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North West Doctors' Forest Protection Calls Must be Central to COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 4 May 2020

Tags: Forests, Climate Change, Health, COVID-19, North West Tasmania, takayna / Tarkine

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson

The plea from 23 GP's, registrars, and emergency doctors to protect Tasmania's high conservation value forests should be heeded by all Members of Parliament, but most particularly the Premier and his Resources Minister.

In an open letter sent to Tasmania’s lawmakers, doctors from the state's North West have clearly laid out how forest protection is a critical consideration, and opportunity, for Tasmania’s recovery from COVID-19.

These committed local doctors know more than anyone the importance of healthy communities.

Protecting Tasmania’s carbon rich forests promotes physical and mental health, and environmental health. On the other hand, the process of commercial logging increases the risk of bushfires, which are not only a direct threat to life but also exacerbate other chronic health conditions.

356,000 hectares of carbon rich, high conservation value forests, set aside under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, are now under threat from the Liberals and the mendicants in the logging industry.

The protection of these forests is integral to the health and wellbeing of future generations of Tasmanians.

It’s obvious that logging these forests would be a climate crime, but it would also be a social and economic folly.

As we plan for the post-corona world, we must be focussed on the triple bottom line. Rebuilding a healthy and resilient Tasmania will require a holistic view of our community, economy and nature, and recognise the climate emergency as the central consideration.

A recovering tourism industry needs a healthy takayna/Tarkine, not clearfell devastation undermining our unique brand. Leatherwood honey producers have been holding on after bushfire devastation, but are now worried they'll be thrown under the bus for the sake of patently unnecessary forest destruction.

As the Premier plans his 'roadmap to recovery', we urge him to listen to these brave North West doctors and act to protect this island’s globally significant wilderness and high conservation value forests.