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Liberals Will Wear Blame if FT Fails in FSC Bid

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 12 February 2017

Tags: Forests, Forest Stewardship Council, Native Forest Logging

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Forests' spokesperson

Forestry Tasmania has made it clear that if the Hodgman Government proceeds with its plan to open up 357 000 hectares of high conservation value forest to logging, it's bid for FSC will go back to square one.

FT's 'High Conservation Values Assessment and Management Plan' was released late Friday afternoon.*  

Forestry Tasmania's formal response to FSC non-compliances identified in 2014, the draft plan is the latest formal move in FT's bid for FSC.  It is premised on the 357 000 hectares remaining unlogged and in informal reserves.

The plan acknowledges to the FSC auditors that if the tenure and management of the 357 000 ha of high conservation forest - currently counted as part of the reserve estate - is changed, Forestry Tasmania will have to revise and review the plan.

That is effectively starting from scratch with the FSC audit process.  If FT is put in this position, its chances of securing FSC will become ever more distant, and its capacity to provide wood products to a more discerning global market made even more precarious.

If the Hodgman Government opens the moratorium forests to logging, Forestry Tasmania will have to start from scratch with FSC, further compromising its chance of ever becoming a viable Government Business Enterprise not reliant on public subsidy in some form or another.

Forestry Tasmania clearly recognises the need for FSC.  Its plan reveals a strong desire for the moratorium forests to remain protected from logging.

Key industry leaders have told the Hodgman Government they do not support the push to open up the 357 000 hectares on 1 July next year.

The Greens and the conservation movement are steadfast in their resolve to ensure these globally significant forests are protected and managed for their ecological, social and economic wealth.

There is so little support and zero justification for the Liberals' logging agenda.  It comes at immense risk to Forestry Tasmania and threatens community division.

If the Hodgman Government proceeds, it will do so knowing the damage to FT is likely to be terminal, and community division will escalate as Tasmanians stand up to defend these priceless forests.