Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
In Budget Estimates, Forestry Minister, Peter Gutwein, has confirmed the Liberals in government are doing nothing to support Forestry Tasmania’s bid for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, and are content to continue the unsustainable, uneconomic logging of high conservation value forests.
While the FSC audit report identified the logging of high conservation value and mature forests as a major non-compliance, the Minister is refusing to lower the legislated minimum sawlog quota from its current level of 137 000 cubic metres.
FSC for Forestry Tasmania is surely a pipe dream.
It’s clear the Liberals are too scared of the backlash from a narrow constituency to take any action that improves the chance of Forestry Tasmania securing FSC certification.
By not giving Forestry Tasmania the direction to get out of high conservation value forests and by refusing to legislate, the Minister has all but walked away from FSC. He has proven the Liberals forest policy has never changed. Chop it down, chip it, ship it away at public expensive and damn the environmental cost.
Minister Gutwein has also confirmed the Hodgman Government will roll over the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA), despite its manifest failure to protect the environment and biodiversity, and the huge public subsidies that underpin the native forest logging industry.
The RFA is a 20 year failure that has devastated forest ecosystems, driven species closer to extinction and bled the taxpayers’ purse.
The Agreement also makes no account for forest carbon and its role in a healthy climate.
There is no moral, environmental, economic or scientific justification for extending the RFA. It’s a failure.
The only reason the Liberals want to extend the RFA is their base political and ideological attachment to a dying native forest logging industry.