MEDIA RELEASE 13th March 2019: Sue Higginson, the Greens Candidate for Lismore and Greens MP and Environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann have released a $4 billion plan to protect and enhance our natural environment, following decades of mismanagement that have plundered our public native forests, rivers, native wildlife and remnant native vegetation. Here in our region koalas are on the brink of extinction, our river systems are sick and our native vegetation and soils need to be managed better.

Ms Higginson said, “Under our plan we will see an overhaul of our inadequate environmental protection laws and the introduction of a 1% Environmental Levy on statewide construction work worth more than $1 million. This will create an estimated $500 million a year to put back into the environment.”

The Plan includes:

  • $1.5 billion for a Land and Biodiversity Fund to protect our native vegetation.
  • $2 billion for an expansion of protected areas and to end public native forest logging
  • $300 million for cultural management of country under Aboriginal Ranger programs.
  • $200 million to tackle weeds, feral animals and other invasive species.

“The upcoming NSW State election is the turning point for the stewardship of our lands,” Ms Higginson said. “Land clearing in NSW has tripled under the Liberal/National Government. This is not good for our wildlife, water, agricultural productivity, regional economy and it’s certainly not helping us address the challenges we face under a changing climate. Here in our region we need to manage our environment for long term landscape health, resilience and production, not short term unsustainable profits.  

“It’s time to properly fund the management of our valuable reserve lands and assist landholders to manage their native vegetation, because it benefits us all.”

“Getting environmental management right here in the Northern Rivers and developing our clean green environmental brand will be the key boost to our local and regional economies. We boast one of the most beautiful and biodiverse regions in the Country. We could be the jewel in the crown of NSW if we get our environmental management right.

“It is time to end the unsustainable and costly logging of our public native forests. The evidence is that managing our public forest estate for water yields, carbon storage, recreation, tourism, education, culture and wildlife habitats will provide more important economic returns than the mere value timber from logging provides.

“This initiative is in addition to our announcement in January to fund the Githabul Rangers Forest Recovery Initiative and our Revive the Richmond River Plan, which pledged $200 million over 10 years. The objective of that Plan is to have a Richmond River Commissioner oversee river recovery for all its maritime, fishing, agricultural, cultural and recreational purposes.

Looking after and investing in the environment is necessary for our region’s industries, brand and our community’s health and well being, and it creates jobs.  

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