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Minister Harriss being Deliberately Deceitful over WHA Logging

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Saturday, 4 July 2015

Tags: Forests, Native Forest Logging, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Tasmanian Forest Agreement

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Resources Minister, Paul Harriss’s ridiculous claim that the Greens supported logging in the World Heritage Area does not stand up to scrutiny.  He is, again, being deceitful and divisive for base political purposes.

Four out of five Greens’ MPs gave support to the Tasmanian Forest Agreement because it was the vehicle for a 170 000 hectare extension to the WHA, provided a pathway to end unsustainable logging and to create formal reserves in 504 000 hectares of forested land.

It also more than halved the minimum sawlog quota and required Forestry Tasmania to achieve Forest Stewardship certification, a potentially remarkable change in practices for the government entity and a goal that looks increasingly out of reach under this Liberal government.

In not voting against the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Bill 2013 as amended, we made it clear in the debate that we did not support every aspect of the Bill in its entirety, and we did not – and will never – support logging in the WHA.  This is demonstrated in the April 2013 Hansard record of debate on the amended legislation.

We recognised the then, and current, World Heritage Management Plan did not allow for logging in the WHA.  It is Environment Minister, Matthew Groom, who is seeking to amend the plan to allow for logging in an area of outstanding universal value as recognised by the United Nations.

In the debate on the amended Bill, we were also reassured by correspondence between the then Minister for Forests and the Signatories Council indicating the Tasmanian Government would support the Australian Government position that there would be no logging in the World Heritage Area.

Finally, we stood by environment groups on the now-disbanded Special Council who not only did not support any logging in the World Heritage Area; they had the right of veto over any future logging plans.

The Liberals are the people who want to distort the facts, play cheap politics and log in the World Heritage Area, much to our shame internationally.