John Barilaro’s decision to ignore EPA advice and insist Forestry Corp continue logging is a “prime example” of the NSW Government’s prioritisation of money over the environment, NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party, Mark Pearson has said.
“The Deputy Premier needs to read the room and really listen to what his constituents and the experts are saying: save our forests and save our animals,” Mr Pearson said.
“The EPA’s only interest is the environment – they have no other agenda – so their expert advice on environmental concerns should be treated as gospel, not side-stepped by a government more concerned with the possibility of making a dollar.”
To go against the EPA’s recommendations is “scandalous” and representative of the moral compass of the NSW Government, he added.
Mr Pearson also pointed out Deputy Premier Barilaro pushed for logging to continue and contracts to be fulfilled despite the fact Forestry Corp runs at a loss.
“His motives don’t even make economic sense,” Mr Pearson said.
“Forestry Corp is running on losses as it is, so to push them to keep logging during the aftermath of last summer’s horrific bushfires is financially senseless and ethically reprehensible.”
Mr Pearson has called for an immediate cessation of logging of koala habitat in NSW.
“We urgently need a state-wide moratorium on logging in all state and private forests where there is known koala habitat,” he said.
“The focus should now be on creating and protecting more national and state parks and the vital corridors that connect them.”
Earlier this year, Mr Pearson sat as Deputy Chair of a parliamentary inquiry into koala populations and habitat in NSW.
The inquiry found koalas could be extinct in NSW before 2050.
The inquiry tabled 42 recommendations including creating new national parks and ruling out logging of trees in old growth forests.