The proposed Great Koala National Park is hoping to protect 315,000ha of forests, creeks, rivers and trails from native logging. It’s gonna be an election issue this Saturday and Yasmin’s got a strong case for protecting it – get learned up!
The Great Koala National Park (GKNP) is an alternative proposal to native forest logging that would see 175,000ha of publicly owned state forests added to existing protected areas to form a 315,000ha reserve in the Coffs Harbour hinterland.
Stretching approximately from Kempsey in the south to Woolgoolga in the North and west to New England, the GKNP is a rare opportunity to halt the decline of Koalas in NSW and preserve an incredibly beautiful part of the world.
Why Do We Need Another National Park? Don’t We Already Have Large Tracts Of Well-Managed State Forest?
Not quite. On 30th November 2018 the NSW and Commonwealth governments announced that they would extend the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for another 20 years.
The RFAs are the deals between the state and federal governments that allow industrial logging of public forests, by effectively giving logging an exemption from Commonwealth environmental law.
For the last 20 years RFAs have facilitated logging in our forests that has driven many species – including koalas, quolls and gliders – closer to the brink of extinction. This decision to extend the RFAs flies in the face of scientists’ calls for thorough reassessments amidst extensive evidence of RFAs as a failed model. We know that native forest logging drives Key Threatening Processes that push forest wildlife towards extinction, lowers carbon stores of forests, is not the optimal use of our public native forests and is deeply unpopular throughout Australia. With large, reasonably well-managed plantations Australia wide, the timber industry should no longer need to use native forests for its supplies.
Also, The Logging’s About To Get Worse
The extended RFAs will legally permit the NSW government to implement a suite of new logging rules (called Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals) that will see a dramatic intensification of logging throughout NSW, including; a new 140000ha ‘Intensive Harvesting Zone (basically clearfell), a reduction in stream buffers, further declines in hollow-bearing trees and the ability to again log giant trees up to 160cm diameter. The NSW government is also in the process of ‘remapping and rezoning’ forests protected as old-growth when the RFAs were signed in the 1990s, now making them available for harvest!
These logging changes will damage our NSW native forests for a very, very long time. In a world increasingly troubled by climate change and alarming species extinctions, this is one massive chance you have to make a difference. When you’re talking to your local member and casting your vote, make sure you find out their stance on native logging, what they’re doing to solve the climate crisis and of course, whether they support the Great Koala National Park.
Feature Photo by Lincoln Head
A region worth protecting