“Despite this, NSW Forestry Corporation is continuing to log koala habitat right now under recently weakened environmental laws that have led to communities’ uprising up across the state,” the letter said. “Put simply, the logs that end up in Bunnings stores are killing koalas.”
The company, which sources native timber from Tasmania, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, said it would respond in due to course to the NCC’s letter.
Phil Bishop, director for merchandise, said Bunnings had “a zero-tolerance approach to illegally logged timber that dates back two decades and our commitment is to only source timber products from legal and well-managed forest operations”.
“All timber we purchase, including native stock in NSW, is subject to a robust responsible sourcing program which monitors the progress and certification outcomes of timber suppliers to confirm that all products are compliant,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Forestry Corporation of NSW rejected any comparison with Victoria’s case.
“NSW has a robust regulatory framework for native forest operations, the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs), which were developed with the input of expert scientific panels to protect and maintain wildlife habitat, forest flora, water quality and biodiversity across the landscape,” she said.
“Forestry Corporation is continually audited for compliance with the IFOAs and is also independently certified to the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management, Responsible Wood, which is affiliated with the world’s largest forest certification scheme, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification” she added.
Chris Gambian, the NCC’s chief executive, said his organisation would welcome the chance to discuss “the on-the-ground reality of logging in NSW” with Bunnings.
“We just want Bunnings to apply the same standards in NSW as they have in Victoria,” he said.
“Koalas are being driven to extinction in NSW,” Mr Gambian said. “That has to force a rethink of logging approvals and certification standards.”
Resources Minister and Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro declined to comment.
Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.