By Scott Sledge, NEC President
A lot has been happening with planning for a more sustainable future. The NSW state Labor Party Conference just concluded, with some good resolutions, including a process recommended to reduce reliance on native timber forestry and expand plantation estates. Jaden Harris, NSW Convenor of the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN), said after the Conference that it was very productive and included resolutions to:
- Legislate a ban on all single-use plastics.
- Plan a circular economy, with a long-term goal of zero waste to landfill or incineration.
- Reduce the NSW government’s public-sector emissions to net-zero by 2030.
- Scale hydrogen production and ensure that all hydrogen infrastructure is green-hydrogen ready.
- Re-commit to nuclear power not being a climate solution and to reject all pro-nuclear motions.
- Adopt land clearing laws capable of stopping deforestation.
The federal Labor government is not so forward-facing, it would seem. “The Federal Government has recommitted its support for the sustainable management of the native timber industry. Speaking at Forestry Australia’s National Symposium in Albury yesterday Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Murray Watt also acknowledged the economic importance of keeping people employed in the industry in country towns.” Ref: Timberbiz
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW criticised the Federal Government for not taking decisive action to protect forests and wildlife by ruling out the use of native forests for electricity generation. To reach the target of 43 per cent reductions on 2005 levels by 2030, Labor will allow big industrial polluters to buy carbon credits from the $4.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund instead of reducing their emissions.
Nightcap blockade anniversary. The environmental movement has celebrated 40 years since the Wran government in NSW ordered a stop to logging at Mt. Nardi. The protest eventually resulted in the creation of the Nightcap National Park and several other forested areas being included in a World Heritage listing. The anniversary was celebrated at Nimbin during the week ending 23rd October. Many veterans of the protest still live in the Northern Rivers and some came from far away to join the events, including Lisa Yeates and Soozah Clarke, whom many will remember from the Nimbin music quartet, Silly Symphony. Winiata sang and told stories of his time on both Mt. Nardi and the Franklin blockades. Benny Zable and Lisa Yeates featured in the award-winning new film ‘Franklin,’ which screened at the Bush Theatre on Sunday 23rd. The audience was smaller than expected due to heavy rain threatening to flood roads and isolate Nimbin. Artist and singer Paul Paitson had to leave early to be ahead of authorities closing the road to Lismore.
NEFA President Dailan Pugh gave a summary of all the areas protected as a result of successful protest actions, including the 1982 NSW Cabinet historic Rainforest Decision, creating or expanding the Nightcap, Border Ranges, Washpool, Dorrigo, New England, Werrikimbe and Barrington Tops National Parks, creating Mount Seaview and Mt Hyland Nature Reserves, and the Murray Scrub, Sandy Creek and Cambridge Plateau Flora Reserves. Dailan told the audience that climate change is putting it all at risk. He said that huge areas of forest had been destroyed by the wildfires of recent years and that we must renew our efforts to preserve natural habitats.
Community environmental picnic at The Rocks. The Nature Conservation Council of NSW encouraged communities to gather for picnics to promote environmental awareness. Nimbin, Uki, Chillingham, Byron Bay and Lismore were among the 44 venues holding such gatherings on Sunday 16th October. NEC sponsored a picnic on Widgabul-Wiabal land with assistance from the Ngulingah Land Council. A welcome to country was given by David Laurie, Karen Roberts and Mark Roberts. Ranger Gordon had the native plants nursery open for inspection and purchases. Musicians Peter Walker and Sophia Fletcher entertained. About 45 people came to enjoy the ambiance. The NCC reminds us that we need to tell politicians how much we care about saving our environment. To share ideas how to influence the results of the March 2023 NSW state elections and to sign up for information go to www.nature.org.au/.
Forest News: The “End Public Native Forest Logging” e-petition received 21,046 signatures and was presented in the NSW Legislative Assembly. The topic was discussed/debated in the Assembly in Sydney on 15 Sep 2022. No resolution was proposed or adopted.
b. The state-owned Forestry Corp has stopped logging the Cherry Tree State forest due to a Court ruling on a request for injunction by Bundjalung native title holders which claims that the forest around Mallanganee is a vital corridor for wildlife occupation and transit to and from the lowland coastal region and the Border Ranges National Park. Forest Corp has scheduled logging to commence in Myrtle State Forest south of Casino between January and May next year…unless we can stop them.
c. Citizen scientists found over 55 logging breaches by FCNSW at Ellis State Forest. NEFA calls for the NSW EPA to issue an urgent Stop Work order. For more info, see “Real Law Breakers Must Be Stopped”: https://www.nefa.org.au/real_
Fridays4Forests visited the offices of various federal representatives, including Labor’s Richmond MP Justine Elliot at South Tweed. Justine was asked to add to the community submissions calling for the Renewable Energy Act to be amended to prevent government subsidies going to burning of biomass for energy production. concerned citizens made submissions before the 21st October deadline to the Federal Government discussion paper asking for native forest to be protected from logging and for biomass to be removed from the list of “renewable resources” that can attract Renewable Energy Credits. Presently many good trees are being chipped and shipped from the Americas to the UK and Europe and called “Green Energy,” despite the use of wood as a fuel being more carbon emission intensive than coal !