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Greens MP joins forest protestors on the battlefields of the Government’s koala wars

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
30 January 2023

Forest protectors have once again stopped the industrial logging of our public native forests, this time in Yarratt State Forest near Taree. Contractors arrived this morning to two peaceful activists who have stopped the logging operation by suspending themselves in tree sits above logging machinery. 

Yarratt State Forest is identified koala habitat and has known significant koala occupancy, indicating clusters of resident populations. It is the only State Forest in the Taree Management Area to have survived the 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires. 

After the fires the NSW Government’s own independent expert forest advisory body, the Natural Resources Commission, advised that logging in the Taree Management Area must be suspended for 3 years from the time of the fire because of “the risk of serious and irreversible harm to environmental values from the cumulative impact of fires and logging”.  Instead, the Government has buried the report, blatantly ignored the Natural Resources Commission advice and has already logged the southern half of Yarratt State Forest. 

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment, Sue Higginson, joined the forest protectors this morning at the site of the action. She said, “it’s unfathomable what is happening here, I am on the battlefield of the Liberal National Coalition Governments Koala Wars. The Government is running its own protection racket, allowing Forestry Corporation to trash the forests and destroy koala habitat against its own rules. If it wasn’t for these brave forest protectors the Government would be out here again today destroying more koala habitat against their own expert advice,

“We witnessed the koala wars play out in Parliament House and now I am seeing them here on the frontlines, right here in our precious public native forests. The Natural Resources Commission gave specific advice not to log this forest. The nearby Kiwarrak State Forest was severely burnt in the fires and there have only been 5 records of koalas since. Whereas here in Yarratt there have been 31 koala records since the fires. Last year koalas were listed as endangered with extinction. We have been warned the koala will be extinct in the wild by 2050 unless we protect their habitat, 

“This is an absolute racket. The Government is ignoring science, industry and communities by destroying koala habitat and our public native forests,

“Native forests, especially those that are recovering from the Black Summer fires, like Yarrat, are vital refuges for native species and act as massive carbon sinks in the struggle to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, 

“It is galling that this is happening on our watch and to think it is costing taxpayers to fight this war. Last year logging our public native forests cost NSW taxpayers $9 million and $28 million dollars over the past 2 years.   

“I’m calling on the Government to stop this nonsense and announce their plan to transition out of the unprofitable logging of native forests and into a 100% sustainable plantation industry model that will benefit communities and the environment,” Ms Higginson said.

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
30 January 2023
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