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Maydena Bike Park Threatened by Native Forest Logging

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Tags: Native Forest Logging

Ms O'CONNOR - Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise tonight to speak about a town transformed and a government and a forestry GBE that just refused to move with the times. The little town of Maydena, as members in this place will know, has a long history of being a forestry town but in recent years, Maydena has been utterly changed and for the better by the Maydena Bike Park, the work of Simon French and so many locals who have been part of that venture.

But there is a threat to the town of Maydena from a dinosaur GBE and a government that revels in and celebrates rampant destruction of our forest ecosystems, their habitats and the carbon that they store. The once forestry-dominated town of Maydena has now become a world-renowned mountain bike town. There are more than 100 trails through forest and rainforest. People come from all over the world to enjoy the Maydena Bike Park. Tens of thousands of people flock to Maydena to experience the incredibly unique Gravity Park.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to visit Maydena by some passionate locals - Andrew, [TBE] Maurice and Stu and Sue Booker. Sue is the proud mum of Tasmania's only male professional Enduro rider, Dan Booker. Sue told us how excited her very talented son is to compete in the upcoming Enduro World Series later this month. Like Sue, Dan thinks that Forestry Tasmania's plans to log right up to the road at the bike park are complete madness.

The Enduro World Series is set to be held in Maydena following the raging success of the Derby bike competition. It is a project that the owner and manager of the Maydena Bike Park, Simon French, has been pursuing for five years. He said it cost him several hundreds of thousands of dollars to prepare for the Enduro World Series. As we know, in January 2018 the then Hodgman Liberal Government, rightly, gave $800 000 the Maydena Bike Park to progress that project. But now the Maydena Bike Park is facing the same threat as the little town of Derby did last year - native forest logging.

I went into the forest with Andrew, Maurice, Stu and Sue (Spelling) and it is the most beautiful old forest with giant regnans in it. I went to a tree that is called It's All About the Base, which is clearly a giant tree. You could fit 10 people inside the base of that tree. I did not go in because I was a bit worried about spiders.

That forest is full of old trees and we have Forestry Tasmania (FT) putting out the spin that that forest was logged in the 1940s. But as we know, that was at a time when forestry was much different. It was not clear felling and burning. it was workers going into those forests respectfully and carefully selectively logging. You can tell from what a beautiful forest it is that it was not logged in the same way that FT logs forests now.

As Simon French told ABC radio in a story by Luke Bowden:

We shuttle tens of thousands of guests each year up this road to the top of the hill and the coupe number TN031B is directly behind us. Mr French says that the current proposal is to log right up to the side of the road here.

Mr French and everyone who works at the Maydena Bike Park would rather that Forestry Tasmania just racked off out of there but so far, no luck.

Mr French said:

It has been a lot of work over a long period of time, several hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment just to get the venue ready for the event we are having in a few weeks' time.

He believes that it is not just the tracks they have built but also the surrounding rainforest that has put the park at the top of the enthusiasts to-do list, hopefully, even more so after the Enduro event is seen by a worldwide audience expected to be in the millions.

Mr French says:

That forest is a huge part of why the customers come here.

At the moment you have this pristine rainforest drive that gets you to the top of the hill and that logging of the [audio cut out 6:04:43 to 6:04:51] coming from all over the world into Maydena in the next few weeks to take part in the Enduro Word Series.

There will certainly be many conversations between those visitors and locals in Maydena who are deeply upset by the vandalism that is being proposed by Forestry Tasmania. I do not think that this Government and, indeed, the Labor Party because they are the same on the logging of native forests have considered the brand damage that comes from allowing a dinosaur government business to clear fell and burn beautiful old forests, right up to the boundary of these world-class destinations for mountain bike riders.

The brand damage as people see what Forestry Tasmania wants to do and take those stories home is significant. Forestry Tasmania wanted to clear fell during the Enduro World Series but now appears to have put a stay on that so they are doing eroding work.

Mr French has been trying to work with Forestry Tasmania to get them to rack off out of there but Forestry Tasmania has said that the logging will continue after the Enduro World Series. It includes harvesting 21.4 hectares of forest, including the removal of 3000 tree ferns, Dicksonia Antarctica.

Adjoining the little town of Maydena is the local gem, the Junee Cave State Reserve, where Hartz Mineral Water get its water from. It is a beautiful blackwood forest filled with tree ferns, with a crystal-clear creek running through it. Again it is a place that Forestry Tasmania wants to log. This is an intact ecosystem, a place of great tranquillity and beauty and it is no place for a dinosaur GBE to trash.