September  3 - 9, 2023: Issue 597


local MP's call for halt on habitat logging in state forests: Logging Continues Within So-Called 'Great Koala Park' - 20% To Be Destroyed Before Koala Park Even Established Under RFA's That Run Until 2048 In NSW - meanwhile, more habitat of last population of sydney koalas to be razed for profit

Save our Koalas - June 3, 2018; Today a peaceful rally was held at Oswald Oval in Campbelltown, calling for more protection of the local Koala population. 

NB: this koala population continues to be decimated by no fauna passes being installed, despite developments proceeding past 2018 and the area is slated for more of the same - see below

Mackellar MP Dr. Sophie Scamps and Wakehurst MP Michael Regan visited Wedding Bells State Forest, where logging is currently being undertaken by the NSW Forestry Corporation, and has been for quite some time, as illustrated in this Friendly Jordies film from October 2022 (language warning).

On March 20th 2023 Dr. Scamps issued a media release stating, ''Later today I will move a motion in Parliament calling on the Albanese Government to rapidly end the logging of Australia’s public native forests.

''Australia is facing an extinction crisis and the continued logging of our native forests is one of the major threats facing species like the koala, greater gliders and Leadbeater’s possum. 40,000 hectares of Australian public native forests were destroyed or degraded by logging in 2020 and each year logging releases greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to approximately 6% of Australia’s annual emissions.

Logging not only destroys crucial habitat for threatened species and contributes to climate change, but it also dries out forests leading to increased risk of bushfire, reduces water quality in rivers and dams, and threatens regional tourism.

While I welcome the Albanese Government’s commitment to reforming the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC Act), we can’t afford to wait until 2024 to act on logging. The Government can move now, for example, to remove exemptions within the EPBC Act for Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs). The failure of state-owned logging companies to ensure ecologically sustainable forest management and protect threatened species means the Australian Government must rapidly remove the RFA exemptions. 

Importantly, I am not calling for an end to the logging industry, but an end to the destructive practice of logging our native forests. My motion also calls on the government to fund the transition to a plantation-based forestry industry, recognising the importance of forestry jobs in regional Australia and the need for sustainable wood products in the future. 

How many more court cases, forest blockades, community campaigns, scientific reports, bushfires made worse by logging, and listings of even more threatened species are needed before the Australian Government takes seriously its international responsibilities to respond to the nature and climate crises and lead the nation in ending industrial native forest logging?'' Dr . Scamps said

Michael Regan, Independent Member for Wakehurst , stated on September 1st 2023 - the first day of Spring 2023, ''My electorate office receives lots of community concerns about the continued logging of our native forests. Not surprising given where we live surrounded by bush and beach. We appreciate and respect it. So It was great to catch up with Dr. Sophie Scamps this week for an important site visit to Wedding Bells State Forest as we explored the situation with continued logging in that area.

''I was alarmed to learn that this logging is taking place within the proposed perimeter of the Great Koala National Park, which the NSW government committed to establishing during the election. This area is believed to be home to 20% of NSW koala population. It is critical this precious bushland is protected from logging.

''Dr Sophie Scamps and I (and many State /Federal MPs) are working hard to push the NSW and Federal governments to act now to protect our state’s native forests and koala habitats.

It is well and truly time to end the logging of our native forests and support transitioning the industry away to sustainable plantations.'' Mr. Regan said

Mackellar MP Scamps stated, ''On Wednesday (August 30, 2023) Michael Regan MP and I went on a fact-finding mission to the beautiful Wedding Bells State Forest to see the confronting extent of logging in our native forests and koala habitats. 

''Despite the NSW Governments commitment to establish a Great Koala National Park, logging continues to go on within the proposed protected boundary.

''The gut wrenching part of this is that the habitat is used for low value products such as tomato stakes, pallets and wood chips. This means the production of native forest trees are commercially unviable and loss making.

This is simply unacceptable. We must not stand for this. It’s time for the Albanese Government to show leadership on this issue and end the logging of native forests and help fund a transition to a sustainable plantation based industry.''

Mackellar MP Dr. Scamps and Wakehurst MP Michael Regan at Wedding Bells State Forest on August 30, 2023. Photo: via Facebook

Dr. Scamps and Mr. Regan are among thousands of individuals and community and environment groups who have been calling for a cessation of logging in NSW State Forests for years now. 

On February 16, 2018: NSW Nature Conservation Council stated ''The Berejiklian government is putting threatened forest wildlife and an historic 20-year peace deal at risk by pushing ahead with a sham consultation process designed to lock in unsustainable logging indefinitely.''

''The NSW Nature Conservation Council and NSW National Parks Association today walked away from stakeholder consultations on the extension of the state’s three Regional Forest Agreements.''

Regional Forest Agreements were struck in the late 1990s and early 2000s and delivered a fragile peace in the Forests Wars that had raged for decades through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “We will not be party to a process that perpetuates the reckless mismanagement our precious forests.

Koala populations in NSW forests have plummeted over the past 20 years during which these agreements have been in place.

“We insist the government conduct independent scientific reviews that will give us a clear understanding of what harm forestry has done to our threatened wildlife over the past two decades before we decide how our forests will be managed for another generation.”

National Parks Association CEO Alix Goodwin said: “Far from achieving ecologically sustainable forest management, the RFAs have permitted the extensive destruction of public forests because logging under the Agreements is not subject to scrutiny by Commonwealth law.

