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Greater gliders and the EPA force stand downs of 15 NSW operations

Forestry Corporation NSW has stood down 15 operations – 11 operations in the north of the state and four in the south, following a NSW Environment Protection Authority order which requires a 25-metre logging exclusion zone around any tree in which a Greater Glider is spotted. Source: Timberbiz

Changes have also been made to how nocturnal search and surveys must be conducted, including that a first transect must be undertaken within 30 minutes of sunset to increase the likelihood of seeing gliders leaving their dens.

Australian Forest Contractors Association general manager Tim Lester said that for several weeks Forestry Corporation NSW and the NSW EPA had been discussing the interpretation of the search and survey requirements relating to protections for Greater Gliders.

“Last week environmental activists issued a notice of intent to Forestry Corp and likely the EPA – that further court actions would be launched to seek additional injunctions to prevent harvesting activity,” he said.

Amendment of the biodiversity conditions could not occur while a court action was underway, leading to the developments at the weekend.

Mr Lester said that as the amendments apply immediately, FC NSW moved to stand down crews while a review can be undertaken of the updated requirements.

He said it was not clear how long the stand down is likely to last, with expectations ranging from several days to a number of weeks.

FC NSW has advised that usual stand down arrangements and payments will apply for those harvesting contracting businesses that have affected.

There are currently no stand down arrangements in place for haulage. FC NSW will negotiate with individual businesses to determine what financial support will apply.

“We understand there is community concern for the conservation of threatened species and forests, and we remain committed to fulfilling our statutory obligation to protect the environment and independently regulate all licensed industries, including native forest operations,” the EPA said.

“We will continue to regulate FCNSW activities to ensure the rules are complied with and will regularly review these settings to ensure that they are operating as intended.”

The AFCA wants information about the impacts on businesses and individuals to support its bid to the NSW Government to stop these rolling series of changes.

Those affected by the EPA’s orders can complete an online survey for the AFCA here.