Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Former Greens Leader Christine Milne to tour forest blockade and site of proposed Great Koala National Park

Christine Milne
Former Greens leader Christine Milne will visit Bellingen on the NSW Mid North Coast on Thursday 1 March to meet with local conservationists involved in an ongoing forest blockade and to inspect logging sites within the proposed Great Koala National Park.

She will join NSW Greens MP, Dawn Walker in supporting community direct action to stop logging of koala habitat in the region’s State Forests amid the backdrop of NSW Government plans for an extension of the destructive Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs) for another 20 years. 

They will be joined by representatives from the National Parks Association and key community organisations to view first-hand the destruction caused by logging core koala habitat in State Forests that are part of the proposed Great Koala National Park.

Ms Milne was a key figure in many of Tasmania’s iconic forestry campaigns and was instrumental in the fight to protect Tasmania's wilderness. She will share her experiences with locals and discuss tactics for the next phase of the local campaign.

Quotes from Christine Milne:

“The NSW Mid North Coast is home to some of Australia’s most stunning forest and precious koala populations. It’s ludicrous that in 2018, the NSW Government can push ahead with more logging and destruction, rather than restoring and protecting this special area.

“I’m proud to be joining the community to take a stand against more logging in local forests, which is causing erosion, polluting waterways and resulting in the loss of vital habitat for threatened species. Our children will never forgive us if we drive wild koalas to extinction.

“Tourists will come from all over Australia and overseas to enjoy a Great Koala National Park and see these magnificent animals in the wild. No one wants to see dead tree stumps and destruction left behind by the logging industry” said Christine Milne.

Quotes from Dawn Walker:

"It's time to end native forest logging in NSW and preserve our precious koala habitat. The current review of Regional Forest Agreements RFAs was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to act for a better future for the region’s forests, koalas and other wildlife, but this Government has failed and are determined to lock in more destructive forest logging that is contributing to global warming.

"Destructive logging practices across NSW are impacting our water catchments, biodiversity and pushing our koalas closer to extinction.

“I’m proud to be bringing former Greens leader, Christine Milne to the NSW Mid North Coast so she can lend her support for the campaign for a Great Koala National Park, which is becoming a major election issue in the lead up to the next NSW State election that is only one year away” Ms Walker said.

February 26


·         In the last 20 years, wild koala populations have halved on NSW's North Coast and are declining across the rest of NSW. A proposed solution is to convert areas of public State Forest that are being logged into a new Great Koala National Park in an area that contains an estimated 20% (about 4,500) of NSW’s wild koalas.

·         The Great Koala National Park will give NSW’s dwindling koala population the habitat they need to help survive. By adding 175,000ha of state forests to existing protected areas to form a new 315,000ha reserve in the Coffs Harbour hinterland. See: https://npansw.org/what-we-do/our-work/campaigns/great-koala-national-park/  

·         The Great Koala National Park is supported by many groups, including the NSW National Parks  Association, North East Forest Alliance, Bellingen Shire Council, the NSW Greens, Bellingen Environment Centre and NSW Labor Party, but opposed by the NSW Liberal-National Government.

·         Debate over this proposed National Park has been increasing in the local community and pitted pro and anti-logging forces against each other. A recent poll of marginal seats in Northern NSW showed overwhelming support for the creation of national parks to protect koalas from logging, making the Great Koala National Park a potent issue in the lead up to the 2019 NSW State election. See: www.echo.net.au/2017/12/surveys-show-support-greater-koala-protection.

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