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Deniliquin Council backs timber worker return

Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick says there is 'room for everyone' in local forests.

July 29, 2014 3:12am

Deniliquin Council has welcomed support for re-opening local forests to timber workers.

Mayor Lindsay Renwick has been involved in discussions with NSW Forest Industries Taskforce chairman Rick Colless, who believes there are opportunities in local forests which should be explored.

Cr Renwick is a member of the Riverina Community and Home Heating Taskforce which has lobbied to make more firewood from the forests available for domestic use, and has now been appointed to a new taskforce of industry stakeholders, which was formed at a meeting with Mr Colless less than a fortnight ago.

‘‘There is room for everyone in our forests,’’ Cr Renwick said.

‘‘They are big enough to support environmental needs, as well as a sustainable forestry industry.

‘‘Deniliquin Council was disappointed with the manner in which forests were closed down in 2010, which appeared more a political decision than a common sense result from scientific analysis.

‘‘We’re now seeing the pendulum move back in favour of more diverse use of our forests, which is supported by council,’’ he said.

Cr Renwick said he was encouraged by comments from Mr Colless that he did not want to see forests simply ‘‘locked up’’ and he believed they could be re-opened to timber workers ‘‘in some capacity’’.

He has also said he would like to see a viable Riverina timber industry.

‘‘Deniliquin needs adequate access to firewood for domestic use, particularly in light of the limited access available to other heating methods such as natural gas.

‘‘And our forests need to be maintained. We don’t want severe bushfires because they have become overgrown, which is an area where commercial thinning can assist.’’

Cr Renwick said the new group would seek membership of the NSW Forest Industries Taskforce.

He welcomed the appointment of passionate timber industry member Chris Crump as its spokesman, and Joan Douglas as its secretary.

Deniliquin Council has committed to providing administrative support and hopes to work with the forestry group to achieve its aims of revitalising the region’s timber industry.

‘‘This was an industry working in an effective and sustainable manner to provide a valuable local service, as well as employment opportunities,’’ Cr Renwick said.

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