The Forests Minister has sensationally admitted in parliament that under the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill 2014, areas of Permanent Timber Production Zone land will be able to be swapped for areas of Future Potential Production Forest even if they are of unequal size or condition.
“After yesterday trying to tell me that I was wrong about this, today the Minister, Paul Harriss, has had to come into the House and admit that in fact the land can be swapped even if it is of different size and condition,” Greens Parks spokesperson Nick McKim said.
“This means that land that is currently slated to become formal Reserves will be able to be swapped out of the stewardship of Crown Land Services and logged by Forestry Tasmania, while Crown Land Services can in return receive land that may have already been logged.”
“In addition, there is no limit on the amount of land that can be exchanged, or, the number of swaps that can occur.”
“This is nothing more than an Orwellian rolling door that will allow Forestry Tasmania to log a small coupe, then swap it with Crown Land Services for a much larger area of pristine High Conservation Value forest that it can then turn around and log.”
“Mr Harriss can use weasel words like ‘reasonable equivalence’ all he likes, but the fact remains that as soon as this Bill passes, Forestry Tasmania can be granted access to harvest land that is currently set aside to be Reserved at the whim of a couple of Liberal Ministers who don’t have an environmental bone between them,” Mr McKim said.