Letter: Koala Park is spin

Melinda Pavey
Melinda Pavey

Bellingen Shire Councillor Jennie Fenton’s Notice of Motion at the monthly council meeting (27 June) is classic Greens’ political spin. The motion gives legitimacy to an initiative that is built on mistruths and hypotheticals. It is bureaucratic language disguised as fact. 

When Ms Fenton talks about a failed timber industry that doesn’t bring “security in Bellingen Shire”, one wonders what the mill workers and their families at Thora do, and have done, for generations. 

When Ms Fenton hypothesises on the “suitable alternate employment” for the 4,360 people in Northern NSW – and let’s face it, the Koala Park does affect the entire Mid North Coast region despite her grandstanding in Bellingen – I’m hoping she’s discussed this career change with them. Let alone the ancillary employment and businesses that rely on the timber industry for their survival. 

I am also wondering why the Greens want to demonise timber as a product. The range of products the industry supplies is staggering and simply there is no alternative – especially none that can claim to be renewable and sustainable, which are two long-spruiked goals the Greens claim to best represent.

So, let’s be clear, what products do the Greens want to take away from our communities? Let them choose from sawlogs, power poles, pallets, firewood, residue products, high-quality flooring and decking timbers as well as the infinite ways artisan carpenters use this versatile resource.

The Greens couch their anti-logging crusade as the ‘Koala Park’. It’s for PR purposes. It’s a well-known secret that the koala tag sells. But what they are really doing is locking up forests that communities need for sustainable wood, they are locking up forests we maintain and worse still – there is no evidence this will save any more koalas.

We know that the biggest threats to koalas are the spread of urbanisation, habitat fragmentation, vehicle strike, dog attack, fire, disease, drought and heatwaves. 

We know that koalas are detected in equal numbers after an area has been harvested, when compared with areas where no timber gathering has occurred. It is factually incorrect that the koala habitat is under threat by the one-hundred-year old timber industry.

The Koala Park doesn’t address what happens if we stop logging on the Mid North Coast. t doesn’t address what will happen to the local consumer market. 

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