Leaked Government report signals an end to native forest logging

The NSW has been keeping secret a report that would effectively stop logging on the south coast.

The report, “Coastal IFOA operations post-2019-20 wildfires” by the Natural Resources Commission was completed in June but kept from the public by having it designated “Cabinet-in-Confidence,” said Harriett Swift, spokesperson for the Chipstop campaign against woodchipping

The report was commissioned as a way to resolve a stand off between the Forestry Corporation and the Environment Protection Authority over the future of native forest logging after the Black Summer bushfires.

In spite of the Government’s best efforts to keep it under wraps, the report was leaked this week.

Harriett Swift said: ”The report has particular relevance to the south coast where 80 percent of all native forest available for logging was burnt in the bushfires.”

She said: “The forests of the Nowra and Narooma zones were found to be at “extreme risk” with a recommendation that all logging should cease for three years.”

The remaining south coast zones of Eden, Bateman’s Bay and Badja were found to be “high risk” if “normal” logging resumed.

Ms Swift said that the Government and the Forestry Corporation have ignored the report and have continued to log native forests as if the bushfires had never happened.

“It is delusional and bordering on criminal that they have just sat on this report for almost 6 months and continued to allow logging.”

“Now that the report has become public the Government can no longer dodge responsibility for what is happening to our forests.”

“If the forests and the wildlife are to have a future there should be an immediate halt to all native forest logging,” she said.

25 November 2021

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Extract from the report, page 7:

Noting the limitations, analysis using comparable interstate data indicates there is likely to be a significant risk to jobs in south coast subregions at least in the short term and potentially longer if mills are no longer viable at reduced supply levels. It is possible that some parts of the industry will not be viable to operate at the forecast supply levels. Estimated reduced wood supply volumes place the Nowra and Narooma sawmills at risk. Reductions in wood supply would also likely lead to lower operating levels for the existing mill and the mill currently under construction in Eden. The significantly reduced operating levels may make the mills nonviable. It is estimated that over half the forestry jobs in the south coast and Eden subregions would be affected in the short term (next 18 months) and potentially in the medium term. This warrants immediate further analysis and engagement with industry.