Nationals Member for Oxley, Michael Kemp, has welcomed a decision by the Federal Court to dismiss a challenge by environmental activists that saves our valuable hardwood timber industry from an immediate shutdown.
Mr Kemp said that after a year-long battle, common sense has prevailed, with an application by the North East Forest Alliance dismissed.
“Now, more than 5,000 workers across the North Coast, including hundreds in Oxley, can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their livelihoods aren’t facing an imminent threat,” Mr Kemp said.
“Hardwood timber is the backbone of the Mid North Coast and contributes significantly to the $2.9 billion industry.
“There is no substitute for products like timber pallets that transport our groceries and put food on our tables. Hardwood is utilised in building materials, power poles, and essential transportation like bridges and railway tracks.”
Mr Kemp said hardwood timber can coexist within the parameters of conservation. NSW forestry operations follow some of the strictest regulations and environmental standards across the world.
“In 20 million hectares of State Forest, only 30,000 hectares are available for selective harvesting, equating to less than 0.1 percent or just 14 in 10,000 trees. Once an area is harvested, measures are in place to ensure regrowth and regeneration.
“Shutting down the native timber industry will allow for poor harvesting practices overseas and create a global conservation concern. The ideological rhetoric behind ‘stop logging to save our species’ is hypocritical and serves to endanger forests offshore because those industries do not share our Australian standards.”
Mr Kemp said the court’s verdict is a landmark decision in protecting our most sustainable industries. He said the NSW Government must follow the same line of common sense and support timber, keep it onshore, and protect flora and fauna while also protecting regional jobs.
Nationals’ Leader Dugald Saunders said the court’s decision will bring much-needed relief and certainty to thousands of timber workers and their families.
“It is a good decision that is indicative of the importance and relevance of the sector that contributes so much to the NSW economy,” Mr Saunder said.
“We rely on timber of all kinds every single day, and we are lucky that we have one of the most highly regulated and sustainable timber industries of anywhere in the world, right here in our state.”