New Threat to Woodchip and Burn Southern Forests


Media Release 23 August 2001

New Threat To Woodchip and Burn Southern Forests

The South East Forest Alliance today warned that the forests of the South Coast and Tumut are now under a huge new threat following the announcement that a massive charcoal plant is to be built on the South Coast at Mogo near Batemans Bay

“This appalling proposal will consume 200,000 tonnes a year of native forest from the South Coast and Tumut to supply charcoal to a silicon plant at Lithgow,” said spokespersons for SEFA. “The proposal is the same discredited attempt to rob and plunder the forests which was howled out of western NSW 18 months ago.”

“Amid enormous community uproar, the Carr government backed down and the Premier last year ruled out logging the Goonoo and Pilliga forests, the last significant native forests left in north west NSW, for charcoal.”

“Now the same company from Western Australia, an iron ore miner called Portman Limited, is proposing to massively log the Southern Forests with the continued support of the Premiers Department and the enthusiastic encouragement of State Forests.”

“The South Coast charcoal plant will directly threaten catchment values, the 150 existing sawmill jobs, the fishing industry, oyster growers and the 6000 jobs in the region which depend on nature based tourism, worth more than $600 milllion a year to the regional economy. In return the ‘forest miners’ are promising 53 jobs for the smash and grab raid on our forests.”

“This new threat comes on top of the current logging industry proposal to burn some 250,000 tonnes a year of native forest timber for a wood fired power station at Batemans Bay or Moruya. There is already an environmentally unsustainable supply of up to 90,000 tonnes a year of woodchips to the Eden chip mill from the South Coast forests.”

“The increasing pressure to rape and pillage the forests is a direct result of the Regional Forest Agreements, supported by both the Liberal and Labor parties, which have entrenched unsustainable native forest logging and woodchipping.

“In NSW the Carr Government has enacted special legislation to exempt State Forests from further Environmental Impact Studies once RFA deals are struck with the Federal Government. This means that the massive logging operations for the proposed charcoal plant on the South Coast will have no independent environmental assessment or public scrutiny. “

“The Government will essentially rely on advice from State Forests which was humiliated in western NSW and lost all credibility when its reports and recommendations supporting the charcoal logging were rejected by the Government as unsustainable in the face of public outrage.”

“There is a growing public realisation and anger that, despite the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds on regional forest assessments and agreements, the forests are under worse threat than ever and are still being brutally over logged and woodchipped.

Its time the ‘Green’ Premier, Bob Carr, put a stop to this nonsense and that the Federal Opposition led by Kim Beazley repudiates the RFA’s if it wishes to win the conservation vote.

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