Coastwatchers AGM 2017 – New Date – Saturday October 28th

The Coastwatchers Association’s

Annual General Meeting

to be held NOW on

Saturday 28 October 2017 @ 2.00 pm

at the Tomakin Hall, Tomakin


Our apologies for any inconvenience caused by the change of date.

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The Coastwatchers Association Inc. is the leading community environmental and conservation group serving the South Coast of NSW, principally in the Shire of Eurobodalla between Narooma and Batemans Bay.

Welcome to our website. We aim to provide information and resources in this website such that it can be used as a significant community resource. We welcome comments or suggested improvements (click the envelope icon on the right to email).

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Moruya Forest Forum Resources – August 23rd 2017

NPA Forests for All Plan
Great Southern Forest Campaign seeks to protect all of the 430,000 hectares of public native forests of the Southern and Eden Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) regions following the expiry of the RFAs. The GSF is a partnership between NPA Far South Coast Branch, the South East Region Conservation Alliance and the National Trust NSW.  Forests For All seeks to build a broad alliance of regional communities, health, environment, business and outdoor recreation groups. 

Understorey Trailer
Subscribe to Nature News re upcoming actions and events.
Carbon Storage
Tourism re Unspoilt Eurobodalla
National Trust Register of Significant Trees

Forestry Website Extract and links
Forestry Corporation welcomes stakeholder input to inform our detailed operational planning.  In particular, we are keen to:
•        Identify whether stakeholders have any specific concern in relation to particular compartments
•        Ensure stakeholders have access to the Harvest Plans and answer any questions they have about these documents
•        Identify any additional issues, both on the forest and along potential log haulage routes, for consideration prior to operations commencing
Interested stakeholders can email to make contact with a forester and discuss the Plan of Operations or an individual Harvest Plan in more detail.

Media Contact Pages  Eurobodalla Shire Online News
Riot Act Canberra Canberra Online News

Politician Contact Pages phone, request appointment with staff, email, write letters, facebook
Andrew Constance re Bega – Office in Bega
Anne Sudmalis re Gilmore Office in Nowra
Mike Kelly re Eden-Monaro – Office in Queanbeyan and Bega.
Dawn Walker NSW MLA
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian 

Nature Conservation Council has been campaigning the Premier about clearing laws in August.

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Moruya Forest Forum Resolutions- August 23rd 2017

This meeting calls on the NSW Government to:

1. Cease Logging Mogo State Forest
Immediately cease logging the Mogo State Forest until a professionally based pre logging review is undertaken and assessed, given the known presence of both the Vulnerable (Commonwealth) Greater Glider and the Vulnerable (NSW) Yellow Bellied Glider, which have so far have been ignored.

2. Existing Claytons Review
Note it is an insult to the South Coast community, for NSW Forestry to prepare a highly inadequate and Claytons pre logging review, when the review was constrained to an 18 hour budget for a 400 ha Forest, and when reviewers in that forest were limited to a few tracks because of night-time occupational health and safety concerns, while searching for nocturnal species.

3. National Parks Association ‘Forests for All Plan’
Support the aims and rationale of National Parks Association’s ‘FORESTS FOR ALL PLAN’, and calls on the NSW Government to commit to the implementation of the PLAN as a more equitable and sustainable use of public native forests across NSW.

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Rabbit Control Continues in Eurobodalla

The Eurobodalla Shire’s Environment Team are commended for their efforts to reduce the numbers of rabbits across the Shire. Rabbit warrens have been destroyed and fumigated in Tuross, Long Beach and South Durras.

The new Korean strain of Calcivirus (RHDV-K5) was released across nearly every part of the Shire. Post release monitoring has shown an excellent uptake, with a rapid decline in rabbit numbers.

Follow-up work to the virus release and the fumigation has been in progress, with nocturnal low caliber shooting by an expert being the primary method of control.

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Propping Up a Potential Dead Asset – The Closure/Sale of the Heyfield Timber Mill

A salutary lesson in timber resource management

Gippsland in Victoria is still reeling from the loss of hundreds of jobs following the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station. And then months later the largest hardwood sawmill in Australia, also based in Gippsland, indicates it is closing.

