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Liberals' Forest Farce

14 Mar 2017

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Forests spokesperson

Legislation to allow logging in some of the most high conservation value, carbon rich forests on the planet was tabled in State Parliament today. 

The Bill is a recipe for destruction, conflict and lost economic opportunity as the Liberals try to force Tasmania in the opposite direction of where its future lies.  It was on this basis that the Greens’ MPs took the highly unusual move of voting against the Bill on its first reading. 

We don’t support this legislation in any form because we see it for what it is; a crime against the environment, the climate, Tasmania’s brand, and a cynical attempt to pit Tasmanians against each other in the lead up to the next election.

It is telling that to date, Mr Barnett has found no serious industry ‘friends’ to support the Liberals’ plan. 

Meanwhile, outside Parliament today, avid mountain bike riders from around the State gathered on the lawns to highlight the threat the Liberals’ legislation poses to the world class Blue Derby mountain bike trails.

The Liberals’ cynical, divisive legislation would allow logging in 12 of the 14 trails used by mountain bikers from all over the world at Blue Derby. 

It is worth reminding the Premier that the Blue Derby trail was funded through the Tasmanian Forest Agreement transition funding, in recognition of the need for economic diversification in the regions and an end to forest conflict.

Under the Liberals’ plan, logging would also be allowed on the Tasman Peninsula, on Bruny Island, along the Wielangta forest drive, in the hills behind the Bay of Fires and Binalong Bay, in forests surrounding the soon-to-be established NE Rail Trail, at popular visitor walks around Leven Canyon and Cradle Mountain, in the forests surrounding the West Coast Wilderness Railway, and in the Tarkine which was described by CNN as the world’s number one wilderness.

One tourism business in these areas not threatened by the new logging push in 2018, is the government-owned Three Capes Track.  The Liberals are protecting a government-owned tourism business by ruling out logging in two coupes along the Three Capes Track, but are telling private operators concerned about the brand and marketing impacts of their plan that they don’t care.

The Liberals are prepared to sacrifice tourism businesses and opportunities, as well as Tasmania’s ‘clean, green’ brand, on the altar of their perceived political self interest.