The National Parks Association (NPA) welcomed yesterday’s announcement of major walking track upgrades through mid-north coast rainforests while questioning why the NSW Government has neglected to protect nearby public forests from logging.
‘We’re always supportive of environmentally sensitive works for nature-based tourism, but surely the first priority must be to protect all of the forests of the proposed Great Koala National Park’ asserted NPA campaigner Paula Flack.
‘The fact that NSW Forestry Corporation has just been prosecuted for illegal clearing in nearby State Forests tells us that the tourism potential of our native forests will only be realised once they are permanently protected in the Great Koala National Park.
‘Many Australians believe that precious rainforests are only at risk in areas like Borneo
Orangutan habitat. The reality is that ancient rainforests continue to be destroyed right here in NSW.
Nation -wide, rainforests once covered about 4% of Australia’s landmass two hundred years ago. Today they have shrunk to barely 0.3%’. stated Ms Flack.
NPA CEO Gary Dunnett said ‘Dorrigo National Park sits along the western edge of the proposed Great Koala National Park. The full tourism and ecological potential of these forests, and most importantly their resilience to the rapidly escalating impacts of climate change, requires that all of the national parks and state forests between Dorrigo and the coast are fully protected.
‘If the NSW Government truly wants NSW national parks to play a role in supporting regional communities through tourism the first step is to end logging in public native forests. The Great Koala National Park proposal would bring 9,800 jobs and $330 million in additional wages to the mid North Coast.
‘An investment must also be made in the upcoming State Budget to support the transition of forestry workers and industries away from public native logging’ concluded Mr Dunnett.
Media Contacts (via NPA Office (02)9299 0000):
Paula Flack, GKNP Campaigner
Dr Grahame Douglas, NPA President