supply the
Eden chipmill. The Government should stop deluding itself and the
public that our forests are a magic pudding that can keep on
producing woodchips indefinitely and pretend that environmental
values are being protected.
There must be a clear and workable plan
within any new legal framework to manage the closure of the
woodchipping industry. Woodchippers must not simply walk away from
the environmental destruction they have caused or their obligations
to workers, as mining companies have done in the past.
Some obvious measures would include, but
not be limited to:
a. A remediation bond payable by the
owners of the Eden woodchip mill to cover costs of restoring the
chipmill site for other purposes once the chipmill closes.
b. A levy on the Forestry
Corporation per hectare logged to provide for the restoration of
native forests logged between now and the closure of the native
c. A water quality levy imposed on
all logging operations undertaken in estuary catchments such as
Wonboyn and river catchments.
d. A road maintenance fee to ensure
that roads used by log trucks cease to be a financial burden on
other road users, councils and taxpayers until logging ends.
e. A retraining fund payable by
industry employers to entitle all workers currently employed in the
logging industry to a retraining package to acquire new skills.
f. A fire control levy payable by
the industry to the Rural Fire Service per hectare logged, in
recognition of the fact that dense regrowth forests are more fire
prone than mature unlogged forests.
g. Twofold Bay seabed damage
prevention and remediation levy on woodchip carriers using loading
facilities at the chipmill, in compensation for degradation of
habitat of species such as the weedy sea dragon and green sea turtle
by woodchip carriers.
h. If the RFAs are renewed, Wood
Supply Agreements should be for realistic timeframes (no more than 5
years), should not contain 'take or pay' clauses and not carry
unwarranted penalties for any early cessation of access to wood