Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Tourism spokesperson
The government's plan to upgrade the Wielangta Forest Drive and extend the Great Eastern Drive offers real tourism potential for the East Coast.
At the same time as the Liberals are inviting visitors to experience the beauty of the Wielangta Forest, their Resources Minister plans to log it. If logging isn't ruled out by the government, locals and tourists driving through the upgraded road will horrified by the scenery rather than delighting in it.
The precedent has been set, with the recent, rushed announcement that logging will not occur in moratorium forests near the Tasman National Park and Three Capes Walk.
The Premier and Minister for Tourism, Mr Hodgman, today refused to rule out logging in Wielangta. He is delusional if he really believes clearfelling and burning, and tourism can coexist.
Upgrading Wielangta Road and extending the Great Eastern Drive offers great economic opportunities for the East Coast and Tasman Region. Those tourism opportunities would all be put at risk by the politically driven plan to log Wielangta forest.
Sacrificing Wielangta in the pursuit of an unviable native forest logging industry is madness in itself. To refuse to rule out logging in Wielangta threatens the growing visitor economy of East Coast and Tasman regions in the name of politics is plain stupid, short-sighted and not in the State's economic interest.