“As a result, many of our forests are in a worse condition now than when the agreements were struck two decades ago. Carbon stores are decreasing, and populations of forest species are in freefall.

“We have decided to not participate in the current round of stakeholder consultations because the NSW Government has not agreed to a fair, scientifically credible assessment and negotiation process.”

Specifically, the government has refused to:
  • Consider whether the RFAs are a suitable model for forest management.
  • Complete the RFA 10- and 15-year reviews before beginning negotiations on the RFA renewal.
  • Complete a socioeconomic assessment of all land-use options that considers, among other things, climate change impacts and the potential use of forests for carbon capture and storage.
  • Establish a fair process for RFA renewal negotiations, with balanced representation and moderation by a credible, independent third party.
  • Guarantee there would be no pre-emptive decisions (i.e., no new Wood Supply Contracts) before the end of the process.
The previous NSW Government, despite widespread opposition, had already extended the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOA) by 20 years in May 2018 when asking for community feedback.

Then Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole and Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton said the Coastal IFOA remake was a vital step forward in the NSW Government’s forestry reform agenda.

“The NSW Government is committed to the long term and sustainable management of NSW’s forestry estate, for the benefit of the community, environment and our $2.4 billion forestry and product manufacturing industry,” Mr Toole said.

This signalled the then NSW Government's intention to expand logging into old growth areas as well.

The NSW Conservation Council stated then, ''The Berejiklian government’s plan to “remap” old growth forest poses serious new threat to some of the best mature forests left in NSW.

''The government announced it would remap these high-value public native forests as part of a package of changes to forest protection laws (Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals) unveiled today.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “Logging is not permitted in old-growth forests because these areas have exceptional value for conservation. Removing old-growth classification through the remapping project could make thousands of hectares of previously protected high-quality wildlife habitat available to the timber industry.

“This is a major attack on our native forests and the conservation movement will vigorously oppose these changes at every opportunity.”

National Parks Association CEO Alix Goodwin said: “The government plans to weaken forest environmental protections come just weeks after it declared it would protect 24,000 hectares of koala habitat by reclassifying state forests for wildlife conservation.

“We have been told that new protections for koala habitat will result in an annual shortfall of 10,000 cubic metres of sawlogs promised to the timber industry.

“We are very concerned the remapping project will result in high-quality forest losing high levels of protection and being made available to the timber industry to make up for the timber lost through koala protection.

“The government appears to be forcing the community to choose between protecting koalas or old-growth forest when we should in fact protect both.

Under the proposed arrangement, coastal forests between Grafton and Taree will be subject to a massive increase in harvesting intensity with patches of forest of 45ha open to clear felling.

“This is a new level of logging intensity not seen before outside of the Eden region on the south coast, where forests have been decimated to feed the woodchip mill.”

Dailan Pugh, from the North East Forest Alliance said: "It is outrageous that the intent is to undertake a discredited review process to open up large areas of currently protected old-growth forest for logging on the north coast in order to meet a sawlog shortfall of 10,000 cubic metres per annum. Our wildlife cannot afford to lose any more of these precious remnants."

From 'Proposed multi-scale landscape approach – download the Multi Scale Approach Factsheet here' Doc.;
 Includes all public coastal forests in NSW and consists of over 5.2 million hectares.
• Across this area of public forests is a patchwork of State Forests and forest protected in National Parks and State Flora Reserves.
• State Forests make up around 30% of the public forests in the Coastal IFOA area. Native timber production forests cover around 16% of this area.
Environmental protections include:
• An established network of protected public land conserving important habitat and ecosystems across coastal NSW.
• The broad landscape-based habitat protection network includes National parks, Flora Reserves and special management zones.
• Annual timber volume caps are also set to ensure a long term ecologically sustainable supply of timber.
• Reporting requirements apply and monitoring to evaluate and ensure environmental outcomes are being achieved.

• A defined geographic region with an average size of 50,000 hectares.
• Multiple timber production forests occur within each management area.
• These areas will be fixed and mapped at the commencement of the proposed IFOA.
• On average 50% of the management zone of state forests is protected.
Environmental protections include:
• Annual limits on the amount of harvesting in each management area to distribute harvesting across the landscape.
• A maximum of 10% of a management area can be harvested per year.
• If the management area is zoned for intensive harvestingthen a maximum of only 5% of that management area can be intensively harvested per year

• A defined area of timber production forests no larger than 1500 hectares.
• On average there are four local landscape areas in each State Forest.
• These areas will be mapped out progressively over time.
• An average of 38% is protected before the new wildlife habitat clump requirements are considered. This will increase to an average of 41%.
Environmental protections include:
• A minimum of 5% of the harvest area to be permanently protected as a wildlife habitat clump to maintain habitat diversity and connectivity.
• Rainforest, high conservation value old growth, habitat corridors and owl habitat will continue to be protected.
• Threatened ecological communities have been mapped and will be excluded from harvesting.
• Streams are more accurately mapped and exclusion zones apply to provide landscape connectivity and protect waterways.
• Distributeintensive harvesting across the landscape and over a minimum 21 year period.
• Improved koala mapping to retain koala browse trees to support movement between areas and food resources.

• A site is the area where harvesting is taking place. Sites vary in size from about 45 to 250 hectares.
• There are many sites, called coupes or compartments, within each local landscape area.
• An average of 41% of State Forests at a site scale will be protected, increasing to 45% with added tree retention clumps.

