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Tough Choices Ahead for Minister Gutwein

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 18 February 2016

Tags: Forests, Native Forest Logging, Forest Stewardship Council, Environment, Cabinet

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson

The new Minister for Forests will need to have the courage to make the tough choices Paul Harriss clearly didn't want to make.

The first thing Mr Gutwein needs to do is develop an actual forest policy that isn't wholly slogan-based. 

His predecessor was operating in a policy vacuum, creating community division while taking credit for the private plantation sector's growth and overseeing a mass exodus from the Forestry Tasmania Board.

Forestry Tasmania has no chance of surviving unless it secures Forest Stewardship Certification.

Given the very lengthy delay in any word on FSC, it's logical to assume there are serious problems with FT's current practices, difficulty protecting threatened species and the legislated minimum sawlog quota.

If Mr Gutwein wants to oversee the transition to a sustainable forestry industry, he will need to drive changes that may not be popular with, for example, Paul Harriss's former constituency.

Will he have the mettle to do what is needed in the forestry portfolio?