The Greens are calling for an immediate closure of Eden Woodchip Mill and a halt to native forest logging following the recent announcement by South East Fibre Exports that it will not renew its contract with VicForests.
Woodchipping in NSW has been responsible for the clear-felling of native forests to produce only minimal profits despite public subsidies, and has caused serious damage to forests and native wildlife habitats.
The Greens are calling on the local MPs, Andrew Constance the state MP for Bega and Peter Hendy the federal MP for Eden-Monaro, to work with industry to wind up this chipmill.
Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for Forestry David Shoebridge said: “Wood chipping native forests is an idea whose time has passed. It has been one of NSW’s most damaging industries, responsible for the clear-felling of native forests, while producing losses for both the company and the state government owned Forestry Corporation despite public subsidies.
“The announcement by South East Fibre Exports proves what many in the community and the Greens have long been saying, that the company is running at a continual loss and is neither financially or environmentally viable.
“The woodchipping industry needs to now go the way that the whaling industry did in the 1930s and 50s, and recognise that their operations are financially and ecologically unsustainable.
“The NSW Government needs to transition workers towards a future where jobs and forests are managed sustainably for the good of the community and the environment” Mr Shoebridge said.
Greens federal forest spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said: “Native forest woodchipping is on the verge of closing down thanks to a range of groups that have run a range of innovative campaigns for more than 25 years to save the unique environment on the far southeast coast of NSW.
“I warmly congratulate Chipstop, South East Forest Rescue, South East Regional Conservation Alliance, Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), Environment East Gippsland and the many supporters in Japan for their years of dedicated work to stop native forest woodchipping.
“The numerous occupations of the Eden chipmill, the hundreds of people arrested, and the colourful actions against conservative politicians have kept the pressure on state and federal governments.
“With speculation mounting that closure is imminent the local MPs, Andrew Constance the state MP for Bega and Peter Hendy the federal MP for Eden-Monaro, should be working together with industry to wind up this chipmill.
“The community and workers deserve certainty about their future. It is time the southeast forests were no longer woodchipped so the habitat of the koalas, powerful owls and so many other unique species was no longer under threat,” Senator Rhiannon said.
David Shoebridge: 9230 3030 or 0408 113 952
Lee Rhiannon: 0487 350 880