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Date:

18 November 2010

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News

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Australia

Illegal logging claims slammed

The Northern Rivers’ forestry industry is being unfairly slandered by spurious claims of ‘illegal’ logging, an industry leader has said.

NSW Forests Products Association chairman and the head of Hurford Hardwood, Andrew Hurford, has hit back at claims by the North East Forest Alliance that Forests NSW is breaching rules governing timber harvesting in State forests.

Mr Hurford accused the alliance of being ‘mischievous in the extreme’ by making allegations of illegal logging, saying forest industries in NSW operated under the supervision of the State Government.

The comments come after a group from the alliance, led by respected environmentalist Dailan Pugh, walked through a logging operation at Doubleduke State Forest, near Tabbimoble, to inspect what they believed was a section of old-growth forest last week.

Mr Pugh told The Northern Star the group had told Forests NSW the previous week they intended to inspect the section of forest, but that they were challenged several times while entering the forest and walking through the logging area by contractors and forestry workers who said they were not allowed to be there.

Mr Pugh said the group told the contractors and forestry workers they had a right to be there, what they were doing and where they were going and continued through without trying to obstruct the operation.

However, Hurford Hardwood community liaison Kate Melzer said the group’s presence in a logging area presented a serious and disruptive occupational health and safety risk.

“Forestry operations are dangerous and the people in those operations have had training to ensure it’s safe to be there,” she said.

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Assessing illegal logging

Chatham House is assessing the scale and effectiveness of the response to illegal logging and the related trade around the world. Full details of this work, including analysis and data, will be available online soon.