Environmental protections include:
• Areas will be permanently protected to provide short term refuge, maintain forest structure, and protect important habitat features.
• Additional areas no less than 5 – 8% of the harvest area will be permanently set aside as new tree retention clumps.
• Hollow-bearing trees, nest and roost trees and giant trees will be permanently protected to provide ongoing shelter and food resources.
• Some target surveys will be retained for unique species of plants and animals that require protection.
• Sites will now be measured, mapped and monitored with mobile and desktop devices.

Visit: Proposed changes to timber harvesting in NSW's coastal forests - NSW Government; 'Once approved, the new Coastal IFOA will set the rules for how we use and harvest these forests so it’s important that you have your say.'
In November 2018 the National Parks Association stated Freedom of information documents reveal damning assessment of Berejiklian government’s proposed new logging laws.

''As the NSW and federal governments are poised to sign off on 20-year extensions to controversial Regional Forest Agreements, documents acquired by the North East Forest Alliance under freedom of information show deep concerns within the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) about the impact of new logging laws on protected old-growth, rainforest and koalas.'' NPA stated

''OEH’s concerns echo those of environment groups and illustrate clearly that the laws will destroy the natural values of our forests. Reminiscent of when Environment Minister Upton signed off on new land clearing laws despite departmental advice that 99% of koala habitat was at risk from clearing, the government is again ignoring OEH advice that koala deaths will increase and habitat quality decrease as a result of the new laws.

''Further, the documents reveal that the recommendation by the Natural Resources Commission to allow logging of  forest protected as oldgrowth forest, rainforest and stream buffers for the past 20 years was contrary to the recommendations of the Expert Fauna Panel and that the Panel’s considerations of required protections were based on the erroneous assumption that all these important fauna habitats would be protected. OEH recommends many of the panel’s recommendations for threatened species need to be revisited in light of the new logging proposals..

On top of recent revelations about the deep unpopularity of native forest logging in the broader community, the National Parks Association (NPA) and North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) are calling for the government to scrap the new laws (called Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals) and chart an exit out of native forest logging.

“The documents show that a keystone of Premier Berejiklian’s draconian changes to the logging rules for public forests is that some 58,600 ha of High Conservation Value Oldgrowth and 50,600 ha of rainforest in north-east NSW may be made available for logging”, said Dailan Pugh of the North East Forest Alliance.

“These forests were protected over 20 years ago as part of NSW’s reserve system because they are the best and most intact forest remnants left on state forests. As logging intensity has increased around them their environmental importance has escalated.

“North East NSW’s forests are one of the world’s centres of biodiversity and now Premier Berejiklian wants to extend her increased logging intensity into the jewels that the community saved.”

Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist with the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) said: “It’s no wonder the public is sick of native forest logging and that it has lost its social license.

“Here we have clear warnings from OEH that more koalas will die and more koala habitat will be lost. Yet the government’s determined to plough on regardless.

“It’s past time the federal government intervened to stop NSW knowingly driving koalas further towards extinction.” 


Extracts from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Conservation and Regional Delivery Division North East Branch (NEB) ‘Submission to the NSW Environmental Protection Agency on the Draft Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval remake’ obtained through freedom of information

The Draft Coastal IFOA appears to enable boundaries separating the CAR reserve system and the harvest area to be amended by inter‐agency agreement with no public consultation. Further, amendments to the boundaries could occur at the scale of the local landscape or even individual compartment. Areas would be assessed in isolation, rather than at a regional scale, and thereby be susceptible to the incremental ecological impact that regional assessments were originally introduced to prevent. This is expected to significantly compromise the CAR reserve system over time.

The NEB therefore reiterates the recommendation from the Expert Fauna Panel for the ‘permanent protection of current exclusion zones’ (State of NSW and the Environmental Protection Agency 2018, p.8) and recommends that the Draft Coastal IFOA include specific provisions that protect all areas that have been protected by the FA, RFA and current IFOA over the last 20 years.

Intensive and selective harvest areas

The CAR reserve system was established in conjunction with selective logging regimes that maintained structurally diverse forest throughout the harvest area. The Draft Coastal IFOA appears to increase the area of public forests on the north coast that would be legally available for intensive harvest, with the risk that large areas of forest will be reduced to a uniform young age class that would take many decades for full ecological function to be restored.

In the intensive harvesting zone (the Coastal Blackbutt forests of the north coast hinterland), the Draft Coastal IFOA proposes to allow coupes of up to 45 ha to be logged with no lower limits on the number of trees retained in the harvest area.

This proposed minimum basal area retention of trees in the harvest areas is below the minimum threshold required to maintain habitat values advised by the majority of the Expert Fauna Panel.

The Draft Coastal IFOA proposes removing the existing requirement to protect habitat ‘recruitment trees’. Over time, this will reduce the number of large habitat trees retained for ecological purposes in harvest areas, as trees die and are not replaced. Recruitment trees identified previously will now be available for harvesting, further reducing the persistent availability of larger trees as a critical habitat element for threatened and protected fauna.

High Conservation Value (HCV) Old Growth

HCV old growth was identified for protection as part of the CAR reserve in 1998. It was comprised of older forest (mapped as ‘candidate’ old growth) that also scored highly for irreplaceability (a measure of significance to biodiversity conservation) and threatened species habitat value. Under the Draft Coastal IFOA, biodiversity values of harvest area will be reduced as the area becomes progressively younger (potentially 21 years old or less). For threatened species, this places greater significance on adequately protecting existing HCV old growth areas.

