South coast conservation groups under the banner of the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) have called on the new owners of the Eden Chipmill to immediately abandon natural forest logging and woodchipping in the south east.
A long standing campaigner against the woodchipping industry, Ms Harriett Swift the Convenor of the Chipstop campaign has warned the new owners, Allied Natural Wood Exports (ANWE), against adopting a “business as usual” approach.
“Continued industrial logging of natural forests will mean ongoing controversy and conflict for the industry. It will diminish the reputation of the new company and will not help it in the market place. I know there is no serious impediment in the Eden Chipmill Wood Supply Agreement to ending native forest logging. ”
Ms Prue Acton the Convenor of SERCA said “ We are seeking an urgent meeting with the new owner to see if they are really going to turn over a new leaf or hide behind the fig leave of existing contracts with Forestry Corporation. These contracts are wrecking the natural forests and have the Koala nearly extinct along the whole 400 kilometres of the South Coast, from the Great Escarpment to the shoreline.”
Noel Plumb of the ChipBusters campaign group said that the sale of the chipmill gave everybody a chance to stop the irresponsible destruction of forests and wildlife along the coast, “a chance for a new start.”
“One thing is certain, if the new owners and the Government continue business as usual there will be a return to widespread civil disobedience. We are not going to accept the extinction of Koalas and other iconic species like the Greater Glider, The Yellow Bellied Glider, the Swift Parrot and the Spotted Quoll as well as yet more massive carbon losses from these forests into the atmosphere,” he said.
“The new owners have already sent conflicting signals that they intend to focus on plantation sourced wood and more value adding but continue the use of natural forests. This includes possible woodchipping and pellitising for electricity production, the appalling ‘dead koala power’ being pushed by the self- interested biomass and logging industries as Clean Energy.”
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