Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Richard Colbeck hopes the newly formed advisory council will be able to 'mitigate' the impact of National Parks.TYLA HARRINGTON March 14, 2014 4:33am
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Richard Colbeck believes local National Parks need to be better managed.
Mr Colbeck told the Pastoral Times on Wednesday he is hopeful a newly announced advisory council formed to support the timber industry will be able to ‘‘mitigate’’ the impact of National Parks.
He joined Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday last week in addressing about 600 Forest Products Association members in Canberra and used the local area as an example of ‘‘thinning trials not working’’.
At the Canberra dinner, Mr Abbott made a commitment to set up the advisory council, saying there were too many ‘‘locked up forests’’.
Mr Colbeck and Mr Abbott both met Mathoura man and timber worker Chris Crump on Tuesday, who highlighted the destruction of the industry in Mathoura, Deniliquin and Barham because of the National Parks conversion in 2010.
Mr Colbeck said the advisory council was being ‘‘finalised’’ and close to being established.
‘‘I’ve given him (Mr Abbott) some advice in regard to the advisory council,’’ he said.
‘‘I want to look at how we can have a strong focus on the industry in Australia looking into the future.
‘‘We’re pretty close to establishing the advisory council .
After visiting the local area six months before the conversion of state forests to National Parks in 2010, Mr Colbeck said he couldn’t understand why the forest would be converted from a ‘‘community asset to a community liability’’.
Mr Colbeck says loggers need to be able to access the forest, which he now refers to as a ‘‘fire trap’’.
Local timber industry workers believe forests should be ‘thinned out’ to prevent ‘over-strangulation’ of trees and to help prevent bushfires.
‘‘In that area of 400ha of Riverina red gum we are now spending more taxpayers’ money to have that area thinned,’’ Mr Colbeck said.
‘‘That’s costing $3750 a hectare. Had we placed a management plan over that region and allowed the industry to continue sensibly managing it and creating a community benefit, as they were before.
‘‘The timber that’s coming off through that ecological thinning would reap $5000 per hectare and a profit of $1250 a hectare which could have gone back into managing the rest of that area to maintain its environmental values.
‘‘And yet here we are restricting what we can do in that region and continuing to put taxpayer dollars in where we could be getting an environmental benefit, we could be getting a community benefit and we could be getting an industry benefit. But we’re doing none of that.’’
However, Mr Colbeck said the solution ‘‘is not just a matter of sending loggers back into the forest .
‘‘People can’t have a narrow perspective that we can’t go in there at all .
‘‘I saw that forest prior to being converted to National Parks and it really didn’t make sense to me (why they would change it).
‘‘Now, as I understand it .
Although Mr Colbeck said the current National Parks system is simply not working, he admitted that reversng a National Parks decision was ‘‘not a common occurrence’’.
Greater Shepparton businesses have signed up to a new website that helps mothers find breastfeeding-friendly locations.
The talent was truly amazing at this year’s Mulwala Water Ski Club’s Got Talent competition.
‘‘Time for reflection is rare in life and in business,’’ Tatura Milk Industries chairman Barry Irvin told suppliers when delivering his end-of-financial-year report.
Bendigo trainer Debbie Wills was elated on Monday when she scored her maiden career win at Echuca with seven-year-old gelding Favela Star.
Campaspe Shire rural access officer Andrew Thomson was in Rochester for last week’s pop-up session so residents could air their concerns.
If you thought it was cold yesterday morning, you weren’t wrong!
Mitchell Shire Council thinks outside the square - and harnesses the power of youth.
Despite being scheduled to play at home this Saturday, Finley footballers and netballers will instead make the trip to Blighty.
Entries are now being taken for the 2014 St Martin Heathcote Wine Show.
Politicians and environmental groups are split over the impacts of coal seam gas extraction, with a community info day planned.
A 15-goal win to CWS was one of the highlights of Deniliquin Netball Association's return round on Saturday.
Tackling salinity in the Goulburn-Broken basin was a key element of a presentation made to an international forum in the United States last month.
Fun run to raise money for Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood which took the life of 15-month-old Sylvie Watty last year.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.