The Commonwealth Government has accused environment groups of deliberately misleading the Australian people by raising concerns about the rollover of long term logging agreements. The Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) are now 20 years old and due for review. The environment groups had responded to calls for public submissions on the extension of the NSW RFAs, stating they were a failed model for forest management, that populations of forest animals had “plummeted”, and that forest jobs had steadily declined while subsidies were needed to keep logging financially viable.
In February 2018 federal assistant agriculture minister senator Anne Ruston wrote personally to NPA chief executive, Alix Goodwin. The minister with responsibility at the federal level for forestry said she was disappointed that the association was “engaged in a campaign to mislead the Australian people”.The NPA was encouraging its members and supporters to send emails to state and federal politicians opposing the rollover of the RFAs.
Guardian Australia has reported the government itself discussed concerns that the agreements were invalid as they are based on old scientific assessments. In a statement to the Guardian, Goodwin said: “It’s hard to see the senator’s letter as anything but an attempt to intimidate us, because we successfully challenged the government’s efforts to rush the RFAs through with minimum scrutiny.”In her statement Goodwin said: “This is an extraordinary attack on the NPA, an organisation well respected for its evidence based advocacy, and we reject completely senator Ruston’s accusations of dishonesty and misleading behaviour”.
“You have to question the state of our democratic processes when we’re invited to make submissions about the management of two million hectares of public property, and then have our integrity questioned by a senator when our view opposes that of the government.”
Members of RHHFFPS with Mayor Laxale, Deputy Mayor Gordon, Clr Penny Pederson and Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC
By now most members will be aware of the major threat to Bundara Reserve from proposed changes to the pedestrian bridge across Delhi Rd which was approved in 2014 as part of the Lachlan’s Line high rise development. The proposed increase in the number of trees to be removed is required by Urban Growth/Landcom because of changes that have been made to the bridge design and its paint finish. The patch of Council owned land with its precious remnant Turpentine Ironbark Forest on the corner of Delhi and Epping Roads, North Ryde is a “..small but long fought-for, and now stubbornly enduring oasis in a desert of bitumen, concrete, exhaust emissions and steel. It needs every tree it currently supports.” (SMH letters 3.4.18 .)
In the approval application, the Bridge Design Report included a range of buzz words to describe the relationship between the bridge and Bundara Reserve: its “significant mature Eucalypts”, “an opportunity to express a bushland setting”, “visually engage with Bundara Reserve”, “maximize user’s experience of existing trees”. Then with approval and unbeknown to the community “Big Blue” starts growing into a bridge eight metres wide at the Bundara corner and demands the obliteration of many of these visually engaging, significant mature Eucalypts to protect its paint. It has outgrown its original approval. Lachlan’s Line Mod. 4 is exhibited over Easter.
This is unfair Minister Roberts. Your government was elected to fix the problems with Part 3A and the assessment and approvals processes for major projects, not entrench them in NSW’s planning laws. With the support of Ryde Council and the community Bundara has fended off enlargement of television studios, bulky goods warehousing and a retail stationery outlet. But “Big Blue” could be its nemesis! Council has afforded Bundara the highest environmental protection in its powers under the Ryde LEP 2014. It now time for the local member and Minister for Planning to take action to Protect Bundara Forever.