New South Wales Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser
Coffs Harbour City Council’s Draft Tourism Plan Needs Urgent Review
Victor P Taffa
Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, today called on Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) to alter its Draft Tourism Plan to remove any reference to the development of a Great Koala National Park (GKNP).
“A GKNP was a policy put forward by the National Parks Association and adopted by the New South Wales (NSW) Labor Party in order to stop forestry operations on the north coast.” Mr. Fraser said.
Mr. Fraser said koalas have lived happily in state forest areas for over 100 years and in fact prefer state forests over national parks because of a lack of undergrowth on the forest floor and a supply of younger trees as a food source in state forests.
“In fact koalas thrived so well in the Pine Creek state forest that the Labor Government turned it into a national park neutralising a renewable forest resource which had been available to the public and the Forest Corporation of NSW for over 100 years.”
“The proposed GKNP in nothing more than a warm and fuzzy policy designed to attract Green votes without providing any factual basis. The biggest threat to koalas is urbanisation, cars and diseases such as chlamydia.”
“The GKNP from Kempsey to Grafton would turn 170,000 ha of productive state forests into a national park and it would effectively put 400 people employed by State Forests and their associated industries out of work.” Mr. Fraser said.
“For CHCC to include this in their Draft Tourism Plan ignores the huge number of recreational opportunities now being utilised in our state forests.”
“The Easter weekend saw hundreds of 4-wheel driver enthusiasts converge on Coffs Harbour to utilise this opportunity in State Forests.” Mr. Fraser said.
“State Forests are also utilised for local and international rally events fossicking, endurance horse riding, horse trail riding, motorcycle trail riding, mountain biking, bush walking and also have wonderful picnic areas. All of these recreational facilities would be lost if the GKNP was created.”
“State Forests have invested over $600,000 in Sealy Lookout, which is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the area, utilised by locals and tourists alike and has, in fact, won numerous tourist awards.” Mr. Fraser said.
“State Forests intends to invest over $650,000 in tourist and recreation facilities in the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen local government areas in the next 12 months. The adoption of this inane plan would see the loss of the World Rally Championships in Coffs Harbour which brings in an excess of $13 Million to our local economy.”
“I’m at a loss to understand how CHCC can put out a Draft Tourism Plan without taking into consideration the phenomenal tourist benefits that are afforded to our local community by State Forests. It is imperative that CHCC removes this intention from the Draft Tourism Plan.” Mr. Fraser said.