Environment groups have today slammed a new logging industry report claiming dramatic losses of jobs and to the economy from the creation of the Great Koala National Park as baseless scaremongering.
“The report takes an extremely narrow focus and makes no effort at all to model any benefits associated with the Great Koala National Park. Nor does it consider the positive economic benefits of protecting koalas – a species that, alone, supports 9,000 jobs in Australia and is worth up to $2.5 billion every year” said Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist for the National Parks Association of NSW.
“Further, no validation or verification of data sources was done, and therefore the results of the analysis are dependent on the accuracy of the impact data provided by industry – an industry that has a highly questionable record when it comes to transparency” continued Sweeney.
“What the report does show is that there are as few as 566 direct jobs in native forest logging in the north coast forestry region. In other words, only one in every 10,000 workers is employed through native forest logging, far less than logging proponents have previously claimed” said Pete Cooper, NSW Campaign Manager for the Wilderness Society.
“A fair and just restructure package will allow workers to retrain and redeploy – jobs are not going to just disappear into an abyss, they never have when the forest industry has been restructured in the past” continued Cooper.
“Nature-based tourism was worth $19.6 billion to NSW last year alone, and national parks are key to this industry. The Great Koala National Park has the potential to become a global bucket list destination, which would see benefits flow to the region. This has been entirely ignored.
“Also ignored are the huge benefits that forests provide to people, including clean water and carbon stores. Research has shown that water from forests can be worth 26 times the value of timber and carbon four times.” concluded Sweeney.