Eurobodalla Greens Media Release 27/9/2018
Confirms Loss of Social Licence
The commencement of logging on 17th September 2018 at Corunna State Forest represents another monumental failure to listen to the will of the people, according to the Eurobodalla Greens.
For six months the Corunna Forest Protection Group based in the southern part of Eurobodalla Shire has respectfully campaigned for this particular little forest to be left alone. Its members have collected over 4000 signatories on a petition, pleaded with the local member Andrew Constance to intervene, negotiated with Forestry Corporation to defer logging and taken the issue to the public forum of the Council chambers. Even a fall back proposal to create a signposted forest walk in the central valley has met with flat rejection.
The decision to push ahead with logging Corunna despite such concerted opposition smacks of arrogance. “It is a text book case of why Forestry Corporation’s continued logging in native forests has lost its social licence”, according to the Eurobodalla Greens’ Forest Campaigner, Will Douglas. Of the 5,425 submissions to the NSW Regional Forest Agreements review this year only 23 supported the Government's proposal to extend the RFAs for 20 years. “It is clear that the community does not support the NSW and Commonwealth Government's proposals to extend the RFAs for 20 more years”, said Mr Douglas. “In fact this is a perfect opportunity for FCNSW to start moving its operations out of publicly owned native forests and into its purpose-planted hardwood plantation resource. In the meantime”, concludes Douglas, “a high profile iconic forest like Corunna should be spared from any logging operation.”
Eurobodalla locals can be forgiven for mistrusting assurances given by Forestry Corporation. Witness the promises of a lighter logging regime in behind Mogo township that resulted in environmental carnage earlier this year (see photo).
And locals well remember that Forestry Corporation, was found guilty of "systematic failures" of forest management including burning protected bushland near Batemans Bay. In 2013 Justice Rachel Pepper of the Land and Environment Court recorded that the logging organisation had a history of convictions for bad forestry practices.
"The evidence of past convictions for environmental offences does not demonstrate that Forestry NSW has been a good corporate citizen with respect to environmental statutory compliance,” said Magistrate Pepper. It was fined $35,000 and ordered to pay court costs for causing environmental damage.
The Eurobodalla Greens call on the local member for Bega and his Liberal State Government to heed the impassioned pleas of the constituents to act decisively and have Corunna Forest set aside as a Preserved Forest Area until further notice.
Post script: The logging operation at Corunna wound up in late October 2018. It appears that the focused community attention given to this particular forest had the effect of lightening the intensity of the "harvest".
The campaign has since spawned the Forest Embassy which is committed to drawing all grass roots groups into a united voice to end native forest logging in Australia.