Today’s report in The Australian (“NSW cabinet ministers clash over environment”) should be a cause of profound concern for anyone who cares about our natural heritage, says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).
Despite a statement by the Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton, reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 7 October 2017 that there were ‘no plans’ to log the Murray Valley National Park, the media report suggests otherwise*.
The report suggests that the Premier herself promised that the park would be logged, presumably to deliver on a promise by the now Member for Murray, Austin Evans, in the runup to a tightly contested by-election.
NPA CEO, Alix Goodwin, said: “The apathy about protecting our environment seems to go right to the Premier, while the Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton, ‘isn’t on top of her brief’.
“It’s frightening that the National Party has such a grip on environment policy that the Premier would consider logging such an important national park.
“Along with another nine groups, we wrote to the Premier in November urging her to rule out degazettal. We received an email reply from the National Parks and Wildlife Service with bland assurances. We were worried then, and this report shows our concerns were well founded.
“Where does this end? We know that the timber industry wants to log national parks to boost timber supply as part of their ‘beyond tenure’ campaign. Today the Murray Valley, tomorrow, a park near you?
“It’s abundantly clear who’s running environment policy in NSW. We need an Environment Minister who will be the voice of the environment in cabinet, before our national parks become the victim of forestry and agribusiness.
NPA CEO: Alix Goodwin: 9299 0000
* Corrected statement, updated 26 Feb 2018