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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

MacDonald's forestry agreements must be urgently reviewed

David Shoebridge examines destructive logging in the Clarence region.

The Greens NSW are calling for the immediate review of 16 forestry wood supply agreements signed by former Labor Minister Ian MacDonald, that were known at the time to be based on grossly unsustainable yields from State forests, and that have since left NSW with degraded forests and growing legal liabilities.

Greens MP and Forestry Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"Between 2004 and 2007 former Primary Industries Minister Ian MacDonald was
responsible for signing at least 16 wood supply agreements that opened up
thousands of hectares of native forests to unsustainable logging.

"More than a dozen wood supply contracts, covering thousands of hectares of
State Forests, were signed by this former Minister and questions must be
answered about how they stack up, both environmentally and financially.

"The evidence of questionable dealings we have seen in ICAC over the past
weeks means there must be an immediate review of every wood supply contract
that bears Mr MacDonald's signature to protect both NSW Treasury and this
State's precious native forests.

"These agreements are still in place and provide for the ongoing
supply of thousands
of cubic metres of timber to mills across NSW with most of the contracts
continuing to run until 2020 and some as late as 2025.

"At the same time as the former minister was signing these
documents,Forestry NSW was in receipt of a scathing internal report
that made it
clear the government had no idea of the extent of the timber resource the
Minister was signing up for harvest.

"The 2004 internal government review found that a report by State Forests
highlighted deficiencies in just about every aspect of the process Forests
NSW used to estimate the merchantable volume of timber available for

"Wood Supply Contracts in NSW represent notoriously bad value, promising
amounts of wood that cannot be sustainably delivered, and with compensation
clauses that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"The Greens NSW are calling for all NSW forestry wood supply contracts that
have been signed by former Forestry Minister Ian MacDonald to be
immediately reviewed by both ICAC and the NSW government," Mr Shoebridge

Media Contact:David Shoebridge 0408 113 952

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