Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
Resources Minister, Paul Harriss, has made it clear the government plans to blunder on and log in protected areas, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), in contravention of explicit advice from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee that to do so would threaten World Heritage values.
Minister Harriss is deluded if he thinks UNESCO will believe, “this Government remains unequivocally committed to the protection of the outstanding universal values of the TWWHA” when he makes it clear this government is committed to logging the wilderness.
You simply can’t have it both ways - you cannot both damage and protect World Heritage values.
The reason there is a shortage of special species timber in Tasmania is that for decades, Forestry Tasmania and Gunns’ Ltd allowed myrtle, sassafras, celery top and blackwood to burn on the forest floor in the aftermath of clearfelling operations for woodchips.
Successive majority governments knew this was happening and did nothing about it. Specialty timber craftspeople were absolutely the forgotten forest workers in the industrial native forest clearfelling and woodchipping era. Beautiful timber was left charred in clearfelled coupes. That is why there’s a resource shortage today.
It has precisely nothing to do with the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, as Mr Harriss asserts.
There is no argument to log in the TWWHA. There is every argument for shifting focus towards blackwood and wattle plantation resources, finding alternative approaches and exploring the use and sustainable supply of other species of timber that are suitable for fine furniture and craft making in Tasmania.