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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Web story heralds NSW Govt logging of Bermagui koala forest
Mood:  hug me


Picture: Mainstream residents of NSW South Coast earlier this week reject a native forest logging future for their publicly owned natural heritage, taken at Cobargo near Bermagui forests.


This story ran on the Sydney Morning Herald website dated 28 October but never made the city hard copy yesterday or today:

Last koala habitats get the chopMay still be using the area ... koalas are known to travel up t

Picture: May still be using the area ... koalas are known to travel up to 50 kilometres in search of mates or food.
Glen Watson

Ben Cubby, Environment Reporter
October 28, 2008

BULLDOZERS rolled in to some of the last remaining koala habitats on the South Coast yesterday, marking the start of what police fear could be a divisive logging operation.

Forests NSW workers plan to log about 180 hectares of native eucalypt forest from the coast north of Bermagui, for a mixture of wood veneer products and woodchips.

But environmentalists and local residents are planning a long campaign to keep the forest undisturbed.

New studies by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change show only a handful of koalas remain in the district - perhaps a dozen out of a Far South Coast population once counted in the thousands.

None have been found within the logging zone itself, although the discovery of koala droppings suggest the animals may move through the area from time to time.

The NSW Government said logging in the two zones north of Bermagui would not affect the koalas.

"Extensive surveys have shown there are no koalas in the two compartments involved in the current harvest and few in the South Coast area," the Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, said in a statement.

A coalition of local environment groups, called the South East Region Conservation Alliance, said that koalas may still use the logging zone, and said a koala management plan for the district was not yet complete.

"These public forests are of critical importance to the survival of the remnant of the koala population," said a spokesman, John Hibberd.

"The remnant here is thought to be about 10 to 12 individuals, and there's a very real chance that the loss of this habitat, together with the pressures of climate change and drought, could see them die out," Mr Hibberd said.

Koalas are known to travel up to 50 kilometres in search of mates or food. Protesters, some of whom volunteered in a koala-spotting survey over the past two years, believe the logging would make the few remaining animals more isolated and vulnerable to bushfires.

Workers from Bruce Mathie and Sons, the company that has a contract from Forests NSW to carry out the logging operation, have been instructed to halt work if any koalas are sighted.

As protesters established a camp in the forest yesterday, police put in new temporary speed limits on nearby roads and issued a warning against violent protests, in light of recent logging-related incidents in Tasmania, during which an activist's car was smashed with a sledgehammer and a camp destroyed with petrol bombs. Police from the Public Order and Riot Squad were patrolling entrances to the state forest at Bermagui yesterday.

The South East Region Conservation Alliance said logging in native forests was no longer necessary because Australia had enough mature plantations to meet all its domestic wood needs.

The Bermagui state forest was logged 20 years ago, and clear-felled in 1928.


Instead today the Herald runs this story today, important too for the demise of influence of ex treasurer, redneck Michael Costa (bold added):

Sea-level rise threat to coast 29 October 2008

"SYDNEY'S iconic beaches, coastal houses, commercial property and roads will be threatened by rising sea levels by 2050, while the city's temperature is expected to rise by at least 2 degrees, a new scientific study, launched by the Premier, Nathan Rees, reveals.

"Today, the science is in for Sydney," Mr Rees said yesterday as he proclaimed the influence of the climate sceptic and former treasurer Michael Costa at an end in NSW.

"The Costa era of ambiguity around this issue is over. Along with the rest of the NSW public, I recognise that climate change is a reality and that the NSW Government needs to prepare for it," the Premier said. "There is no longer a climate-change sceptic at the centre of government decision-making in this state".

The study commissioned by the NSW Department of Climate Change, and adopted by the Government, was carried out by the University of NSW and uses research from the United Nations' peak scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It examines the effect of climate change on the greater Sydney metropolitan region from the Central Coast to Wollongong, along with other regions in rural NSW. The full state study is expected to be released in January.

By 2050, Manly will get narrower as the tide line climbs closer to buildings.
Important story but so is the forest story. We have been following the traffic from wonderful group Chipstop on our email networks:
From: Samantha Davis
Date: 28 October 2008 9:33:52 PM
To: Five Forests
Subject: Bermagui Logging

Dear Friends of The Bermagui Forest , The Five Forests , and everyone with an interest in protecting our invaluable Natural Heritage.
Register your support for the campaign to rescue our Forest from the ruthless logging industry.
You can do this by coming along to our peaceful vigil every morning near the junction of the Cobargo Bermagui Road and Wallaga Lake Road, even if you only have a few minutes to spare on your way through town.
Sign the petition, have a cup of tea. And discuss the situation.
Then send our Ministers emails, letters and phone them.
Let them know that the people of this town value our
Forest and watercatchments and want them PROTECTED.

The total collapse of the promised community consultation process has left us no options.

IF YOU THINK THIS FOREST IS WORTH SAVING , and the other forests that are in line for the same fate are also worth saving,? please take the time to contact our? ministers.
We demand changes to forest management and a complete review of  The Regional Forest Agreement which is allowing the destruction to continue.

Contact our Ministers.
Carmell Tebbutt , Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate Change and the Environment?
Level 30
Governor Macquarie Tower,
1 Farrer Place,
SYDNEY 2000 NSW? Phone (02)9228 4866 Fax. (02) 9228 4855

Premier Nathan Rees? ?ph. office 92285239

Begin forwarded message:

Subject: Press Release
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 05:24:05 +0000

Over 40 community members from all walks of life took time off to meet at the Bermagui-Cobargo turnoff on Monday morning. They were gathered in a peaceful protest against the logging of the Bermagui State Forest for woodchips.

'' There is a perception amongst the forest conservation community that there is a concerted effort across the eastern states to mount a co-ordinated pillage of contentious native forest areas' said Tony Whan, forest activist with South East Forest Rescue. ' The Upper Florentine in Tasmania, Valley of the Giants in East Gippsland, and Bermagui in the South East of NSW are being simultaneously logged'

Friends of Five Forests spokesperson Suzanne Foulkes expressed concern over the failure of Forestry NSW to arrange the promised community consultation meeting with the Department of Environment and Conservation to discuss the?fate of Bermagui's last koala colony and their habitat.

Inspite of the Harvesting Plan only being released on Friday the logging machinery was moved into Bermagui's beautiful forest this morning under very heavy and unneccessary police protection.

This industry has a history of environmental vandalism, uncontrolled erosion, siltation of river systems and the destruction of biodiversity and vital carbon storage.
The question must be asked. How is it our police have been compromised into protecting an operation that is, under the legislated requirements of the Regional Foresty Agreement, illegal?

For further information call Lisa or Tony 0437471763


Posted by editor at 6:03 PM NZT

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