Image for Lack of action from Giddings threatens forests agreement

A deadline of 15 March for a moratorium on further logging and road construction in key unprotected native forests is at risk as the Tasmanian Government has still not directed Forestry Tasmania to implement the agreement made with environment groups and industry.

The Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Tasmania have written to the Premier, the Minister for Primary Industries Bryan Green and the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, calling on the government to issue an urgent directive to Forestry Tasmania to implement the moratorium in full by 15 March.

“Missing the agreed deadline risks resolution of Tasmania’s long running forestry debate,” Dr Phill Pullinger, Director for Environment Tasmania.

The three environment groups and the forestry industry - signatories to the ‘Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles’ - have agreed that a moratorium on logging in high conservation value native forests will be followed by legislative protection of these forests in formal reserves.

On 14 December last year the Tasmanian and Federal Governments committed to deliver the Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles.

Bill Kelty was appointed facilitator and the delivery of two key parallel processes over a three month period was agreed: a moratorium on logging within high conservation value forests and an interim wood-supply arrangement for sawmills outside of the high conservation value forests, both due to be delivered by 15 March.

“An agreement is an agreement. The Tasmanian public has a right to expect that if the Tasmanian Government has said it will put a moratorium on the logging of these ancient forests in place by the 15th of March, then it must deliver on its promise,” said Vica Bayley, forest campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

What Lara Giddings says ...

Signatories urged to wait for interim report

The Premier Lara Giddings today urged all signatories to the Statement of Principles to wait for Bill Kelty’s interim report to be released next week.

Ms Giddings was responding to media statements released by the Wilderness Society, Tasmanian Environment Centre and Australian Conservation Trust. today

I welcome the constructive role Environmental Non-Government Organisations have played in working towards an agreement over the recently signed forestry principles, Ms Giddings said.

These groups have clearly stated that they want to see the implementation of a moratorium by March 15.

I understand that Forestry Tasmania has been working towards the implementation of a moratorium for some time without formal direction from the Tasmanian Government.

I m happy to direct FT to continue that work, but with the understanding that a moratorium cannot be implemented without agreement being reached between the signatories to the statement of principles.

That is the work that Mr Kelty is doing right now and I would urge all parties to continue to work constructively in that process.

Ms Giddings said there was a unique opportunity to protect Tasmania s old growth forests and to expand upon the 47 per cent of the State already protected in reserves.

This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end a conflict that has bitterly divided the State for far too long. However tough decisions needed to be made on both sides if we are to have any chance of reaching an agreement.

I am well aware that contractors and their employees are very concerned about their livelihoods and the prospect of moving out of areas they have worked in for generations. There will be no agreement if the industry doesn t have a realistic path for transition.

I truly believe it would be a tragic missed opportunity if all parties cannot work together to progress these issues and I look forward to reading Mr Kelty s interim report when it is handed down next week.

What Nick McKim says ...

Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader

The Tasmanian Greens today reiterated that the agreed moratorium on the logging and roading of high conservation value forests must be implemented in accordance with the Tasmanian Forest Principles of Agreement.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP, who confirmed he has received a letter from the environment representatives outlining their concern over the lack of movement on the moratorium, said he would be writing to Forests Minister Bryan Green MP requesting that he officially direct Forestry Tasmania to implement the moratorium.

Mr McKim also warned that if Labor allowed this historic opportunity to collapse, global markets would force a transition in Tasmania’s forest sector.  This would be done without compassion and would leave vulnerable workers and businesses more exposed than would a managed transition.

“The public statement issued by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and the then- Premier David Bartlett in December last year indicated that the clock had begun ticking on a three month implementation of the moratorium, and we share the conservation groups’ concern about the lack of movement on the ground,” Mr McKim said.

“I do not have the Ministerial authority to instruct Forestry Tasmania to implement the moratorium, but I strongly urge Mr Green to do so.”

“All signatories to the ground-breaking Forest Principles of Agreement support the implementation of the moratorium however it requires political will to make it happen.”

“I will be writing to Forests Minister Bryan Green requesting that Forestry Tasmania is directed to implement the moratorium in accordance with the Forest Principles. To not do so would leave Labor out of step with the good-will already demonstrated by conservation, union and industry representatives.”

“Tasmania stands on the cross-roads of a win-win here.  Now is the time for the protection of our high conservation value forests and restructing of the timber industry to put it onto a sustainable footing, but it needs Labor to seize the moment to get this fundamental first step in place,” Mr McKim said.

