Clean Energy Finance Corporation Public Submission Deadline

The Department of the Environment and Energy is overseeing a statutory review of the operation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012. The review will consider the effectiveness of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in facilitating increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.

The review invites public submissions by Friday 16 February 2018.

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Time2Choose Rally

Join the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) on the 24th of March in Sydney, one year out from the state election, as they call for the State Government to choose a clean energy future. Lock the Gate, The Wilderness Society, 350.org  and the NCC are rallying together and marching through the Sydney CBD to call for 100% renewable energy.

 

Join thousands from across the state to make this the biggest it can be! Be sure to invite your friends and networks. You can RSVP here to get updates on the event, and you can visit the Facebook page and invite all your friends!

Coastwatchers is a member of the NCC.

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Alert! Save the Forests – Donate your lunch hour on 14 February 2018 at Batemans Bay

Dear Coastwatchers Members

This is a chance to tell the Turnbull and Berejiklian Governments how deeply opposed you are to the destruction of our native forests by the logging industry. Please put Wednesday 14 February in your diary NOW!

The push to lock in new Regional Forest Agreements is now a rolling juggernaut. The conservation movement is deeply worried that the governments will jointly ram new long term agreements through before they next face elections. It is clear to us that the logging and woodchipping will get even more intense and timber allocations under the new RFA’s will effectively be permanent and legally protected against any reduction without massive compensation.

This will apply no matter how desperate the plight of koalas, the greater glider and all other forest wildlife and despite the escalating climate change crisis for which the destruction of forests by industrial logging is a major factor.

The conservation movement does not believe the community “input” sought by the Governments  agent, the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) will be anything other than a sham and a fraud. However, we ask that you drop in to the Batemans Bay session on the Wednesday 14th February (see details below) if possible to tell them how deeply you are opposed to the destruction of our forests by the logging industry and State Forests.

We will get back to you soon with further information on the RFA juggernaut and the current, ongoing struggle to save the Mogo forest from the next round of devastating logging. Remember, despite all the odds, more than 10 years ago we beat off the Mogo charcoal plant that was to burn our South Coast forests.

By the way, have any of you seen the intensive logging right on the Princes Highway and Tomboyne Road, just south of the East Lynne Store? – get out of your car and have a good look at the future of more than two million hectares of NSW forest and imagine even more intensive logging, most of the South Coast’s forests destined for the Eden woodchip mill or overseas power plants if the governments and industry have their way.

Noel Plumb

President

Coastwatchers

 

 

​​As part of community consultation, DPI is hosting six drop-in sessions throughout February at the following locations:

Community input invited on Regional Forest Agreements

Regional communities are being encouraged to have their say on the renewal of NSW Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), covering the North East, Eden and Southern Regions of NSW.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Group Director Forestry Policy, Research and Development, Nick Milham, said the NSW and Australian governments are currently seeking community input through drop-in sessions, and a consultation and submission process.

“The NSW and Australian governments are encouraging all stakeholders to have their say on what shape the RFAs should take and how we can improve the sustainable management of our native forests,” Mr Milham said.

“The governments are working closely with all parties to get the balance right in the long-term management of our forest resources, and consultation is integral to this process.

“We hope to hear from industry, environment groups, landholders and the broader community on any emerging issues or changes that need to be captured since the agreements were developed nearly 20 years ago,” he said.

Mr Milham said the RFAs are in place to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of Australia’s native forests.

“The renewal consultation coincides with a review being undertaken on how we are tracking in current implementation of the RFAs.

“This provides our stakeholders with a full picture on how we have performed under the existing agreements, while at the same time what the future holds, and how we can learn from our experience over the past 20 years.”

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For more information, please see Beagle Weekly article and visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forestry/regional-framework

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Proposed Changes to Rules Governing Environmental Organisations

The Coastwatchers Environment Fund is one of hundreds of environment funds which have been registered on the Commonwealth Government’s REO – the Register of Environmental Organisations. This registration process provides the legal basis for attracting tax-deductible donations.

A Commonwealth Parliamentary Inquiry is considering requiring 25-50% of all tax deductible revenue to be spent on remedial environmental work.

The NSW Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) has prepared the following comments.

“DGR STATUS: Should all Environmental Charities have to plant trees?

For decades, groups on the Register of Environmental Organisations (REO) have been eligible for tax-deductible donations – encouraging private funding for the public good.

But in 2016, half the members of a (Commonwealth) Parliamentary Inquiry proposed that in order to remain eligible, environmental groups, including EDOs, must spend at least 25% of their donations revenue of reactive ‘environment remediation work’ – activities like tree planting.

We (the EDO) believe proactive protection of the environment provides clear public benefits in many forms:

  • raising environmental awareness;
  • enforcing and strengthening environmental policy and laws;
  • and new research on species, ecosystems and environmental innovation.

