Australia: NSW Government urged to let North Coast blueberry growers clear more land
October 6, 2014

North coast blueberry growers say the industry's potential is being stymied be excessive controls on clearing native vegetation.blueberry_32490223-panorama

Blueberries have largely replaced bananas in areas around Coffs Harbour, and producers say they need to clear more land to expand.

Woolgoolga based blueberry grower, Robert Grewal, said the NSW Government needs to fast-track reforms to native vegetation laws.

He said the land growers would like to clear, has previously been cleared before and is not environmentally significant.

"What's left in the parts that have been cleared and logged," he said.

"It's only scrub and rubbish and habitat trees or whatever you like to call them.

"A fancy name for a bloody big hollow log that sits there and causes fire damage in a fire situation, because they're hollow inside.

"There's not much left in that country, I don't think it'd make much difference if we were to clear it."

Lands Minister Kevin Humphries has indicated he is considering a bill from the Shooters and Fishers Party, to reduce native vegetation protection.

Mr Grewal said there could be a big expansion of the industry along the North Coast if more land could be cleared.

He said regulation is important but not at the current level.

"There needs to be things in place to protect sensitive areas," he said.

"Old growth, obviously we don't want to go there.

"But a lot of the land around here has been logged in the past, and there's not a lot of decent timber on there anyway."