Forests NSW corporatisation will put our environment at risk

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The O'Farrell Government's plan to corporatise Forests NSW will put our environment at risk and is designed to absolve the government of its responsibility to protect native plants and animals, the NSW Labor Opposition said today.

"The corporatisation of Forests NSW will put our environment further at risk," Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said today.

"A State Owned Corporation, at arm's length from government, with an independent board, will be far less accountable than Forests NSW is today.

“The Land and Environment Court has recently issued a judgement critical of Forests NSW for multiple and ‘reckless’ breaches of environmental laws.

"Corporatising Forests NSW will remove it from ministerial oversight and only increase the likelihood of non compliance with critical environmental laws.

"I call on the O'Farrell Government to explain how they will enforce environmental regulations when they are cutting Forests NSW adrift as a State Owned Corporation?

"This move only strengthens the argument to back my Private Members Bill amending the National Parks and Wildlife Act to increase maximum penalties to $220,000, or two years imprisonment, or both for environmental offences committed in the course of carrying out forestry operations.

"The Environment Minister already thinks 'logging protects koalas', now the Primary Industries Minister is cutting Forests NSW loose with no regard for the protection of our native plants and animals.

"Forests NSW should be subject to more ministerial direction, not less."