Tasmania: Forest Plan won’t end old-growth logging
Forest Plan won’t end old-growth logging conflict in Tasmania
While welcoming protection for important forests in the Tarkine and Styx valleys, the Tasmanian/Commonwealth Government package is a missed opportunity to protect old growth forests and end the ongoing conflict over Tasmania’s woodchipping industry, said environmental groups today.
This plan fails to stop old-growth logging in Tasmania. Instead many magnificent old growth forests will be sacrificed to the woodchipping industry.
“While the Tarkine has received impressive protection, consistent with its world heritage status, and the Styx will be partially protected, forests in the North East highlands, Blue Tier and Western Tiers remain open to logging. For some key areas like Ben Lomond, new protection is virtually non existent” said Sean Cadman, National Forest Coordinator, The Wilderness Society (see attached assessment map).
Last year ACF, TWS, Greenpeace and other groups put to all parties a $250 million plan Protecting Forests Growing Jobs, backed by an independent economist, to protect all old growth and high conservation value forests, end landclearing and grow jobs through a modernised forest industry.
“We welcome the scale of the financial package matching that suggested in Protecting Forests Growing Jobs and that the Prime Minister has increased his contribution, but the agenda is still dominated by the woodchipping industry and plans for a potentially polluting pulp mill,” said John Connor, Campaign Director, Australian Conservation Foundation.
“Overall the package fails to address the need for a full restructuring of the industry to end old growth logging, or to properly support tourism jobs. There also appears to be a backing away from commitments to end the use of 1080 poison.”
“Both Governments need to move quickly to cement the positive aspects of this announcement and nominate the Tarkine for World Heritage Listing” said Helen Oakey, Political Adviser, Greenpeace Australia Pacific. “Environment groups will continue to keep pressure on both governments to ensure the detail of the policy is implemented and that all old growth and high conservation forests of Tasmania are protected”.
“It is important to recognize the plan is tackling broad acre land clearing for plantation establishment, one of the most intractable problems in Tasmania. While this is a good start, it is crucial both governments ensure implementation. It is still a major concern that 70,000 ha of future clearing will be permitted by the policy,” said Mr Cadman.
“The most significant obstacle to further progress is the insistence of the Tasmanian Government and woodchipping industry on a native forest chlorine based bleaching pulp mill in the Tamar Valley,” concluded Mr Cadman.