Rural landholders engaged in private native forestry, or even grazing under trees, are worried that new planning laws designed to protect koalas will send their farming enterprise extinct.
At Casino on Thursday night, the Richmond River Beef Producers Association were to address landholders concerned about the new Koala State Environmental Planning Policy, which as of March 1, has replaced the old SEPP 44.That meeting has been postponed due to virus fears.
The group of cluster ministers who signed off on the SEPP include Nationals John Barilaro, Melinda Pavey and Adam Marshall along with Liberals Matt Kean, Rob Stokes and Shelly Hancock.
The definition of core koala habitat has been updated to make it easier for areas to be identified. It removes the need for koalas to be actually present and expands the number of koala feed tree species from 10 to 123, many of which koalas don't eat.
Maps that predict whether any of the feed tree species might be present on a farmer's land will be used by local councils to develop plans of management.
However, Timber NSW vice president Steve Dobbyns says the maps are highly inaccurate, showing jacaranda trees across Grafton, individual paddock trees and avocado plantations as likely koala habitat.
Private native forestry agreements signed off before 2017 under the old Native Vegetation Act will initially be unaffected by the new SEPP until they require renewal.
Agreements signed off after 2017 under the Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Service Act will no longer be valid.
For farmers, the act of thinning stands of trees, clearing a fence line or removing regrowth will either be banned or require council approval.