Iemma Government in court due to lack of leadership

After NSW red gum logging landed in court yesterday, national environment group Friends of the Earth today called on the Iemma government to follow Victoria’s lead in conducting a regional conservation assessment to protect the future of internationally significant wetlands and forests of the Riverina.

Iemma Government in court due to lack of leadership

4 September 2007

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After NSW red gum logging landed in court yesterday, national environment group Friends of the Earth today called on the Iemma government to follow Victoria’s lead in conducting a regional conservation assessment to protect the future of internationally significant wetlands and forests of the Riverina.

Yesterday, the National Parks Association of NSW commenced legal proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court, challenging the legality of logging in NSW State Forests along the Murray River.

“The Iemma Government has ducked its responsibility to develop a rational conservation policy for the Riverina, and the community is the worse for it,” said Red Gum Campaign Coordinator Jonathan La Nauze.

“It is a deep shame that the community has had to resort to an expensive and conflict-ridden court process, which could have been avoided if Premier Iemma had shown some leadership on the issue.”

“Across the border, the Victorian Government has taken an exemplary approach by commissioning an independent regional conservation assessment of red gum areas.”

In 2005 the Victorian Government commissioned an independent three-year red gum investigation by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC).

Under its terms of reference, VEAC is required to investigate ‘opportunities for a joint management regime with the NSW government.’

“It is tragically short-sighted of Premier Iemma to pass up this rare opportunity to set aside the state border and collaboratively develop a long term plan for the nation’s red gum wetlands and forests,” said Mr La Nauze.

The Victorian government recently acknowledged that for the past decade it has been over-logging red gum forests by up to 60% above sustainable yield. As NSW is logging three times more red gum than Victoria, it is likely they are also over-cutting.

“There is not a shred of sound policy underpinning red gum logging in NSW –under current logging practices, we are not only losing irreplaceable ecosystems, but the industry itself is being deprived of a future,” said Mr La Nauze.

For interviews: Jonathan La Nauze 0402 904 251