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NPAACT Home > News Items > Murray 'will be damaged' by logging

Murray 'will be damaged' by logging


Daniel Lewis SMH
April 20, 2007

WITH the Murray-Darling Basin in crisis, environmentalists have condemned a railway line upgrade that will see 300,000 sleepers cut from stressed river red gums growing on parched floodplains.

The executive officer of the National Parks Association of NSW, Andrew Cox, said it was hard to believe such logging could be allowed when 75 per cent of Murray River red gums were dead or dying in some areas because of the drought and over-allocation of water to irrigators.

The red gum forests relied on floodwaters for growth and regeneration, but some areas had not been flooded for 10 years.

Mr Cox said the $10 billion federal plan to rescue the Murray-Darling river system would be wasted unless governments stopped logging, because the forests of the Murray were vital to the river's health.

The Victorian Government has put out a tender for the sleepers to upgrade its line to Mildura, but most of the timber is likely to come from public and private land in NSW.

Russ Ainley, the executive director of the NSW Forest Products Association, said red gum mills in NSW could easily supply the Victorian tender in a sustainable manner.

He added that timber sleepers were renewable and far more environmentally friendly than concrete sleepers.

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Government said timber sleepers were chosen as they were cheaper. She said NSW forestry authorities were consulted.


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