Come and see
An open invite has been issued for politicians and decision makers from all sides of government to visit and see firsthand how active management through commercial harvesting can benefit the Murray Valley National Park.
The offer comes from Gulpa Sawmill owner and Nationals Red Gum branch chair Ben Danckert on the back of NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans officially introducing his red gum bill in NSW Parliament last week.
The bills calls for both the Murray Valley National Park and Murray Valley Regional Park gazettals in 2010 to be revoked, and the forests to be placed in the hands of Crown Lands.
Mr Evans says it is the best way to have commercial timber harvesting activities re- turn to the forests, which he says would support the regional economy without jeopardising the environmental importance of the area.
Mr Evans officially tabled the bill in Parliament Thursday last week, and will be given the opportunity to speak to the motion at the second reading next month.
He said the notice of motion has already ‘‘triggered a lot of discussion’’, some of which Mr Danckert says highlights a lot of misunderstanding.
Shadow Minister for Environment Penny Sharpe issued a press release that, aside from attacking the politics, champions the view that ‘‘National parks are a magnificent environmental asset visited by millions of nature lovers every year’’ and resorts to scare tactics in saying if passed that ‘‘no national park is safe’’.
‘‘We’ve had a typical response from an uninformed Labor member who needs to come and see the evidence that the national parks ruling has had no environmental outcomes for this area,’’ Mr Danckert said.
‘‘All the evidence we’ve seen in the past eight years since the ruling was handed down is that the forest is not ancient like the decision makers thought, but man made.
‘‘We would welcome any evidence that proves us wrong, but it’s not there.
‘‘The Murray Valley National Park needs to be actively managed, even the original Natural Resource Commission reports tell us that.
‘‘We would welcome anyone who would like to come and see for themselves.’’
Mr Evans also challenged the original platitudes offered to the local community and affected timber industry that the National Parks would replace the multi-million dollar timber industry with tourism dollars, asking ‘‘where are they?’’.
‘‘I am very proud to introduce this bill to parliament as it is a vital step closer to rebuilding our local red gum industry, which plays such an important part in our regional economy and community,’’ Mr Evans said.
‘‘I have spoken to many people in our electorate who are hurting from the existing laws and limits on sustainable timber harvesting due to the declaration of the Murray Valley National Park.’’
Mr Evans said he will continue to lobby for support for his bill.