The NEB recommends that areas of HCV old growth that have been protected for at least 20 years (NRC 2018) are not made available for logging. This will minimise impacts on threatened species.


The concerns raised above in relation to the treatment of old growth under the Draft Coastal IFOA also apply to protected rainforest. Combined, HCV old growth and rainforest form the cornerstone of the CAR reserve system on State forest. Adequate retention of these vegetation types is considered particularly critical in the context of proposed increased logging intensities.

Specific threatened species conditions

Identifying the species that required species‐specific conditions was a major task for the Expert Fauna Panel. However, the Panel’s deliberations occurred prior to the proposals to allow logging access to HCV old growth and rainforest (NRC 2018). Therefore, many of the panel’s recommendations need to be revisited in light of the new logging proposals. For example, some of the old growth dependent species (such as those that require hollows) were considered not to require species‐specific conditions because the existing HCV old growth was protected. Similarly, for many rainforest‐dependent species, and those dependent upon riparian habitats, species‐specific conditions were not proposed on the assumption that the habitat of these species was considered sufficiently protected.

Koala protection

There appears to be a reduction in protections offered to koalas under the Draft Coastal IFOA. Koalas are selective both in their choice of food tree species and in their choice of individual trees. The scientific basis for proposed tree retention rates in the Draft Coastal IFOA is not clear, and the rates are less than half those originally proposed by the Expert Fauna Panel.

While Koalas will use small trees, research has shown that they selectively prefer larger trees. In our experience, the proposed minimum tree retention size of 20cm dbh will be inadequate to support koala populations and should be increased to a minimum of 30cm dbh. Many Koala food trees are also desired timber species, so there is a high likelihood that larger trees will be favoured for harvesting, leaving small retained trees subject to the elevated mortality rates experienced in exposed, intensively‐logged coupes.

Koalas require large areas of connected habitat for long‐term viability. The increased logging intensity proposed under the draft Coastal IFOA is expected to impact Koalas through diminished feed and shelter tree resources. Animals will need to spend more time traversing the ground as they move between suitable trees that remain, which is likely to increase koala mortality.

At the same time this video was released:

These Two Koalas Lost Their Mothers To Deforestation

The 20 year extension was approved months before the July 2019 bushfires which, by January 2020, had consumed thousands of hectares of bushland and killed an estimated 2 billion native animals.

The licence to persist in logging habitat, until 2048, is now viewed as a licence for extinction.

However the new and current State Government has already signalled it has no intention of making any changes to logging practices in the state.

Forestry Corporation NSW plans show that over the next 12 months it intends to log 30,813 hectares of a total 175,000 hectares of state forests that fall within the boundaries of the proposed Great Koala National Park, home to one in five of the state’s surviving koalas.

This would include areas identified by the government as the most important koala habitat in the state at Wild Cattle Creek, Clouds Creek, Pine Creek and in the Boambee State Forests.

“[Forestry Corporation NSW] knows this national park is coming, and they are deliberately ramping up operations within its boundaries to extract as much timber from it as possible,” NSW Nature Conservation Council chief executive Jacqui Mumford said earlier this year.

“The NSW government committed to protecting koalas by creating the [Great Koala National Park], but before the assessment process even beginsForestry Corporation plans to log nearly 20 per cent of the park.”

The calls for a moratorium on logging by the state-owned enterprise come as Victoria announced it will bring forward an end to all logging in its state forests to 2024 from 2030, bringing that state into line with Western Australia.

“Victoria and Western Australia are now both ending native forest logging by 2024, while Queensland is stopping logging south of Noosa by next year. NSW is now the laggard in this space, and it’s time for the NSW government to step up,” Mumford said.

Both major parties in NSW have long resisted calls to end logging in native forests despite the industry running at a loss.

The proposed national park would link together and protect existing national parks and state forests and add other critical habitats from South West Rocks, north of Coffs Harbour, to Woy Woy, in the south, and areas inland over parts of the Great Dividing Range.

Responding to questions from the Sydney Morning Herald, NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe did not address calls for a moratorium but reiterated her government’s commitment to create the Great Koala National Park during its first term.

“We were very clear at the election that the process to establish the park will involve seeking scientific advice, consulting with all stakeholders, and will include an independent economic assessment of the park’s impact on local jobs and communities,” she said.

“The park will include 140,000ha of existing reserves and the assessment of 176,000ha of state forest for inclusion in the park.”

Mumford said it was “ridiculous” that the government was spending $29 million of taxpayers’ money to log koala habitat at a loss while spending additional taxpayer funds to protect the koala.

During the 2021-22 financial year, the hardwood division of Forestry Corporation NSW, which is responsible for native forest logging, ran at a loss of $9 million, following a loss of $20 million the previous year, according to an analysis by the Nature Conservation Council.

A report published in April by conservative think tank The Blueprint Institute also found native forest logging in NSW ran at a loss and said the government would save taxpayers $45 million by shutting down that sector of the industry in the forthcoming year rather than when current forestry agreements expire, or whenever there is no single tree left standing - whichever comes first.

It is a requirement of the NSW Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) that its performance is reviewed every five years. 

