Mehreen Faruqi, Greens MP, visited the Coffs Coast on November 25 to speak at a White Ribbon Event. Mehreen Faruqi's responsibilities as a Greens NSW spokesperson include The Environment and Status of Women. She also took the opportunity to discuss various local issues with residents at a meeting in Bellingen.
Dr Faruqi said:
‘The controversial harvesting practices of the NSW Forestry Corporation are certainly a local issue. Nearby forest neighbours are exposed to smoke pollution from the practice of burning off forest remnants after clear-felling practices. The toxic effects of smoke pollution are well known. The affected residences were present long before the so called ‘plantations’ were established.
‘The Bellingen Valley is surrounded by state forests, vital carbon sink reserves and a wonderful if underutilised recreation resource for the community. Current moves to harvest timber for the creation of wood pellets designed for export are a huge concern. Few jobs will result, the soils will suffer and other climate emergency carbon reduction measures will be negated. Constantly logged forests are drier forests and as average temperatures increase the last thing we need surrounding towns like Woolgoolga, Bowraville, Macksville and Bellingen are forests with reduced water storage capacity and ready to ignite.
‘I note that Bellingen Shire Council has carried a motion to require development consent for the establishment of blueberry farms in some zones unless the farms comply with certain criteria designed to protect water courses, and therefore residents, from chemical pollution. I applaud the council’s decision and regret that other Coffs Coast Councils haven’t implemented similar sensible precautions, especially after we have seen some recent evidence of poor chemical management practice on local blueberry farms.
30 November 2017