NSW Nationals Member for Murray Austin Evans has made an impassioned plea to restore sustainable timber harvesting in selected areas of the Murray Valley National Park.

Mr Evans’ bill in Parliament aims to reinstate access to areas in the Murray Valley, including Mathoura, Barham and Deniliquin for sustainable timber harvesting.

“My communities are hurting. They have been hurting ever since access was taken away from them in 2010,” Mr Evans said. “This legislation has had a severe impact on these rural communities. Family businesses have been ruined, with lives left in turmoil. The drought has inflicted even more pain on our rural economies.”

“It’s time we right the wrongs of the past.”

Mr Evans also said this bill is not about allowing broad scale degradation of the red gums.

“That is certainly not what it’s about. It’s about sustained use of our timber resources – a balanced and sensible approach between the timber industry and our environment,” Mr Evans said. “I’ve also lots of feedback from and discussions with environmentalists. It’s not about us versus them. It’s about allowing sustainable timber harvesting against carefully monitored environmental standards.”

Mr Evans said he has support from Nationals colleagues who recognise the importance of a balanced approached to managing our natural resources.