Continued logging of NSW koala habitat is ‘a profound tragedy’, conservationist says

Continued logging of NSW koala habitat is ‘a profound tragedy’, conservationist says

Longtime forest advocates have expressed disgust at the ongoing logging of koala habitat in northern New South Wales despite promises the state government would protect the species, with one seasoned campaigner calling the destruction a “profound tragedy”.

In September last year, the Minns government ordered a halt to logging operations in certain high value koala habitat – known as “koala hubs” – in the proposed Great Koala national park.

That move protected 5% of the proposed park but community campaigners say logging has continued in other important habitat within its boundaries, as well as in koala habitat outside the proposed park.

Mark Graham, a community advocate, said: “These are extinction logging operations. This is a profound tragedy.”

The NSW agriculture minister Tara Moriarty said timber harvesting would continue in areas of the proposed great koala national park that were not designated koala hubs “but only where operational plans have been approved under the tightest environmental protection rules in the country.

“The NSW Government is working closely with industry to develop a blueprint for the future timber sector that accommodates the Great Kola National Park, the production of critical timber products for construction and housing, and the highest environmental standards,” she said.

A spokesperson for the NSW Forestry Corporation said there had been no increase in the agency’s timber harvesting operations on the north coast. They said there were strict rules to protect preferred koala feed trees during logging operations.

“All timber harvesting undertaken by the Forestry Corporation is in line with both our annual plan of operations and an independently verified level for sustainable harvesting and regrowth,” they said.