Forestry Corporation of NSW fined for breaching logging condition after bushfire

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South Coast residents and conservationists say a $15,000 fine for the Forestry Corporation of NSW’s 2020 breach of a logging condition after a bushfire isn’t going enough far.

The logging company was found to have felled hollow trees in the South Brooman State Forest near Ulladulla, which are crucial for the survival of native wildlife threatened after the bushfires.

Environmental Protection Authority director Greg Sheehy said he was concerned better systems were not in place to ensure compliance.

“The requirement to retain all hollow trees was clear,” he said.

He said the company’s forestry management and operations have failed to meet expectations.

“The EPA has warned them that failure to meet standards is unacceptable,” he said.

The fine was the highest the authority could impose under current legislation.

“Terribly insufficient” response

Brooman resident Takesa Frank said the fine was disappointing.

Takesa Frank is fighting to stop logging in parts of the forest affected by bushfires.(ABC News: Jessica Clifford )

“I think originally we thought he [the fine] would be higher due to the number of complaints we have registered,” Ms. Frank said.

“[The sum] in the grand scheme of things, it’s just pennies from their back pocket.”

NSW Independent MP Justin Field was also disappointed.

“It’s woefully inadequate because Forestry Corporation are serial offenders,” he said.

“They have now faced lawsuits and fines of up to around a quarter of a million dollars over the past two years as a result of logging violations after a fire.

The fine came just weeks after the company was also ordered to pay $285,600 by the Land and Environmental Court for damaging critical koala habitat on the Central North Coast near Coffs Harbor in 2018.

Failure to take into account the impacts of fire

Although residents said a $15,000 fine was better than nothing, they felt there should be no logging at all.

A leaked report from the Natural Resources Commission, which was advising the New South Wales government on the impact of logging after the bushfires, also advised that logging in several areas of the coast south, including Nowra, Taree and Narooma, should have been suspended for at least three years. .

Mr Field said the government had failed to meaningfully address the impacts of the fires by not acting on the report.

“The government’s own independent adviser says logging should be stopped in some areas or significantly limited,” he said.

“That hasn’t happened yet and the government needs to explain why not.”

Broman Forest 1
The Forestry Corporation of NSW has been fined for logging in Brooman State Forest.(ABC News: Jessica Clifford)

He said the koalas on the north coast and the larger gliders on the south coast had no time to wait while the government remained on its hands.

Ms Frank said the big goal was to end native logging in NSW.

“Two other states have done it, so we’re behind the times,” she said.

Other conservationists said they were awaiting the results of many other complaints they had filed in the two-and-a-half years since the bushfires.

A spokesman for Environment Minister James Griffin said the government was reviewing the Natural Resources Commission’s report.

“In the meantime, the EPA has intensified its pre-harvest, during-harvest and post-harvest compliance efforts to ensure FCNSW complies with Integrated Forest Operations approvals.

“The fact that FCNSW has been fined shows that the system is working and that the EPA is holding all NSW Forest System operators accountable,” the spokesperson said.

The Forestry Corporation has been contacted for comment.

Job , updated

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