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4/2/05... Greens grim take on Brigalow South western woodland negotiation

Media Release 4 February, 2005

'Chainsaw' MacDonald declares war [on] forests

A controversial meeting between Primary Industries Minister Ian MacDonald and the timber industry has revealed the Carr Government intends to abandon the last remaining native woodlands in western NSW, Greens MLC Ian Cohen said today.

"Mr MacDonald has met with industry representatives in Gunnedah, which is a highly provocative move as it is the gateway to the Brigalow Belt woodlands and a focal point of the stand off between community and environment groups and the timber industry.

"Despite the Carr Government already stating the importance of conserving the western woodlands, Mr MacDonald has now snubbed community and environment groups and publicly displayed his government's intentions."

The Carr Government had committed to announcing protection measures for the Brigalow Belt in November 2002, but still hasn't made an announcement.

"Less than 10 per cent of the original woodlands west of the Great Dividing Range remain and the majority of it is in the Brigalow Belt.

"A failure by the Carr Labor Government to protect old growth forests in the Brigalow Belt threatens extinction for animal and plant species and opportunities for regional communities to attract tourism to the region.

"We need a better balance. It is possible to protect areas of high conservation value while ensuring a sustainable supply of timber and protecting jobs.

"What is currently occurring is a mismanagement of natural resources. In a very short time there will simply be nothing left for either side to negotiate over."

Further information: Paul Sheridan, ph: 0410 516 656

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