The Heyfield Timber Mill is located in the small Gippsland town of Heyfield which has a population of about 2000. The largest industry in town is the Mill employing 250 workers. The mill is operated by Australian Sustainable Hardwood, owned by the Hermal Group.

The mill’s operator has been locked in a dispute with the Victorian Government and the State-owned logging company, VicForests, over the quantity of timber which could be supplied to the mill.

In March 2017 the company announced the mill’s closure, saying the shutdown would begin in August. This in turn led to a series of workers’ protests at Victoria’s State Parliament.

The dispute arose because of the shortage of timber. VicForests intended to slash the mill’s timber supply from 130,000 cubic metres to 80,000 cubic metres in 2017, and to 60,000 cubic metres in 2018 and again in 2019, because of dwindling log supplies. ASH (Australian Sustainable Hardwood) demanded the 130,000 cubic metres to maintain viability. (The original unsigned contract was to supply between 125,000 and 155,000 cubic metres of timber every year from 1 July 2017, until 30 June 2034.)

The hardwood processed at the mill grew in the environmentally sensitive central highlands. The management of the Victorian forests, like those in NSW, have been characterised by over-logging. Add to that the destruction of 26% (some reports say 40%) of the remaining harvestable supply in the 2009 Black Saturday Victorian bushfires,and it is little wonder there is a supply crisis.

The regeneration rate for mountain ash is over 80 years, and over 110 years for timber in the mixed forests.

To save the 250 mill jobs, the Victorian Government reached an in principle agreement with ASH to buy the Heyfield Mill and keep the sawmill operating and keep the existing workers employed. An initial offer of $40 million was rejected and speculation is that the final price was about $50 million (subject to due diligence)

Commentators have said that despite the Government’s assurances, job losses will be inevitable because the supply of timber simply cannot be maintained.

The mountain ash forests are also home to the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, – Victoria’s emblem. Industry maintains that large areas of forest are tied up to protecting the Leadbeater’s possum and in turn have led to the declining timber supply.

However, the Wilderness Society have said that just 3,000 ha (1.2%) of forest, allocated to VicForests for logging ash forest in Victoria’s east, was set aside for the Leadbeater’s possum. It was equivalent to 0.16 % of the 1.82 million hectares of state forest allocated to VicForests for logging all forests across eastern Victoria.

The Wilderness Society is proposing the establishment of a Great Forest National Park, arguing that preserving the mountain ash trees (which are also an endangered species) and facilitating tourism would boost jobs and the State’s economy more than the timber mills.

It has also been suggested to VicForests that they would be far more profitable leaving the trees standing and marketing the forests as carbon offsets.

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Concerned Community Members Find Endangered Greater Gliders, and Vulnerable Yellow-bellied Gliders in the Mogo State Forest

Since the logging operation commenced, volunteer members of the community have been surveying the Mogo Forest, searching for fauna that would be adversely affected by the logging activities. They were also noting the presence of habitat and feed trees. The volunteers included members of Coastwatchers, Wires, and the National Parks Association of NSW.

Yellow Bellied Glider

They found the presence of the Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) – Endangered in NSW, and the Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis) – Vulnerable in NSW, in the Mogo State Forest, in the area being logged.

They also found wombat burrows. It is critical that logging contractors are aware of the presence of wombats and their burrows to avoid heavy machinery crushing the animals. Continue reading

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Forest Logging Debate Erupts in Eurobodalla

For many years there have been many environmental battles to reduce or halt the logging of State Forests on the South Coast of NSW. They have never ended. The campaigns have been run by dedicated members of the community particularly further south in the Bega Shire, and both ends of Eurobodalla, where the logging has been more concentrated. The conflicts have now moved into the Mogo region.

Mogo State Forest

The Coastwatchers Association has stepped up to organise a Forest Forum meeting later in August in Moruya, to allow members, and the community, to voice their concerns.

NSW Forestry has been increasing logging intensity around Batemans Bay and recently commenced logging in the Mogo State Forest on the eastern side of the Princes Highway. Continue reading

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Obituary – Martyn Phillips – 1947 – 2017

In May this year I notified Coastwatchers members of the death of Martyn Phillips, a long serving member of the Association and an extremely capable past President. Martyn died after losing his second battle with cancer.