Imposing a minimum spend on remediation would require many well established environmental charities to

either radically alter the way they operate;

inefficiently divert money to other groups at the Commonwealth Government’s direction;

or lose eligibility for taxdeductibility donations altogether.

Following the 2016 REO inquiry, a 2017 Commonwealth Treasury Consultation paper asked what stakeholders think about the ‘minimum spend’ proposal for environment groups. It even floated the option of increasing the minimum to 50% of donated funds.

During the consultation period, environmental Deductible Gift Recipients were for the first time required to report the percentage of their public donations expended on ‘onground environmental remediation’, ‘advocacy’ and other activities.

The proposal did not originate within the Commonwealth Treasury – it takes up arguments made by the mining and resources lobby, including the Queensland Resources Council and the gas-industry funded Energy Resources Information Centre.

It’s vital that the views of these lobbyists are not given more weight than those of the hundreds of environment groups, community members, donors and governance experts who made submissions to the REO Inquiry, pointing out the pitfalls artificially distinguishing ‘on-ground’ rehabilitation from other things environmental groups do to pursue their public purpose. Their evidence led to half the Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee rejecting the minimum 25% spending proposal.

It may suit some private interests for the Commonwealth Government to constrain environmental voices, restrict community access to legal services and place new administrative burdens on the charity sector.

But it’s not in the public interest, nor what the broader community expect of our charity and tax laws. That is why our current laws focus on charities’ purposes, rather than attempting to define their activities.

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Dargues Reef Mine Gets Final Approval

In April 2017, Big Island Mining received final approval from the Commonwealth Government to proceed with the development of the Dargues Reef Gold Mine at Majors Creek. Big Island Mining had previously received approval under NSW Planning legislation following the NSW Planning Assessment Commission determining the matter.

Box Cut Entrance to Dargues Reef Mine

The initial Commonwealth conditional approval was granted under the (Cth) Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 was in February 2017. After further submissions from Big Island Mining addressing the issues of a Construction Environmental Management Plan and a Water Management Plan, final approval was granted in April 2017.

Now that this 3 year process has been completed, the Association will be making a further submission to the NSW Minister for Planning. That submission will request the need for mandatory consideration of potential downstream impacts of all mining activity, given the massive damage to the environment and communities that discharges from mine sites can and do cause.

Earlier sediment discharges into Spring Creek

The bond arrangements that currently exist for miners are totally inadequate, and that will be an issue that will also be addressed to the Minister and other peak environmental groups.

These issues need a coordinated approach at State level, by peak NSW environmental organisation such as the Nature Conservation Council, as they impact State-wide development and are not simply a local issue.

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Victorian Forest Investigation Underway

In February 2017, VicForests began logging an area near Warburton known as the Blue Vein coupe, just a few hundred metres from the famous 350- year-old Ada Tall Trees Reserve.

Local citizen scientists from the ‘Wildlife of the Central Highlands’ Group, had found protected habitats for the Leadbeater’s Possum within the area. With the bulldozers already at work Environmental Justice Australia (previously the Victorian Environmental Defenders Office) reported the matter to the Environment Department and VicForests, on behalf of four local community groups, and demanded that logging stop.

The Victorian Government called a temporary halt to logging operations and commenced an investigation. This was despite the fact that part of the forest in the coupe had already been destroyed. Local citizen scientists – who suspected there were threatened species in the area – then worked into the early hours of the morning and found the colony of Leadbeater’s Possums.

Logging was halted by VicForests, and the colony of Leadbeater’s Possums saved. The Victorian Environment Department is currently investigating this logging activity. It is illegal in Victoria to log habitat, which contains endangered species.

Coastwatchers Members will be kept informed of the outcome of this matter. One scenario is that the Victorian Environment Department could end up suing VicForests, another Government agency. The law in NSW is quite the opposite, where timber is far more important than endangered or vulnerable species, such as the Yellowed-bellied Glider or the Greater Glider found in the Mogo Forest.

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Moruya Forest Forum Success

The Coastwatchers ‘Moruya Forest Forum’, was held on Wednesday 23 August 2017, and was a great success. About 100 people attended the Forum in the St. Mary’s Performing Art Centre, an ideal venue for this type of activity.

The meeting opened with the showing of an abridged version of the film “Understory” produced by David Gallan. The film highlighted the struggles over the past 30 years to save the local south coast forests from destruction.

The Forum heard from three expert speakers:

Mike Thompson, a Coastwatchers member who talked about local forestry issues;

Virginia Young, the former Wilderness Society Forest Campaign Coordinator who outlined issues occurring internationally in forestry, the need to retain forests as carbon banks and biodiversity; and

Dr Oisin Sweeney, the Chief Ecologist with the National Parks Association who addressed the NPA’s “Forests for all Plan”.

