Timber Industry Wants Rees' 'Last Desperate Act' Reversed; Massive National Park Pledge for Murray River Area Will Cost Hundreds of Logging Jobs
PRESSURE is mounting on new NSW Premier Kristina Keneally to reverse Nathan Rees's last-minute decision to create a massive national park along the Murray River to protect threatened river red gum forests.
The timber industry, supported by the Opposition and elements within the Labor Party, want her to reverse Mr Rees's pledge, which they say will cost hundreds of logging jobs.
The decision - announced in State Parliament hours before Mr Rees was toppled as Premier by Ms Keneally on Thursday - is yet to be approved by the cabinet budget committee.
The row is spilling into the federal arena. The federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, pointedly endorsed Mr Rees's "magnificent" announcement.
Mr Garrett's department has been in dispute with Forests NSW over its logging practices in the region, which contains vulnerable species including the superb parrot.
"I welcome the NSW Government's announcement of a magnificent new red gum national park," Mr Garrett told the Herald. "These forests and wetlands are a refuge for threatened species and deserve proper protection.
"This announcement should also make it easier to resolve the problem of Forest NSW's compliance with Commonwealth environment law. I look forward to seeing the final report from the Natural Resources Commission and the Government's response."
The Natural Resources Commission is scheduled to present the State Government with its final report on the state of the forests on December 21. …