Strickland, Wyong and Ourimbah State Forests targeted for sale

Trees JillibyTrees at Jilliby State Conservation Area. Image: State forests

Strickland State Forest at Somersby is among State Forests that the State Government has targeted for sale, says the Australian Workers Union (AWU), which has launched a campaign to highlight the issue.

Also on the chopping block are Wyong and Ourimbah State Forests, the union says. In August, Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged the possible sale of public assets. AWU Assistant Branch Secretary, NSW, Paul Noack, said the government was now doing its scoping exercise to see how the sales might proceed. “There are no positives in this, ’’ he said.

“There’s never been an incidence of privatisation resulting in more jobs. “State Forests bring in $100M a year to the State Government coffers, so we’re very productive. ” He said the industry directly and indirectly created up to 22,000 jobs and the AWU believed more money should be invested. “We would like to see fire trails upgraded, more pest control to protect our koalas and we should be planting more trees, ’’ he said.

Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said the government was “assessing options” for the future of the Forestry Corporation’s softwood operations. “No decision will be made before the outcomes of this process are known, and the interests of all relevant stakeholders are carefully considered, ” Crouch said. Meanwhile the AWU campaign, Keep Our Forests in Public Hands, has a website tool to make it easy for people to email their local MP.

The union, whose members work in state forests across NSW, will organise town hall meetings across regions to keep communities informed on possible sales.

Source: Media release, Oct 21 AWU Interview, Oct 23 AWU NSW Assistant Branch secretary, Paul Noack Media statement, Oct 29 Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch Reporters: Merilyn Vale and Terry Collins