On 23 November 2022, officials from the Australian and New South Wales governments held their fourth annual meeting since the signing of the 20-year extension to the NSW RFAs. The governments issued the following communique:
  • Officials discussed the Long-term Ecologically Sustainable Yield review in response to the 2019-20 bushfires, the impact on wood supply, and the upcoming Sustainable Yield review due in 2024.
  • Officials discussed research priorities and recent developments for forest-related monitoring, evaluation and reporting in NSW. An update was provided by the NSW Natural Resources Commission on the progress of the NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program – 2019 – 2024. An update was also provided by NSW officials on the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Plan as required under the RFAs, as well as the development of a MER framework for PNF. Officials also discussed identifying future research gaps for RFA 5-yearly review reporting.
  • Officials discussed conservation advice and recovery plans, particularly for species listed as Matters of National Environmental Significance and an update was provided on federal koala conservation programs. Officials discussed compliance activities for a range of forest management matters including for the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals and for the PNF Codes.
  • Officials considered preparations for the five yearly review in 2024, as required by clauses 8A and 8B of the NSW RFAs. This included a proposed structure for the outcomes focused Progress Report, arrangements to finalise the draft Scoping Agreement, a draft Joint Communications Plan and a proposed timeline for the review through to the end of 2024.
  • Officials noted that the next annual meeting is required to be held no later than 28 November 2023 and agreed to meet before that date.

The NSW Forestry Corporation has been the subject of numerous fines and actions by the EPA since the 20 year extension, including that which occurred this past week, see below, and these:

April 16, 2023: Protecting giant trees in Doubleduke State Forest - The EPA has acted on community concerns about giant trees in Doubleduke State Forest on Bundjalung Country near Grafton, leading the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) to voluntarily suspend tree harvesting there. Update: 20 April 2023 - FCNSW has completed a remap of active harvest areas as requested by the EPA on 14 April 2023. The additional mapping provides assurance to the EPA and the community that all retained trees in active harvest areas have been identified and mapped. Having regard to remapping works undertaken by FCNSW, a voluntarily suspension of operations is no longer requested by the EPA. The EPA will continue to monitor and enforce compliance with the CIFOA at the Forest. The decision and timing to recommence operations in the Forest is a matter for FCNSW.

July 23, 2020: EPA orders Stop Work on forestry operations in South Brooman State Forest - issued Forestry Corporation of NSW with a Stop Work Order to cease tree harvesting in part of South Brooman State Forest near Batemans Bay. It was the second time in less than a week that a Stop Work Order has been issued to Forestry Corporation. EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer said EPA investigations into operations in Compartment 58a of the forest had revealed serious alleged breaches of the rules that govern native forestry operations, in relation to the protection of trees that must be permanently retained“Officers allegedly found 26 hollow bearing trees that were either felled or damaged, with many of these trees also not identified and mapped in the planning phase. This area is known to be home to several threatened species that use hollow bearing trees. The Yellow-bellied Glider, the Glossy-Black Cockatoo and the Powerful, Masked and Sooty Owls are all listed as vulnerable species and may use hollow bearing trees for habitat,” Ms Dwyer said. “The importance of identifying, mapping and protecting these vital trees is a key requirement and there should be proper processes in place to ensure compliance.” After the recent Black Summer bushfires, the EPA imposed additional site-specific conditions on the existing strict environmental controls – called the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) – to mitigate the specific environmental risks caused by the bushfires at each site, including impacts on plants, animals and their habitats, soils and waterways. The site-specific conditions include the requirement to identify, map and permanently retain all trees with hollows, whether alive or dead. As a result of the seriousness of the alleged breaches, the EPA has issued a Stop Work Order under the Biodiversity Conservation Act to stop Forestry Corporation logging in the relevant compartment. The order ensures that no further tree harvesting takes place in the area where the trees were felled for 40 days, or until the EPA is confident that Forestry Corporation can meet its obligations to comply with the IFOA including the site-specific conditions. It followed a Stop Work Order issued for Wild Cattle Creek State Forest near Coffs Harbour on Saturday for felling two protected giant trees.“This is the first Stop Work Order the EPA has issued for breaches of the site-specific conditions put in place for burnt forests and is necessary because failure to properly map and retain hollow bearing trees could result in irreparable environmental harm,” Ms Dwyer said.

June 23, 2022: Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) has been fined $15,000 for allegedly failing to comply with a post bushfire condition imposed to protect critical habitat in a forest near Batemans Bay. In July 2020 the EPA issued FCNSW with a Stop Work Order to stop the harvesting of trees in part of the forest for 40 days, after an inspection found hollow bearing trees that were either damaged or felled. The penalty followed the resumption of logging in that area, after FCNSW were required to put in place additional checks to ensure they met the conditions. - $15,000 is the largest fine the EPA is able to issue under the legislation.

June 16, 2022; Forestry Corporation NSW fined for forestry activities near Coffs Harbour - the Land and Environment Court found tree felling in exclusion zones had done “actual harm” to koala habitat in Wild Cattle Creek Forest near Coffs Harbour. Fines and costs totalling $285,600 have been levelled against Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW) after the Land and Environment Court found tree felling in exclusion zones had done “actual harm” to koala habitat in Wild Cattle Creek Forest near Coffs Harbour.  The Land and Environment Court handed down a fine of $135,600 and ordered FCNSW to pay the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)’s legal and investigation costs of $150,000 after FCNSW pleaded guilty to four charges brought by the EPA. The felling was carried out by FCNSW contractors in 2018. The EPA alleged that Forestry Corporation’s contractors felled trees and operated snig tracks (tracks created by harvesting machinery) within a koala high use area exclusion zone located within Compartment 539 of the forest. The EPA also alleged that the contractors felled trees in protected rainforest areas and an exclusion zone around warm temperate rainforest, located in Compartments 539 and 540 of the forest, in breach of Forestry Corporation’s licence.

