The Clarence Valley Council has voted 7-1 to reject a motion to band native forestry in the New South Wales North-East.
More than 200 supporters were at the Clarence Valley Council Maclean Chambers, with attendees telling the Wood Central publisher that chamber seating is “oversubscribed.”
They include Donna Layton and Kristy Hackett from Marshall Notaras Hardwoods, who last week helped organise a forest field trip for councillors.
According to Maree McCaskill, CEO of Timber NSW, the vote was an “overwhelming support for the industry.”
Wood Central can reveal that the single councillors who supported the motion was former Deputy Mayor Councilor Greg Clancey, a member of the Clarence Catchment Alliance.
In June, council members attempted to bring a motion to support a ban on native forestry after a block of local governments passed a motion at the NSW Local Government Association conference last year.
The council’s Biodiversity Advisory Committee raised concerns with former Mayor Ian Tiley, acknowledging that “preservation of native forests has a strong ecological footprint.”
That led Councillor Debrah Novak to move a resolution to delay the council debate until today, October 24, “acknowledging that a decision required consultation with the community.”
More than 3,400 submissions were received, with the vast majority of submissions supporting the continuation of the industry and voting down the motion.
Nonetheless, Wood Central can report that almost 1,100 submissions were discounted or removed due to being a “duplication or template”, with 2,350 out of 2,464 submissions considered pushing for the council to vote down the motion.
Wood Central can reveal that the vote was decided by 5 pm (AEDT) and followed an extensive public consultation period at 11 a.m. (AEDT) this morning.
Earlier this afternoon, Wood Central was advised that a new motion put up by Councillor Debrah Novak was pushing for a joint workshop Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers, the Clarence Valley timber industry and the Clarence River Environmental Centre.
However, this motion was rejected in the chamber, with the vote effectively ending the debate over the future of native forestry in the Clarence Valley Council Region – which covers the whole Northern Rivers region.
The future of the industry, according to the sitting councillors will now be decided by the NSW State Government.
Earlier this month, Councillor Peter Johnstone and Councillor Jeff Smith were elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor after both candidates secured their positions by a single vote.
In a surprise move, former Mayor Ian Tiley and his Deputy Mayor Greg Clancy did not nominate for election at the September 26 council meeting.
“The new mayor is a supporter of native forestry, whilst the predecessor was not,” according Ms McCaskill.
- Wood Central will provide live and updated coverage as the vote is announced.