NSW govt logging bill 'crazy politics': MP

The NSW government's proposed doubling of the permitted time for private native forestry operations risks reviving a fierce debate over koala habitat, as an election approaches.

Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders introduced a bill to amend environmental planning and assessment laws to parliament on Wednesday, with the goal of taking local councils out of the process and extending private logging approvals to 30 years.

The current 15-year maximum "creates the perverse outcome of landholders harvesting before forests reach ecological and commercial maturity," Mr Saunders said.

Independent upper house MP Justin Field says the bill reduces regulation on about 689,300 hectares of forestry, concentrated in northern NSW, and undermines claims by moderate Liberals the government is taking the protection of koalas seriously.

"It's crazy for Premier (Dominic) Perrottet and the so-called moderate Liberals to capitulate again to the Nationals on koala protections so close to an election," he said.

"Putting aside that it is terrible policy and further undermines koala protections, it's crazy politics," he said.

The independent is not contesting the next election, but he has been offering support and advice to groups looking to back candidates in blue-ribbon Liberal seats in the hope of repeating the success of the well-funded "teal independents" at the federal election.

"This decision will gift teal independents a perfect example of the Nationals disproportionate power over environmental issues within the coalition," Mr Field said.

Koala habitat is a sensitive issue that almost blew up the NSW coalition in 2020 when then deputy premier John Barilaro threatened to move the Nationals to the crossbench.

Mr Saunders says koalas will have strengthened protections under the bill, with a requirement to retain 20 koala feed trees per hectare, he said.

"Visual assessments for the presence of koalas prior to harvest operations" will also help protect the iconic native marsupial.

The government has "dual objectives of robust protections for koalas in high-value koala habitat and certainty and consistency for primary producers" and the bill meets those, Mr Saunders said.

The bill also seeks to remove duplicate approval processes between state and local governments, as recommended by a recent forestry inquiry.