April 11, 2022Forestry Corporation fined for destroying native animal habitat - Destroying the habitat of endangered species has cost Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) $45,000 in fines. The EPA issued three $15,000 Penalty Infringement Notices to FCNSW for felling hollow bearing trees across three areas in Mogo State Forest in 2020.

EPA Statement - Update On Forestry Regulation

February 16 2021
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has been advised by Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) that they will shortly revert to operating under the standard forestry rules, meaning logging in new compartments will not use special site specific conditions put in place to protect burnt forests, following the 2019/20 bushfires.

Based on expert advice and the literature, the EPA is of the view that site specific conditions are the most effective way of managing the environmental risks associated with harvesting in landscapes that have been so extensively and severely impacted by fire.

The EPA has been working to negotiate updated site specific conditions based on current knowledge of the impact of the fires, and to identify and implement a long-term approach to manage the risks posed by timber harvesting in the post-fire landscapes of coastal NSW.

FCNSW has now withdrawn from those discussions around logging on the South Coast.

The EPA expects to receive advice from FCNSW regarding additional voluntary measures they intend to apply to manage the impacts of logging operations. These will not be enforceable by the EPA under the current rules.

The EPA’s site specific conditions previously applied in addition to the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOA), maximise the protection of unburnt or lightly burnt forest and limit harvesting intensity to assist wildlife and biodiversity recovery efforts.

Designed following consultation with experts and government agencies, they aim to mitigate the environmental risks caused by the bushfires and are tailored for the specific impacts on plants, animals and their habitats, soils and waterways at each site.

The EPA has been working with FCNSW to ensure these controls are implemented and effective. 

The EPA has increased its regulatory presence on the ground at all stages of logging operations and is working closely with community, industry, Aboriginal and environment groups, concerned about the impact of logging on the environment, their communities and their regional economies.

In response to the decision of FCNSW, the EPA will further increase its regulatory oversight of future logging operations.

The EPA has a statutory objective to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in NSW having regard to the need to maintain ecologically sustainable development. Where the EPA identifies non-compliance, it will take appropriate regulatory action.

FCNSW is authorised by the NSW Government to undertake forestry operations under the Forestry Act 2012, and must comply with the IFOA rules.

February 18, 2021: Forestry Corporation fined for failing to mark out a prohibited logging zone - EPA officers identified the alleged licence breach while inspecting a harvest site in Olney State Forest. FCNSW logged the compartment in the forest between January 2019 and March 2020. An EPA post-harvest site inspection in April 2020 found FCNSW had failed to mark a riparian exclusion zone boundary, contrary to the requirements of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval held by FCNSW. The alleged failure to mark the exclusion zone resulted in three mature trees being felled and 0.23 hectares of riparian vegetation removed to create a snig transport track. Surrounding vegetation in the area was also disturbed during the logging.

February 26, 2021: Forestry Corporation fined for failing to mark out a prohibited logging zone - for allegedly contravening regulatory requirements, in the Ballengarra State Forest in the mid north coast of NSW. EPA Officers conducting inspections of the area following a harvesting operation identified 10 freshly cut mature trees within the hard and soft protection zones of a second order stream; a significant amount of debris pushed into a stream bed; and evidence of machine access, and earthworks caused by harvesting machinery within a protected zone. The EPA has issued FCNSW with a total penalty of $30,000, comprising $15,000 for two breaches and an official caution for a subsequent breach.

March 1, 2021: Forestry Corporation fined $33K for failing to keep records, critically endangered swift parrots. For allegedly not including the critically endangered Swift Parrot records in planning for operations, and has also delivered three official cautions for an alleged failure by FCNSW to mark-up eucalypt feed trees - NSW south forestry operations in Boyne, Bodalla and Mogo State forests.“The harvest and haul plans for the three operations confirm the Swift Parrot records were not considered and therefore the marking and retention of eucalypt feed trees did not occur either. “The Swift Parrot is on the Commonwealth’s critically endangered list and as the state’s environmental regulator, we are focused on protecting species that depend on the forest for their survival.”

Forest Harvesting To Recommence On South Coast And Eden

March 15, 2021: Forestry Corporation of NSW Media Release
Forestry Corporation of NSW (Forestry Corporation) will recommence renewable timber harvesting on the South Coast and Eden this week with additional environmental safeguards in place to ensure our commitment to sustainable forest management.

Daniel Tuan, Forestry Corporation’s General Manager of Hardwood Forests, said the recommencement of harvesting would allow the timber industry on the South Coast and Eden to stay in business following the 2019-2020 bushfires and avert job losses in local communities.

Mr Tuan said Forestry Corporation worked constructively with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for the last 16 months to negotiate site-specific operating conditions for each harvesting operation in bushfire-affected coastal forests.

But no site specific operating conditions had been issued since mid last year and the industry has exhausted its log stocks and opportunities for harvesting on private property.

As a result, renewable timber harvesting on the South Coast and Eden will take place with additional environmental safeguards to further minimise any risks to fire-affected forests and supply much-needed timber to local industry. These new rules are above and beyond the existing Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (CIFOA), which prescribes protections for wildlife, soil and water and enables sustainable timber to be produced and the trees regrown..

Forestry Corporation’s operations are independently audited by the EPA to assure compliance with the CIFOA regulations.

The additional environmental safeguards put in place in recognition of the impacts of the 2019-2020 bushfires, include additional searching for plants and animals, retaining a greater number of hollow bearing trees and increasing the area of land to be excluded from harvesting.

