The NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker's comments that there can be a 'balance' between native forest logging in South East NSW and saving koalas misses the point of protecting biodiversity and highlights concerns over the newly awarded Biodiversity Fund project to protect koala habitat in the NSW South East forests, says Greens Senator for NSW and forests spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.
"Protecting local koala population can only be achieved by a complete end to logging in the South East forests - a dying industry doggedly propped up by the NSW Coalition and former Labor governments," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Public money is now being spent on a misguided biodiversity project which includes a proposal to support initiatives to locate alternative timber resources in exchange for creating tiny logging exclusion zones in state forests.
"The Australian Greens have raised the issue of the $1.9 million biodiversity project with Minister Burke, following concern expressed by local forest campaigners.
"It is worrying that NSW and federal funds are being forked out to prop up a sunset industry.
"Recent figures obtained by NSW Greens MP and forests spokesperson David Shoebridge shows Forests NSW made a loss of more than $750,000 last year from operations in NSW's Southern Region native forests.
"To say you can save koalas by creating limited exclusion zones while continuing to log around them is like saying you can lose weight while feasting on cream cakes. It's just not possible.
"Preserving the Sapphire Coast's precious forests for all time is the key to protecting biodiversity and the tourism industry," Senator Rhiannon said.