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Minister Harriss Misleading over Forest Industry

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Tags: Forests, Environment, Hobart, Macquarie Wharf, Tasmanian Forest Agreement

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson 

Resources Minister, Paul Harriss, used Question Time this morning to rule out the bizarre idea of woodchip exports from Hobart’s wharf, but continued to maintain the pretence that there is a future in native forest woodchip exports or biomass without government subsidies.

Continuing with his lack of transparency over the Expression of Interest process for a ‘Southern Residues Solution’, Mr Harriss gave no detail on any proposal put to government but claimed the Hodgman Government is rebuilding the forest industry.

That is a bit rich, coming from a man who has spent his political career passionately advocating for the destruction of high conservation forests, and demonising environmentalists fighting to save them.

Mr Harriss needs to acknowledge that it is players like Forico/New Forests who are rebuilding the industry, based on plantations.  It has nothing to do with his government’s lack of coherent policy in this area.

Mr Harriss can pretend it is his government’s policy that is leading to growth in forestry, but it is plantation forestry that is leading the way, not a dying native forest logging industry.

In fact, there are strong echoes of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement in the current forestry environment.  400 000 hectares of high conservation value forest have been set aside, not yet in reserves, but not being logged either.

Forestry Tasmania is working to achieve Forest Stewardship Certification because it knows it has no future without it.

The emphasis is on maximising the economic return from our plantation estate because that is what global markets are demanding.

The times and the markets have moved on. It is time Mr Harriss did the same and ‘fessed up to Tasmanians that there is no future in industrial native forest logging.