“We believe these additional environmental safeguards provide the right balance which Forestry Corporation is required to strike between environmental considerations; the need to support the regional communities reliant on timber industry jobs; and meet its supply commitments with small family businesses and key local mills,” Mr Tuan said.

“We have put in place robust operating procedures to manage compliance with the additional safeguards and we will share the outcomes with the EPA. The EPA has also indicated that it will step up its oversight of our operations.” Mr Tuan said.

Plans are being prepared for four operations on the South Coast and Eden and these will be available on our website once approved. These initial forests include Nadgee, Mogo, Yambulla and Shallow Crossing.

“Forestry Corporation is open and transparent with the community publishing plans for all native forest operations on its website. Interested community members can subscribe to these plans and get alerted of any updates.

Operations will be conducted under this interim arrangement until the results of the review by the National Resources Commission, due later in 2021, are available. Forestry Corporation is actively participating in this review.

Timber is the most renewable building product available and on the South Coast and Eden is harvested and processed by a range of local businesses into a range of products including poles, bridge decking, floorboards, decking, fencing, landscaping timbers, pallets, and a range of other products that communities use and need, creating ongoing employment in the region.

Information about the locations of our operations is available via our Plan Portal at

April 27, 2020: Forestry Corporation fined $31,100 after EPA investigation - EPA’s investigations found that Forestry Corporation had breached the Southern and Eden Integrated Forestry Operations Approval by not properly marking important trees needed to protect native animal habitat and the environment.Forestry Corporation has been fined $30,000 for two alleged offences in Tantawangalo State Forest on the far south coast in 2019 and separately, $1,100 for an alleged offence in Bago State Forest in the Southern Tablelands in 2018, under the previous, lower, penalty scheduleForestry Corporation was fined $15,000 for not marking an adequate number of trees for retention in Tantawangalo State Forest and $15,000 for not marking the boundary of an environmentally sensitive area as an exclusion zone, required to protect the habitat of the Powerful Owl. The alleged offence in Bago State Forest relates to not marking an adequate number of habitat trees that needed to be retained.


Koalas and other critically endangered species are not only being put at risk as their habitat is being destroyed in these state forests - on the other side of Sydney the former and current NSW Government has plans to allow the destruction of Sydney's last koala population to facilitate the profits of developers. 

The Mount Gilead Stage 2 development, which closed for feedback to the developers themselves on September 1, and lists 'offsets' as the approach to habitat that will be destroyed, and the wildlife that lives there as the logical result of habitat destruction, will see the local extinction of these species, as has happened in Pittwater.

Save Sydney Koalas has stated ''that the Stage 2 Mt Gilead Residential Development, EPBC 2019/8587 plans the removal of 46 ha of prime koala habitat is unacceptable. 

Offsetting is not conservation and should not be applied. The NSW Auditor General highlighted in her report the shortcomings of offsets. (Effectiveness of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme 2022) 

The proposal will endanger both State and Federally-listed threatened species including Koala, Swift Parrot, Grey Headed Flying Fox , Pomaderris Brunnea, Cumberland Plain Woodland ans Shale Sandstone Transition Forest. 

Despite being cutting edge technology, the 24 retention basins are likely to lead to future drying out of creek beds as water is retained within the basins.

Recontouring of the landscape will mean water flows change across the landscape  endangering Critically Endangered flora such as the Pomaderris brunnea, Cumberland Plain Woodland and Shale-Sandstone Transition Forest.

Proposed wildlife road crossings are not in keeping with existing best practice and we support Dr Steve Phillips's Appin Road Upgrade reports.

Maps (including government maps) showing koala corridors are indicative only and therefore this proposal should be to withdrawn and resubmitted with the correct width of wildlife corridors.'' 

''Mount Gilead is the safest and shortest crossing between the Georges and Nepean Rivers, the NSW Chief Scientist describes it as a critical corridor - yet Lendlease are proposing small pipes/culvert and no overpass despite their original promises .. still no corridor widths from either Lendlease or NSW Government.''

See 2022 report: 

Finalised Cumberland Plain Plan Released: 'A Developers Plan That Will Facilitate Extinction Of Sydney's Koalas' Locals State - A 'Tree Museum Plan' For Critically Endangered Woodplain

More in 2021 report: 

Sydney's Last Koala Population Being Killed As Mount Gilead Development Cuts Down Trees With No Fauna Passes Or Protections In Place: Pittwater Demonstration Falls On Deaf Ears

Campbelltown Koala. Photo courtesy P Durman, taken August 2022

EPA Issues Stop Work Order On Forestry Operations In Tallaganda State Forest

August 30, 2023
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) an immediate Stop Work Order to cease harvesting in parts of the Tallaganda State Forest.

Following a community complaint, EPA officers inspected several active logging compartments in Tallaganda on Tuesday 30 August and located a deceased Southern Greater Glider around 50 metres from forestry harvest operations. It is not yet known how the glider died.

EPA Acting Executive Director Operations, Steve Orr said the discovery of a deceased glider was extremely concerning given their increased reliance on unburnt areas of the forest following the 2019/20 bushfires and its proximity to active harvest operations.

“Southern Greater Gliders are an endangered species and shelter in multiple tree cavities, known as ‘den trees’, over large distances,” Mr Orr said.

“Den trees are critical for the food, shelter and movement of gliders and FCNSW is required to protect them and implement 50 metre exclusion zones around identified den trees.

