The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Forestry Minister Bryan Green to rule out woodchips from high conservation value Tasmanian forests being exported as low-value boiler fuel.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP expressed grave concerns after Minister Green indicated in Parliament today that he supported woodchips from high conservation value forests being exported for boiler pellets, a product with next to no economic value.
“Minister Green made it clear that he had no idea whether Tasmanian woodchips are being sold overseas as boiler fuel, but he did make it clear that he’s prepared to support this kind of economic and environmental recklessness,” Mr Booth said.
“The Minister need to assure Tasmanians that our high conservation value forests are not destined to be chopped down to become cheap fuel for Chinese power plants. This is not value adding in anyone’s language.”
“The Forests IGA is about facilitating an economic transition for the State’s timber industry, but allowing it to be locked into this low-value exports of woodchips for boilers is just more of the same, and threatens to undermine the intent of the IGA.”
Mr Booth also renewed his call for the Minister to justify his decision to interfere with the market by providing $1.1 million to transport native forest logs from southern forests to Bell Bay.
“There is no justification for this kind of gross market interference, which threatens the viability of the Triabunna mill and its prospects for reopening.”
“How can the new owners expect to find an operator for the mill while the Government is manipulating the market by providing cash handouts to rival operators?”
• WHY NOT LOG THE PLANTATIONS?
Forestry Tas Prefers Logging HCV Forests
Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry Spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Minister for Forests to explain why Forestry Tasmania is being allowed to overlook the option of harvesting the state’s publicly subsidised hardwood plantation estate instead of using it to meet contracts and allow the immediate protection of the identified 430,000 hectares as specified under the Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said Forestry Tasmania was continuing to thumb its nose at the Minister by ignoring the IGA and targeting coupes within the 430,000 hectares of high conservation value forests.
“Forestry Tasmania seems to have a taste for high conservation value forests, even when there should be a readily available timber resource in Tasmania’s publicly funded hardwood plantation estate.”
“The Minister must formally request that Forestry Tasmania comply with the intent and implementation of the IGA, particularly in identification of alternative logging coupes on both state and private land, to end the logging within the identified 430,000 hectares,” Mr Booth said.
“Millions of dollars in public money has been sunk into these plantations, specifically for the purpose of a transition out of native forests. Now that the time for a transition out of native forests has arrived, Forestry Tasmania is refusing look at other options.”
“If the Minister has not done so already, he must direct Forestry Tasmania to reschedule coupe plans to provide logs from the plantation resource.”
“The IGA was signed in August, yet logging within the designated Informal Reserves of the 430,000 hectares continues. This conflict needs to be resolved as a priority.”
“If the publicly funded plantation resource is not going to be used as a logging alternative, we demand to know why.”
Mr Booth also said that the Minister undertaken to find out how much public money had been spent on the establishment and maintenance of the hardwood plantation estate, and inform the Parliament.