The foreshadowed protest in front of NSW Parliament House today by some local residents from the Bellingen area is misguided.
The residents are reportedly seeking to halt the Forestry Corporation of NSW’s long scheduled harvest of the area.
The residents acknowledge that the forest in question is a production forest with the trees all planted in the 1960s specifically to provide timber for NSW at this time.
Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton, said, “Because trees take decades to mature, it is understandable that those who live next to an area of production forest or plantation grow very attached to their present environment. They must not however forget that the forest has been planted or carefully managed and regrown for future harvesting. If these Bellingen residents succeed in overturning the sustainable harvest, regrow/replant, harvest cycle, they will actually be privatising for their own benefit an asset owned by everyone in NSW. This is neither right nor fair.”
“The Forestry Corporation is tightly restricted in where it can operate to sustainably harvest this great product that we all rely on. It ensures that the environment and heritage are protected during operations and that forests regenerate so that our children will also have renewable timber products in the future. The Bellingen example just shows how well Forestry Corporation manages its assets on behalf of all NSW taxpayers.”
“A more ‘whole-of-community’ minded approach in this situation would be gratitude for the many years of free access to such a wonderful extended backyard and recognition of the good work of Forestry Corporation in sustainably managing, harvesting and regrowing NSW public production forests and plantations for current and future generations. The excellent stewardship ensures our grandchildren will continue to enjoy the same affordable supply of nature’s miracle product which we have,” said Mr Hampton.