Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Logger calls for government intervention

Mathoura business owner and logger Chris Crump is calling on the state government to return local loggers to the forest.

TYLA HARRINGTON February 25, 2014 8:45am

Mathoura business owner and logger Chris Crump is pleading with the NSW Government to save his town.

He says the state government has the power to return local loggers to the forest, which he says will revive the town’s struggling economy before it is too late.

Mr Crump’s plea comes on the back of more business closures in the small Cobb Hwy community, which last week lost its supermarket and bakery.

The two businesses were managed by the same owners, Stuart and Pauline Toy, who also closed their bed and breakfast.

Mr Crump, who was a fierce opponent of the former NSW Government’s decision to convert local state forests to national parks in 2010 and effectively end the local timber industry, said these latest business casualties should grab the state government’s attention.

‘‘The conversion (to national parks) has significantly impacted Mathoura, as well as Deniliquin,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to get it (commercial logging) back to what it was so we can create business for the town.

‘‘We need to have some sort of education program that teaches politicians who don’t understand what it (logging) meant to Mathoura.’’

Mr Crump said the Natural Resources Commission’s promise that tourists would flock to Mathoura once local forests were changed to national parks had not eventuated and ‘‘never will’’.

In fact, official figures from the 2012-13 financial year have shown a drop of almost 4000 in annual visitors to Mathoura since 2009/10.

‘‘They (NRC and state government) promised us tourists ... it’s all been documented, so where are they?’’ Mr Crump asked.

‘‘Before the national parks were declared, Dianna Gibbs, an economist, did a survey of the timber industry and found that to replace it with tourism we would need almost two million visitors a year ... the NRC and the government ignored her.’’

Member for Murray-Darling John Williams agreed Mathoura had been worse off since the conversion to national parks and said he would be lobbying the government to look at the situation.

However, the local member stopped short of promising any progress on returning logging to local forests.

‘‘It would be extremely difficult (to get national parks returned to state forests),’’ he said.

‘‘City people believe these national parks are a good thing but they have never been out there and seen them.

‘‘The vast majority of NSW were for the conversion and do not understand.

‘‘From my point of view the conversion should have never happened,’’ he said.

‘‘The businesses closing in Mathoura is certainly a concern of mine that I will make the minister aware of.’’

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