The Forests Minister, Paul Harriss, must confirm whether he has sought formal advice from Forestry Tasmania regarding the impact of his last-minute amendments to the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill upon its application for Forest Stewardship Council certification (FSC), said Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP.
“The Hodgman government’s last minute amendments to its own already flawed Bill, will be the death-knell to Forestry Tasmania’s attempt to secure genuine forest stewardship certification, or secure markets,” Mr Booth said.
“The Minister’s proposed amendments seek to create an uneven playing field by establishing a new ‘special treatment for the special species timber industry’ system where special species logging is exempt from any forest stewardship certification requirements.”
“Mr Harriss clearly does not understand that just as it is impossible to be half pregnant, it is as equally impossible to be half FSC certified, and recognised in the market-place.”
“The markets will not accept Crown land sourced timber products which are stained by “guilt of association” due to nearby non-compliant logging practices also on Crown land. That is the reality that Mr Harriss is either blind to, or is deliberately ignoring.”
“This dodgy move, which is one of many contained in the Minister’s last minute desperate amendments to this Bill, shows once and for all this government is not serious about establishing a viable timber industry.”
“If Paul Harriss is serious about securing a viable future for the timber industry, he would have sought and received formal advice from Forestry Tasmania about the impact of these proposed amendments upon their FSC application, and he would have the fortitude to make that advice public,” Mr Booth said.
Clause 11 (3) of the original Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill requires the Crown Lands Minister when assessing an application for special species timber logging in future potential production forest land (previously designated as high conservation value forests reserves under the TFA) to seek advice from the Forests Minister, “with regard to the application, including that harvesting will be consistent with standards required by the Forestry corporation’s forest management certification”.
The Government’s new proposed amendment to Clause 11 (3) removes that requirement for special species timber harvesting to be consistent with forest management certification.