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Minister Barnett in Cloud Cuckoo Land on FSC

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 9 September 2016

Tags: Native Forest Logging, Forests, Environment, Forest Stewardship Council, Threatened Species, Swift Parrot, Masked Owl, takayna / Tarkine, Extinction

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson

The Minister for Resources is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks Forestry Tasmania can secure Forest Stewardship Certification under current Liberal policies.

Forestry Tasmania is still logging threatened species habitat in high conservation value forests. There are still rainforested coupes in the Tarkine that are schedule for logging.  The legislated minimum sawlog quota of 137 000 cubic metres is unsustainably high.

Mr Barnett would have Tasmanians believe Forestry Tasmania is on track for FSC.  It absolutely is not, and that has been verified by the FSC auditors who handed down their findings in March this year.

The claim that Forestry Tasmania meets 91% of the indicators is misleading.   

The fact is that the auditors found Forestry Tasmania comprehensively failed to meet 30% of FSC criteria, including its continued logging of high conservation forests, its continued logging that impacts on threatened species such as the Swift Parrot and the Masked Owl. 

It also failed to meet the criteria on monitoring and assessment, and environmental impact.

The auditors also found that Forestry Tasmania are not fully compliant on about 20% of the remaining criteria, including on Aboriginal peoples’ rights.

Most of the criterion (and indicators) range from general governance and documented procedures to no brainers like “FME shall not use forced labour”.

Virtually every principle is predominantly made up of a range of criterion (and indicators) requiring legal compliance, administrative/governance arrangements or documentation.

Any Forestry operation, by virtue of not engaging in illegal activity, would have similar levels of compliance at the performance indicator level as Forestry Tasmania.

While FT may meet 91% of these indicators – clearly designed to target corruption and poor practice in poorly regulated countries - they flat out fail to meet 30% of the FSC principles and have minor non-compliances with 20% of the principles.

While the Minister and FT may claim high levels of compliance, they in fact only meet the easy targets. To suggest otherwise is laughable.

Under the Liberals’ policies to intensify native forest logging at public expense, to log rainforest in the Tarkine, to burn forests for dirty energy and to drive threatened species closer to extinction, Forestry Tasmania has absolutely no chance of securing Forest Stewardship Certification, putting its future viability and ability to market Tasmanian forest products in doubt.

If the Liberals were serious about FSC, they would bring legislation to Parliament that cuts the minimum sawlog quota and they would direct Forestry Tasmania to keep out of high conservation value forests and to better protect the State’s unique, endemic threatened species.