“While community reports suggest around 400 Southern Greater Gliders may be living in the Tallaganda State Forest, FCNSW has identified only one den tree and we are not confident that habitat surveys have been adequately conducted to ensure all den trees are identified.

“The EPA has a strong compliance and enforcement program for native forestry, and we will take immediate action where warranted, including issuing stop work orders for alleged non-compliance.”

FCNSW has been ordered to immediately cease all harvesting, haulage operations, and any road and track construction work in the areas of concern in the Tallaganda State Forest. The order is in place for 40 days and can be extended.

FCNSW must immediately comply with the Stop Work Order. Failure to comply with a Stop Work Order is a serious offence and can attract a maximum court-imposed penalty of up to $1,650,000 and a further $165,000 for each day the offence continues. Similar penalties apply in respect of a breach of the Forestry Act.

The EPA’s investigation is ongoing.

WWF has stated, ''It’s clear our nature laws are failing our already endangered wildlife.

''In response to this heart-breaking news, we have written to the NSW Government to intervene and stop the logging. We are also calling on the federal and NSW governments to scrap law exemptions for Regional Forestry Agreements - loopholes that enable the continued destruction of such critical native habitats.''

Wilderness Australia has stated it welcomes the Stop Work Order issued last night by the NSW Environment Protection Authority over logging operations in Tallaganda State Forest, east of Canberra.

Wilderness Australia submitted an urgent request for an investigation to the EPA, into the logging of seven compartments of core greater glider habitat in Tallaganda State Forest, on Monday 28 August. By Wednesday 30 August, the EPA had issued an immediate stop work order.

Bob Debus, Chair of Wilderness Australia, a former Labor state environment minister, said:

“We instantly knew that this was a make or break moment for the survival of the Greater Glider in the South Coast of NSW. Our complaint was vindicated yesterday when the EPA ordered an immediate cessation of logging. The EPA undertook a field inspection to verify Forestry Corporation’s success in protecting the greater glider during their operations. Instead, they found a dead greater glider right next to the logging area.”

“I would like to acknowledge the swift action to assert environmental protection laws and regulations by the NSW EPA and Environment Minister Penny Sharpe.”

“We’ve long been concerned at the apparent efforts of the Forestry Corporation to undermine environmental policy in NSW. As a publicly owned body, the Forestry Corporation should be attempting to minimise environmental damage during logging operations. Instead, they appear to be deliberately targeting the areas of highest conservation value within the State Forest estate for destruction.”

“The Stop Work Order is in place for 40 days while further investigations unfold. Wilderness Australia urges the NSW Government to extend this temporary reprieve into permanent protection for Greater Gliders. Without it, we fear that greater gliders may be headed for a local extinction event on the South Coast of NSW.”

Although Debus and the WFF applauded the EPA and NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe for the prompt enforcement action NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson said the incident was evidence that logging the public native forest estate was “broken”.

“The only reason the EPA has issued a Stop Work Order is because the community and I alerted them to the flagrant failure to afford proper protection for one of our most iconic and endangered species in NSW.

“Even under the forestry corporations loose environmental prescriptions there is a requirement to identify Greater Glider habitat trees prior to logging and then afford some protection to them.

“If it wasn’t for the us the Forestry Corporation would be continuing what can only be described as greater glider extinction logging. Greater gliders require hollow trees to survive. It takes around 80-120 years for trees to form hollows suitable for greater gliders.”

The Forestry Corporation issued a statement on August 31 2023 which is:

'The Environment Protection Authority has issued Forestry Corporation a Stop Work Order for forestry operations in Tallaganda State Forest.

Protecting Greater Glider habitat is crucial, and Forestry Corporation has spent many months preparing for these operations through intensive pre-harvest surveys to identify and map sensitive habitat and ecological features.

During the harvesting operation Forestry Corporation ensures the habitat for gliders such as hollow bearing trees and retention clumps are protected.

Forestry Corporation is fully complying with the Stop Work Order and its compliance team is on site investigating.

We are fully committed to investigating what has occurred and finding out what the circumstances are around the greater glider found dead in the forest.

Forestry Corporation monitors Greater Glider populations in Tallaganda State Forest and has completed over 40 kilometres of spotlight transects and identified almost 400 greater gliders across the whole forest.

The Greater Gliders are occupying the range of forest landscapes across Tallaganda - areas affected by the 2019-20 bushfires and the unburnt forest, plus areas of forest which are unharvested and areas which have previously been harvested for timber.'

Tree hollows are essential to greater glider survival, and can take up to 250 years to form. Yet their forest home is at risk of being further destroyed once the 40 days stop work order lapses.

Populations of the greater glider have declined by 80 per cent over the past 20 years due to logging, land clearing and bushfire. It was listed as endangered in 2022, having previously been declared vulnerable.


1. Campbelltown Council; What to do if you see a sick, injured or dead koala. Contact a wildlife care group immediately. From:
2. Camden Council; All injured animals should be reported to any of the following organisations: WIRES  | 8977 3333 – native species, birds, bats and reptiles, Sydney Metro Wildlife  |  9413 4300. From:
Worth noting at Camden Council: Wildlife signage to save our animals (17 months ago) - From:

Final report - Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan. Webpage with associated documents:
Cumberland Plain Shale Woodlands and Shale-Gravel Transition Forest - A guide to identifying and protecting the nationally threatened ecological community Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Policy Statement 3.31

Our position on Lendlease's development at Mount Gilead - Australian ethical statement, February 12, 2022