Monday, 29 October 2018

CPSU NSW member’s delegation to NSW Parliament House: Forestry Corporation – who we are, what do we do and what our concerns are

CPSU NSW member’s delegation to NSW Parliament House: Forestry Corporation – who we are, what do we do and what our concerns are (PDF version)

From left to right: Troy Wright, CPSU NSW Assistant State Branch Secretary; Mick Veitch MLC (Shadow Minister), CPSU NSW Delegates Holly James and Bob Aspden; Penny Sharp MLC (Shadow Minister); CPSU NSW Delegates Nigel Fuller and Steve Pickering.

Forestry Corporation NSW is now a state owned corporation and all PSA members operate under the CPSU NSW banner.

Forestry NSW has 100 years of sustainable forest management experience and our jobs range from forest scientists, ecologists, geologists out in the field to office based staff with financial, commercial roles, administration and IT.

Beside jobs in FCNSW itself, the harvesting of state forests also creates ‘flow on” commercial industries in regional areas such as sawmills, timber joineries, haulage, machine operators, mechanics and other small businesses, many of them timber industry specific. Every Forestry job directly supports another regional job.

Because of our concern about the future of our jobs, the industry in the northern NSW region and the future of the Koala population in the region, we had a delegation of CPSU NSW (FCNSW) members meet with Penny Sharp MLC and Mick Veitch MLC at Parliament House on October 15, to state our case that both jobs and koalas can be preserved in Northern NSW.

Our delegation comprised of delegates Nigel Fuller, Bob Aspden, Holly James and Steve Pickering withTroy Wright (Assistant State Branch Secretary, CPSU NSW), our Industrial Officer and Senior Organiser.

NSW forests are managed for multiple purposes, not just quality sustainable renewable timber production.

Forestry has won over 20 Gold and Silver regional, state and national tourism awards since 2012. It has valuable recreational uses. In state forests you can camp free, take your dog or even ride your horse. There are millions of nature based tourism visits to state forests each year.

FCNSW employs expert ecologists and cultural heritage officers who undertake rigorous planning to ensure the protection of biodiversity and cultural heritage values. There is no evidence to support the notion that the koala is threatened by timber harvesting.

The latest research is using “call recorders” for monitoring Koala bellows, which are showing three times more koala numbers than previous survey methods. And the recent research of Dr Brad Law over 1.65 million hectares of north coast forest has revealed that koalas are 10 times more numerous than previously thought.

Koalas like young leaves to eat, which mostly come from young vigorous growing trees. In State Forests with regular selective harvesting, there is the mix of protected corridors and young trees that koalas prefer.

The main threats to Koalas are urban developments, fires, dogs, our roads, and disease.

The native hardwood forests of Northern NSW produce highly valuable and unique timbers found nowhere else in the world. The timbers are used in the wharves and jetties of Sydney, in flooring, for power poles and in timber bridges. Without these timbers, these products will be replaced with steel and concrete alternatives, both leaving a much bigger carbon footprint. Flooring will be replaced by wood sourced from forests in SE Asia with lower levels of environmental certification.

Forestry Corp NSW (CPSU NSW members) are concerned about their jobs, their communities and the future of a sustainable north coast timber industry. They also care about koalas. They believe that the timber industry in northern NSW is compatible with increasing and preserving koala numbers in NSW.