A report released today by environment groups reveals that since Forestry Tasmania was paid $12.5 million to stop logging in the 572,000 hectares of forests being assessed for protection, the agency has shown no letup in the rate of logging inside these forests.
“The numbers show Forestry Tasmania has actually increased logging rates in the areas meant to be protected under the Forests Agreement,” said Phill Pullinger of Environment Tasmania.
“Clearly this agency is pursuing a strategy to divide timber workers and environmentalists so it can derail this generational opportunity to fix an industry crisis and protect our forests”.”
“In September last year Forestry Tasmania received a taxpayer payout of $12.65 million on condition that it ceases logging in high conservation value forests. Instead, it has increased the rate of logging in these forests,” said Vica Bayley of the Wilderness Society.
“Scheduling logging in contentious, pristine forests such as the Weld Valley and Butler’s Gorge looks like a deliberate attempt to stoke conflict with the community and shows the agency continues to treat the Tasmanian public and government with contempt,” Mr Bayley said.
“The recent URS review into Forestry Tasmania unambiguously stated that the agency is unable to fulfil its obligations under current law and is unable to operate as a successful business,” said Lindsay Hesketh of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“A government enterprise that cannot fulfil its legal obligations, loses money, and stokes conflict in the community must be reformed. A restructure of Forestry Tasmania is now well overdue,” Mr Hesketh said.
• FORESTRY TASMANIA LOGGING CONTINUES TO UNDERMINE IGA
Audit Shows Logging Increased in 430, 000ha Than Before ‘Orwellian’ Conservation Agreement
Nick McKim MP
The Tasmanian Greens today said that a report released by environmental groups exposed Forestry Tasmania as continuing in its attempts to undermine the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that the audit’s findings confirmed the Greens’ position that Forestry Tasmania must be abolished and the public forests and land returned to direct government control.
“This report details that between January and February this year, 44% of high quality sawlog supply will come from logging the identified 430, 000 hectares for Informal Reserves, despite the fact that Forestry’s Three Year Plan for 2011-12 identified that 36% would be sourced from within this same area,” Mr McKim said.
“This demonstrates this rogue agency’s sheer- bloody-mindedness to undermine the IGA, despite the Premier and Prime Minister signing up to deliver its conservation goals as well as an industry restructure.”
“It also begs the question as to why Forestry Tasmania supposedly cannot source timber outside the areas nominated for verification given that the Gunns sawlog quota has been returned under a Deed of Agreement, which in effect halved Forestry’s entire sawlog wood supply obligations.”
“Despite receiving $12.5 million under the terms of the Deed of Agreement, and upon the condition that the returned sawlog quota is retired into conservation, we now see that logging is intensifying rather than decreasing.”
“Clearly Forestry Tasmania has been over-allocating its resource through contracts, and is now using those contracts to justify this out of control logging.”
“As a huge part of the problem, there is no place for Forestry Tasmania in its current form in forging solutions. This rogue agency must vacate the field, and allow Tasmania to move forwards.”
“The Greens had named the Burke-Green Conservation Agreement as ‘orwellian’ and this audit reinforces that assessment. It is absurd in the extreme that under this Agreement logging in the proposed 430, 000 Informal Reserves could occur at a higher rate that Forestry Tasmania’s original Three Year wood plan envisaged.”
“This audit comes hot on the heels of the URS Strategic Review into Forestry Tasmania, which stated that the GBE is not viable and is a failed business model.”
Mr McKim also reminded that neither the Tasmanian Greens nor the Australian Greens are signatories to the IGA, or to the Signatories’ Statement of Principles.