NSW government accused of reopening ‘koala wars’ with new forestry bill

The Guardian: 9 November 2022

Liberals criticised after proposing councils be stripped of approval powers for logging operations.

The Perrottet government has been accused of reopening the “koala wars” by proposing legislation that would strip New South Wales councils of their powers to regulate native forestry operations on private land.

The agriculture minister, Dugald Saunders, introduced a bill on Wednesday that critics said would water down the regulation of forestry in the state. Sitting independent MPs and candidate hopefuls alike jumped on the proposal, accusing the Liberal party of bowing to pressure from the Nationals, flagging they would campaign on the issue ahead of the March state poll.

A spokesperson for the independent campaign for Pittwater – where a candidate is yet to be finalised – said it appeared that the Liberals were being “held to ransom”.

This looks like another example of the Liberal party being held to ransom by the National party interests and why Independent Pittwater believes that being represented by an independent member of the community means we have more genuine representation,” the campaign spokesperson, Rebecca Clarke, said.

Pittwater is being vacated by the outgoing minister Rob Stokes. The families and communities minister, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, has put her name forward for preselection.

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