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Time to End Mandated Forest Destruction

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 25 October 2021

Tags: Forests, Environment, Climate Change

There is no argument for a mandated minimum sawlog quota requiring Forestry Tasmania to make available 137 000 cubic metres of native forest timber to the industry each year.

In Greens’ Private Members Time this week, we will bring on for debate our Forest Management Amendment (Minimum Sawlog Quota Repeal) Bill 2021.  

The Bill recognises that the minimum sawlog quota is driving forest destruction along with carbon and biodiversity loss across the island, in defiance of science and community expectations.

Every coupe Forestry Tasmania clearfells and burns represents a loss of carbon that, according to the scientists, will take at least a century to be recovered.  It is also destroying habitat for Tasmanian plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Humanity doesn’t have a century to stave off the worse effects global heating.  This is the critical decade and Tasmania has a responsibility to keep the millions of tonnes of carbon stored in our forests, safely stored for a safe climate.

This mandated forest destruction is also heavily subsidized by taxpayers, with most of the subsidies hidden in contracts with industry until 2027.  

Forestry Tasmania still logs native forests at a loss, while the legislated quota is holding the GBE back from securing Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) as it has to cut old forests harder and harder in order to meet in statutory obligations.

WA Premier, Mark McGowan, has shown real leadership and announced an end to native forest logging in Western Australia within three years.  Like the Greens, he is listening to the science and his conscience.

We hope Premier Gutwein has a similar light bulb moment on this island’s extraordinary forests and the carbon they store.

The first important step is to remove the legislated forest destruction quota embedded in the Forest Management Act 2013.