National protections for wildlife must be increased so that the carnage currently happening in South Australia will stop and will never again be possible
The situation in South Australia is very different to other states. Australia’s governments define a ‘forest” as an area where trees grow more than two metres tall and shade more than 20% of the ground. By this definition SA would have more than ten million hectares of native forests but they are not trees suitable for sawlogs. They are short mallee vegetation,(Eucalyptus spp), sheoak (Allocasuarina spp) and acacia (wattle) species found in the lower rainfall areas. There are not the wet sclerophyll forests or rainforests like other states.
As of 2010, South Australia had 188,000 hectares of plantation forests, of which 59,710 hectares were hardwood, mostly Tasmanian blue gums (Eucalyptus globulus) and smaller areas planted with Red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulenis), Sugar gum (E. cladocalyx), Flooded gum (E. grandis), Swamp Yate (E. occidentalis), Sydney blue gum (E. saligna), Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata), Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and Cypress (Cupressus spp). Australian wildlife species occupy these plantations.
In October 2012 the SA government sold the harvesting rights for much of the plantation timber in SA to a US company The Campbell Group trading in Australia as Forty One Plantations. Tragically, plantations of South East South Australia are now being ripped out as ‘uneconomic’ and koalas which took refuge in them are being slaughtered. An ABC report outlined what is happening:
AND THIS IS THE ISSUE: In the Australian constitution forestry is a matter for the states which go now for ‘self regulation’ by industry or privatised state forest agencies. A Liberal or Coalition federal win would surrender our chance to prevent these atrocities. The Business Council of Australia, backed by international interests, is lobbying the Federal government to give environmental control fully to the states. Labor has so far resisted. The Liberal/Nationals and Coalition allies (Shooters/Fishers) WILL do the bidding of industry and dismantle national environmental legislation, making it weaker than it already is.