The facilitator of the Forum was Dr George Browning, who did an excellent job. The Association thanks David, Mike, Virginia, Oisin and George, for their contributions and their professionalism in making the evening such a success.

Three resolutions were passed at the end of the Forum, calling 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 been ignored.

  1. 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.

  1. 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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Forest Forum Letter to the Premier October 16th 2017

Dear Premier,

Prohibition on the Logging of Mogo State Forest

The Coastwatchers Association Inc. opposes the continued logging of State Forests in the Batemans Bay region of the South Coast of NSW, particularly the logging of timber, which is destined for the wood chip mill at Eden. The Association recently coordinated a ‘Moruya Forest Forum’, and the 100 community members present resolved unanimously that logging should cease immediately in this region because it was destroying the habitat of the Greater gliders and the Yellow-bellied gliders in the area. In turn this loss of habitat was destroying these Gliders. (The three resolutions of the Moruya Forest Forum of 23 August 2017 are presented in Attachment A.)
The viability of Forestry operations on the South Coast of NSW is highly questionable, given so much timber is processed into unprofitable wood chips at Eden. State Government subsidies are necessary to keep that sector of the timber industry afloat, all for the employment of a very small number of jobs.
As has already happened in Victoria, the sustainability of timber harvest in NSW has been overtaken by politics, and the NSW Government will shortly need to address the same issue as Victoria, a shortage of timber, because sustainable harvest practices have been ignored. Victoria has addressed that by nationalising the Heyfield Timber Mill. That mill cannot continue to have long-term viability as it will be financially unviable to maintain, because of the lack of timber. The financial losses will be ultimately borne by the community, and the mill will become a dead asset.
NSW faces the same bleak prospects.
But the bleak prospects are even more alarming, given that habitat is currently being wiped out, endangered and vulnerable fauna are being destroyed, and community water supplies are being adversely impacted. This is all happening at a time when Governments world-wide are encouraging habitat retention and regeneration. Even Tony Abbott supported the creation of a Green Corp to increase tree plantings to absorb green house gases such as carbon dioxide. The NSW State Government is doing exactly the reverse.

The NSW Government must look at the big picture, and allow the use of State Forests as Carbon banks. It has been estimated in Victoria that if that approach was followed, VicForests operational performance would reverse from an $80 million annual loss to a $100 million annual profit. In other words it is more profitable not to harvest State Forests than it is to continue with the current policies.
All governments need to develop long-term policies to protect the environment for future generations, rather than pursue irrational short-term policies, which result in financial loss, and loss of habitat and fauna, while accelerating climate change and global warming. At the end of your term as Premier, please don’t let this scenario be your legacy to the State of NSW, and future generations.

View the letter as a PDF: Forest Forum Letter to Premier 2017-10-16 (91KB)

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Moruya Forest Forum Resources – August 23rd 2017

NPA Forests for All Plan   https://npansw.org/what-we-do/our-work/campaigns/end-native-forest-logging/
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.
https://npansw.org/what-we-do/our-work/campaigns/the-great-southern-forest/
http://www.serca.org.au/ 

Understorey Trailer   http://www.greatsouthernforest.org.au/media.html
Subscribe to Nature News re upcoming actions and events.  https://npansw.org/npa/take-action/
Carbon Storage http://press.anu.edu.au/publications/green-carbon-part-1
http://press.anu.edu.au/publications/green-carbon-part-2
Tourism re Unspoilt Eurobodalla
http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/batemans-bay-and-eurobodalla
National Trust Register of Significant Trees   
http://trusttrees.org.au/

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 info@fcnsw.com.au to make contact with a forester and discuss the Plan of Operations or an individual Harvest Plan in more detail.
http://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/management/harvest-plans/schedule-of-operations
http://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/management/harvest-plans/south-coast

Media Contact Pages
https://www.batemansbaypost.com.au/send-a-letter-to-the-editor/
https://www.beagleweekly.com.au/  Eurobodalla Shire Online News
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/support
Riot Act Canberra https://the-riotact.com/ Canberra Online News

Politician Contact Pages phone, request appointment with staff, email, write letters, facebook
Andrew Constance re Bega – Office in Bega   https://www.andrewconstance.com.au/
Anne Sudmalis re Gilmore Office in Nowra   https://www.annsudmalismp.com.au/
Mike Kelly re Eden-Monaro – Office in Queanbeyan and Bega.
http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=HRI
Dawn Walker NSW MLA http://www.dawnwalker.org.au/forestry
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian https://www.gladys.com.au/ https://www.facebook.com/gladysnsw/ 

Nature Conservation Council has been campaigning the Premier about clearing laws in August.
https://www.nature.org.au/our-campaigns/forest-protection/
https://www.nature.org.au/our-campaigns/land-clearing-and-wildlife/
https://www.nature.org.au/media/213736/160320-money-doesnt-grow-on-trees-nsw-forestry-final.pdf

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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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