Download: Letter responding to the eNGOs, Greens Leader Nick McKim MP, 1 March 2011:

Back Of A Truck, The Appointment of Bill Kelty: ToR_to_Bill_Kelty_f.PDF

Lewis, comment: Premier and Minister, without doubt this is a reason as to why you must direct the forestry entity to cease and desist. This coupe will not assist local sawmills but it will destroy high conservation values and prejudice the value of the Liffey Falls WHA and any hope of FSC accredittaion for Gunns.

Media Release

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Community gathers for forests

Where Executive Building
When Today Wednesday 30 March 2011
Time 11:15am

Forest campaigners and concerned community members will today hold a public gathering outside the Executive Building, with a message of support for a moratorium on logging in high conservation value forests to be implemented by the 15th March 2011.

“Concerned Tasmanians have gathered at the State Government’s offices today to send a message to Premier Lara Giddings and Forests Minister Bryan Green that Tasmania can’t wait to have it’s forests protected,”
Huon Valley Environment Centre spokesperson Jenny Weber said.

Community members delivered Premier Lara Giddings a poster with images from the 52 peaceful demonstrations that took place around the globe to mark the International 24 Hours of Action for Tassies Forests on the 15th December 2010.

“Concerned people around Tasmania, Australia and the Globe were reassured by the State Governments committment to implement a logging moratorium by the 15th March. These people will now be wondering why they were misled,”  Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Miranda Gibson said.

“The State Government announced that a moratorium on the logging of High Conservation Value forests would start on the 15 December, to be implemented “over three months”. As the 15 March deadline approaches, Lara Giddings and Bryan Green appear to be backing out of their promise to the Tasmanian people. Now is a crucial time for the community to hold our government to account,” Miranda Gibson said.

“Every day the forests are being logged, wildlife habitat is being lost, greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change and large tracts of ancient ecosystems are being destroyed.  Every hectare of high conservation value forest that is lost, following Giddings and Green’s broken promise, is part of the legacy that they leave for future generations,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.

Huon Valley Environment Centre sent a letter to Premier Giddings and Federal Environment Minister on the 2nd of February. We questioned the State Government’s intentions and planning regarding the Moratorium.
And we were seeking clarification as to what direction the Premier, or the Forest Minister had given to Forestry Tasmania and other agencies to ensure that the promised moratorium is in place by the 15 March 2011. We have not had a reply by the Premier.

Jenny Weber
Huon Valley Environment Centre

Miranda Gibson
Still Wild Still Threatened

Media Release

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Immediate Forests Moratorium Supported by Tasmanian community members

Forest Campaigners and members of the community gathered outside Tasmania’s Premier Lara Giddings office today to present the Premier with a letter requesting the state government immediately direct Forestry Tasmania to implement the moratorium by March 15th 2011. A group of sixty concerned members of the public stood out the front of Hobart’s executive building with a message of support for Tasmania’s high conservation value forests to be protected.

“In our experience visiting the forest and community observations around the state, it is evident that Forestry Tasmania are opening up new areas of logging. As recently as last week in the Tyenna region west of Hobart logging commenced in forests that are a significant water catchment for the local community. Despite the Premier’s assertion that Forestry Tasmania is working on the moratorium, it is clear they are not doing enough to meet the March 15 deadline,” Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Miranda Gibson said.

“We are calling on the State Government to honour their commitment to the moratorium as stated by Premier Bartlett on the 15 December 2010.
Premier Lara Giddings needs to take action and protect high conservation value forests from further logging, and give a formal direction to Forestry Tasmania to reschedule logging out of the High Conservation value forests.  The Federal Government and all signatories to the statement of principles agreed to the moratorium to be realised over three months,” Huon Valley Environment Centre Jenny Weber said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard committed the Federal Government to deliver on the moratorium, in her Statement of Action on the Tasmanian Forestry principals on Tuesday 7th December 2010.  The Prime Minister stated “As a sign of good faith to the parties to the agreement the Gillard Labor Government is pleased to announce its endorsement of the Tasmanian Government taking action to have a number of High Conservation Forest Areas identified by the parties immediately included as part of a moratorium on further logging while the next stages of due diligence and details of the principles are worked through.”

“For negotiations to proceed, the moratorium on all high conservation value forests needs to be in place in order to provide a space for further talks to continue where forests are not being lost when agreement to protect them has been reached,” Jenny Weber said.

What Timber Workers For Forests told Bill Kelty: TWFF_open_letter_Kelty_2nd_March_2011.doc