Commission backs off over Killiekrankie
By Steve Painter
SYDNEY — The NSW Forestry Commission is negotiating with the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) over logging operations begun at Mt Killiekrankie in northern NSW as a result of the Greiner government's Timber Industry Protection Act, which permits logging operations in some circumstances without environmental impact statements.
NEFA activists imposed a blockade on the area over Easter due to serious environmental damage caused by what a spokesperson describes as careless road building operations. Roads were driven into very steep country with shallow soil, resulting in serious land slips and erosion.
NEFA also initiated a legal case, employing botanists and geo-scientists to study the area. The group says it has put together a strong case, and the Forestry Commission asked for negotiations in the hope of reaching an out-of-court settlement. The commission has so far agreed to carry out further soil conservation surveys and a koala survey and has halted work for a month.
A NEFA blockade and court action last year stopped logging operations in the Chaelundi state forest and proved that the Forestry Commission had been operating in breach of the law for more than a decade. The Greiner government later changed the law in response to this court decision.
Mt Killiekrankie is south-west of Coffs Harbour in the Oakes state forest, and is part of an area nominated for inclusion in the north-east wilderness.
NEFA's work on Killiekrankie has been very expensive and the group urgently needs donations, which may be sent to NEFA c/- Big Scrub Environment Centre, 149 Keen St, Lismore NSW 2480.