Martyn Phillips

Martyn had a critical role in the management of the Association over a 16 year period, and the Association acknowledges that enormous voluntary contribution with extreme gratitude.

He joined the Management Committee in 1991-92, and with his obvious leadership skills, became Vice President the next year. He continued in that role until 1994-95 when he became the Association’s President for 2 years. He stepped back for a year before becoming President again in 1997-98. Martyn stepped up again for the Presidency in 2004-05, and remained on the Management Committee until 2008.

Before moving to the Deua Valley,

Martyn had served in the Royal Australian Air Force. He joined in 1970, and this job took him and Jan to Darwin where Kate was born. Later in the 1970’s they were posted to Malaysia where Amy was born. After various postings in Australia, he was seconded to the United States Air Force for three years in the early 1980s.

Around this time, in his mid 30’s Martyn became seriously ill for the first time. He was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma cancer, which spread to other parts of his body. He fought this aggressively, taking every treatment offered, including the removal of most of his right lung.

In 1985 Martyn retired from the Air Force and with his family moved to their property in the Deua Valley, which he and Jan had bought 15 years earlier. The move and change in lifestyle did wonders, and he was cured of his cancer.

He became a member of the Coastwatchers Association as he appreciated deeply the special environmental qualities of the region. He volunteered many hours and much expertise to keeping the environment the way it was for future generations. He was particularly involved in the protection of Deua Old Growth Forests from logging, having areas removed and transferred from NSW Forestry’s control to the Deua National Park. His work on the extension of National Parks in southern NSW was publically acknowledged by the NSW Government in 2000.

Martyn has been described in correspondence to me by members “as a lovely bloke”, “a good man”, “a very fine man”. He was a gentleman.

On behalf of the Association I pass on my deepest condolences to Jan and Martyn’s two daughters, Kate and Amy.

John Perkins, President, The Coastwatchers Association

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Farewell to Maureen and Jim Baker

The Association has farewelled two of its greatest supporters and environmental warriors, with the departure of Maureen and Jim Baker in early July, moving closer to Sydney to be nearer to their family.

Maureen and Jim have been members of the Coastwatchers Association for over 25 years, and both have given unflinching support and service to the Association. Maureen was a Committee member for four years from 1994-95 to 1997-98.

Maureen and Jim at a recent farewell

Maureen was a member of the Coastwatchers Environment Fund Committee for over a decade, and her sound advice and critical approach will be missed.

Jim and Maureen were not only involved with the Coastwatchers Association, but founded the highly successful Tuross Lakes Preservation Group in the early 1990s. The Group became one of the inaugural ‘Landcare’ groups to operate in the Eurobodalla Shire.

Maureen and Jim were also involved with Shire wide Estuary Management Committees as well at with NPWS Committees. Maureen served on the Eurobodalla Shire’s Coastal Management Advisory Committee. In between all these activities, Maureen completed an environmental degree in her retirement.

For over 25 years Jim and Maureen have campaigned strongly to protect community and environmental issues, dedicating thousands of hours of voluntary time towards advocacy and on-ground environmental works.

Maureen received an Order of Australia Medal for her volunteer efforts and her dedicated commitment to the environment.

The Association thanks Maureen and Jim for their enormous voluntary contribution to environmental issues in the South Coast region, and wishes them every success in their second attempt at retirement.

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CEMAC Report July 7th 2017

To date there has been no update on the new coastal management legislation. The following information is on the Planning website:

  • Thank you to all who have taken the time to provide feedback on various aspects of the coastal reform program to date, including the draft Coastal Management SEPP.
  • The Department of Planning and Environment is now giving consideration to the feedback received and is working to finalise the Coastal Management SEPP.
  • The Office of Environment and Heritage is currently finalising the Coastal Management Manual and a Toolkit of technical resources and advice for coastal managers.

The reference to the Wharf Road submerged land was removed and the revised CZMP (Coastal Zone Management Plan) was unanimously adopted by Council on May 9th 2017 with the following recommendation,


  1. Council adopts the amended Wharf Road Coastal Zone Management Plan 2017.
  2. Council forwards the Wharf Road Coastal Zone Management Plan to the Minister for Planning for final certification.
  3. Following certification, Council request the NSW Government commences negotiations to purchase land in private owner.

Reina Hill

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