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Forest Management Practices - Forest Logging and Increased Fire Risk


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Tags: Bushfires, Climate Emergency, Native Forest Logging

Dr WOODRUFF question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN

Today you announced a net zero by 2030 target that relies on our forests doing the heavy lifting on climate - the same forests that your government continues to log. Are you aware of the most recent paper by UTAS academics which points to increased bushfire risk as a result of native forest clear-felling and burning? The paper, called Fire risk and Severity Decline with Stand Development in Tasmanian Giant Eucalyptus Forest, is now the eleventh Australian research paper confirming the link between industrial native forest logging and increased fire risk.

The paper finds fire risk decreases as forests mature and it recommends updating the state's approach to management of native forests. This is our scientists sounding the alarm in order to keep communities and wilderness safer from bushfire.

Instead of vilifying UTAS scientists working in the public interest, as the Minister for Resources minister has, will you now accept there is a verified link between native forest clear-felling and burning and increased bush fire risk, and will you ensure that forest management practices are changed to protect communities and the natural environment in the future?

 

ANSWER

Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Franklin for her question. I point out that is going to be covered in an order of the day later this afternoon

Ms O'Connor - You should apologise to Jen Sanger and Jamie Kirkpatrick.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Ms O'Connor - You hid under privilege and you sledged them and they have been vindicated.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - Mr Speaker, it looks as though there is trouble in paradise over there. I thank the member for Franklin for her question. Wood is our ultimate renewable resource, and sustainable forestry management is part of the solution to climate change - not the opposite. We do not agree that ceasing all native forestry is the best approach for mitigating bush fires and climate change. You tend to pick and choose the science. You do over time. Our sustainable forestry management approach is reinforced by the IPCC -

Ms O'Connor - It is not.

Mr GUTWEIN - It is. They define deforestation as the conversion of forest land to non forest land. There is no deforestation in our public native forests. Our native forests are regrown -

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, order in the Chamber. I cannot hear the Premier. I do not know about anybody else.

Mr GUTWEIN - The question is not coming in the context of climate change. It is coming in the context that they want to shut down our native forests. In finishing my comments, I make the point that less than 1 per cent of our native forests is harvested in a given year. Only 0.27 per cent -

Ms O'Connor - A million tonnes of native forest -

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Ms O'Connor, you do not have to interject, surely?

Mr GUTWEIN - Wood is the ultimate renewable resource.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker, standing order 45 -relevance. It would be great if the Premier could read the paper and look at enacting the research.

Mr SPEAKER - It is not a point of order. Dr Woodruff, sit down, it is not a point of order.

Mr GUTWEIN - I consider that the member has gone from asking me a question to providing me with a reading list. I will leave the matter there. The Greens and the Liberals will always have a difference of opinion on this. We believe that our native forests can be harvested in a renewable way.