As the Victorian Labor Government’s closure of the state’s native timber industry fast approaches the December 31 trigger point, New South Wales timber harvesters met with Senator Jonathon Duniam, Shadow Minister for the Environment, Fisheries and Forestry, and Sussan Ley, Member for Farrer and Deputy Leader of the Opposition to highlight the importance of the industry to the local economy and forest and fire management.
With the current wood supply agreements for the NSW timber harvesters maturing on June 30, 2024, the industry is looking to expedite the new five-year licences. Forestry NSW, which issues the licences based on a rigorous scientific approach to forest health, growth rates and the available timber resource, has yet to receive the tick of approval from the EPA for its latest assessment.
Todd Gelletly, Managing Director of Gelletly Red Gum Firewood; Ken and Faye O’Brien of O’Brien Red Gum; and landholder Bill McCauley met on site to discuss the benefits in forest health, employment, carbon sequestration and heating that forest management and harvesting provides.
Spatial mapping of NSW forests has found that 88 per cent of all native forests in the state are protected, and only 0.3 per cent of the remaining 12 per cent of native forest area is harvested each year, providing essentially a 300-year rotation.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 28 September 2023.