Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Forests spokesperson
In Budget Estimates today Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, confirmed he is unleashing a land clearing bonanza on Tasmania’s public and private land.
Tragically, the consequences of his reckless, destructive approach to the forestry portfolio will be felt for generations. Threatened species will be driven closer to extinction and the release of greenhouse gases from logging and land clearing will harm future generations.
The Minister tried to describe the land clearing policy as 'a ban on land clearing with exemptions'. Donald Trump would be impressed.
He refused to concede there was any absolute logging limit above 40ha, in the broad and undefined “exemptions” it provides for rural landholders. It's clear to anyone who looks at the Liberals' policy that it's a vehicle for no limit broad scale land clearing.
Deforestation and land clearing contribute about a fifth of all global emissions. What the Liberals are doing is so environmentally reckless, it's obscene.
It sends a clear message to young Tasmanians worried about the climate that the Liberals are implementing policies that will make their lives more difficult in the future.
When discussing the government’s 'maintaining permanent native forest' policy, Minister Barnett could not point to any mechanism that will protect catchment areas or regions from excessive clearing.
This is a disaster in the making for the climate, water quality and for threatened species across the State.
These are species like the Wedge-tailed Eagle, Masked Owl and Swift Parrot, whose habitat is already under direct threat from the Liberals' unjustified and unjustifiable Forestry bill.
Minister Barnett also refused to acknowledge the harmful health impacts of forestry regeneration burns and had no useful advice to offer Tasmanians with cardiac and respiratory conditions who suffer during the regeneration burning season.