Today’s revelations in the Sydney Morning Herald—detailing a nationwide study of 11,500 people that shows a strong majority of people oppose native forest logging—shows how out of touch the government is with the public on forest protection.
The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) is calling on the NSW government to abandon its draconian logging plans and chart an exit out of native forest logging, and for the federal government to rethink its commitment to signing new Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).
The study found that urban and rural votes broadly share the same strong disapproval of logging—putting the lie to claims that only urban dwellers care about the environment—and that logging is unpopular even where the remnants of the industry persist.
The results are in line with polling conducted in the NSW electorates of Lismore and Ballina in December 2017 that showed 90% support for protecting forests for wildlife, water, carbon stores and recreation. Under 10% considered the best use of forests was logging and woodchipping, with just 2% supporting logging and burning forests for electricity—an approach flagged last year for the NSW North Coast by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
“The government’s snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by passing up a golden opportunity to do what the majority of the public wants and protect forests and forest animals”, said Ms Alix Goodwin, NPA CEO.
“This is the latest piece of evidence that clearly demonstrates how far the NSW government’s plans to intensify logging, abandon species protections and open protected forests up for logging are removed from public expectation.
“Public feedback to the so-called consultations on the RFAs and the government’s proposed new logging laws showed exactly the same as this study: an overwhelming majority opposing logging and backing forest protection.
“The public can see what the government won’t: that logging is killing wildlife, driving species declines and destroying our forests.
“Indeed, a large number of submissions to the federal inquiry into our faunal extinction crisis pointed to logging as a key driver of wildlife declines—the end result of which is extinction.
“Yet in full knowledge of this the government plans an ‘intensive harvesting zone’ between Taree and Grafton—covering nearly half of all high-quality koala habitat in state forests—and wants to log forests protected as old-growth in the 1990s.
“We’ve got a much better idea: the governments could listen to public opinion, listen to the scientific evidence, and end logging. NPA’s Great Koala National Park and Forests For All proposals offer a means to do this while creating jobs and boosting regional economies.”
Media contact: Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist (02)9299 0000