Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Shooters must not call the shots on logging in national parks

Joint media release:
The Wilderness Society
National Parks Association of NSW
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd

Four of the state’s leading conservation organisations have called on the O’Farrell government to reject the recommendations of the upper house inquiry into public lands [1] to allow logging in national parks and place a moratorium on new conservation areas.

The coalition, which includes the National Parks Association of NSW, The Wilderness Society (NSW), the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, said that if media accounts of the inquiry report’s recommendations are correct, forestry was incompatible with nature conservation, and dismissed the inquiry’s report as biased and a waste of money.

The committee was chaired by Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Brown.

The Wilderness Society NSW Campaigns Manager Belinda Fairbrother said: “The people of NSW will be outraged by calls to open our national parks up to logging. The idea that you could swap diverse, old-growth forests in national parks for overexploited patches of state forest, as this report apparently recommends, is completely ludicrous. This report wilfully ignores the evidence of the major environmental impacts of current forestry practices, preferring instead to repeat industry spin about the environmental benefits of logging.”

Colong Foundation for Wilderness Director Keith Muir said: “This report is a politically motivated attack on national parks, their current management and park rangers. Our national parks system is something to be very proud of, and it deserves adequate resourcing and significant expansion so that we have a reserve system that protects adequate examples of all the diverse environments in NSW. The recommendation of a moratorium on national park declarations flies in the face of good policy.”

National Parks Association of NSW CEO Kevin Evans said: “This report highlights what a farcical waste of money these standing committees can be. The committee was chaired by Robert Brown of the Shooters and Fishers Party, which has long called for this inquiry and this report has his fingerprints all over it. The inquiry’s terms of reference were biased from the start. Now it seems the report’s author has zeroed in on the complaints of those with an anti-national parks agenda, such as elements of the forestry industry. The report’s recommendations conveniently overlook the concerns of all the NSW citizens and landholders who spoke out against the exploitation of our national parks.”

Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO Pepe Clarke said: “Despite the mix of participants on the committee, many of the report’s recommendations are uncannily similar to the agenda of the Shooters and Fishers Party. The opening of national parks to ‘forestry harvesting’ is one of their policies. The Inquiry’s findings, as reported, also appear to fit with their agenda of introducing grazing, logging and high-impact recreation into national parks. Although the NSW government has said in the past that it is not their agenda to allow logging in national parks, the last two years have shown us that another force is at play in decisions like allowing hunting in national parks. We challenge the NSW government to finally stand up to the Shooters and Fishers party and dismiss the recommendations of this report as the extremist wish list that they are.”

[1] The NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No.5’s Inquiry Into Management of Public Land in New South Wales

Media contacts:

The Wilderness Society – NSW Campaigns Director Belinda Fairbrother, 0405 082 396
Colong Foundation for Wilderness – Director Keith Muir, 0412 791 404
National Parks Association of NSW – CEO Kevin Evans, 0457 797 977
Nature Conservation Council of NSW – Media Officer James Tremain, 0419 272 254